Week 1: I Survived Three Days in a Row

If you look closely, you can see flecks of black truffle... probably the most expensive ingredient my knife had ever sliced through. (Station Lead moved too quickly for me to take a proper photo - VIP pasta order for Chef's friends.)

If you look closely, you can see flecks of black truffle… probably the most expensive ingredient my knife had ever sliced through. (Station Lead moved too quickly for me to take a proper photo – VIP pasta order for Chef’s friends.)

Before I go on to today’s events, I was told that yesterday didn’t just FEEL busy, it truly was insane – we did over 400 covers! When Station-mate came in today, Station Lead told him about last night, finishing his story with “And [Matcha Bunny] kicked ass!” I’ll be honest, I gave myself a little pat on the back after hearing that. I deserve it; I wasn’t able to sleep well because my mind was still reeling from all of the quickfire thinking and processing.

We had a LOT of prep to do today since last night’s service wiped out our mise en place and backup ingredients. On top of that, there was an off-site party today that required a lot of extra work. Good thing we had three of us to complete the job without a moment to spare. Everyone else was slammed for the same reasons, so family meal was an afterthought and it wasn’t even ready until 20 minutes after service had already begun. Roasted chicken mixed with fries… like a pseudo-poutine (minus the cheese and gravy). Or as Honey Bunny likes to call it, Chicken Surprise. At that point, I was so hungry I didn’t even care. Chef had had a busy day running around, making sure everything for the party was packed up, transporting the goods and some of his guys over to the venue, then rushing back in time for service so even he grabbed a pile of fries for himself.

Just before service, Station Lead and Chef asked me if I was tired. My mentality is that honesty is the best policy, so I replied that I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit tired. Note to self: never admit to Chef (or Station Lead) that you’re tired. It WILL result in the immediate delivery of a double espresso which you will have to knock back like a shot of tequila. (Apparently I lucked out with just the one… turns out back in the “old days” they would keep the coffee coming regardless of how late in the evening it was getting.) After I finished it, he remarked, “We’ll make a man out of you yet!” Pastry Girl overheard and let out a dramatic “NOOOOOO! Don’t do it! Don’t give in!”

Service was fast-paced but not overwhelmingly so. Except for a 19-top that decided to order off the full menu rather than selecting a prix fixe… and this one time that our printer decided to stop printing tickets and we had to complete three or four tables on the fly. Luckily, we were able to push through and complete a relatively smooth service. I can already feel myself becoming more familiar with how the kitchen runs: identifying which dish would “drive” the ticket (take the longest to cook and therefore be the determinant factor of how much time we had before meeting at the window), calling for times, giving 1-minute warnings. But when it got super hectic, I just waited for Station Lead to assign me my next dishes (somehow it felt like for every ticket, Station-mate and I would each work on multiple dishes simultaneously).

My feet were KILLING me by the end of the night though, similar to the my very first day staging in the kitchen. By the time 9 o’clock rolled around, I could not wait to go home to Honey Bunny, get our routine Saturday night boba, shower, and apply a generous slathering of Penetrex to the soles of my feet. Station Lead gave us the go-ahead to leave a bit earlier (around 10:30) but not before saying that I did a great job this week… and to reiterate that he will continue to be tough on me, as he is on Station-mate and Dishwasher-turned-Pantry Guy. I noticed that he takes a slightly different tone with me though; he seems genuinely interested in pushing me so hard so that my “best” can keep improving. Challenge accepted.

I knew it would be difficult, but knowing and doing (as I’ve quickly learned) are two very different things. And boy am I exhausted. I am so happy that tomorrow is Sunday and I finally get a day off to relax, go out to eat someone else’s cooking (or at the very least, cook at my own pace without hundreds of hungry patrons waiting), and get some much needed rest. Tired as I am though, I have no regrets… except wishing for more hours in the day to spend with Honey Bunny. As I said to Chef last night, so far so good.

Celebratory Meal: homemade chicken noodle soup, boba, and complimentary muffin from the boba shop owner.

Celebratory Meal: homemade chicken noodle soup, boba, and complimentary muffin from the boba shop owner.

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