Week 5: Station Lead

Gooseberry Salsa - Chef's recipe

Gooseberry Salsa – Chef’s recipe included lime zest which made a huge difference!

Another successful week of working in the restaurant part-time. I can feel that my confidence, responsibilities, and skills have dramatically improved in just these two weeks taking over the station and working with Sous Chef J. I never would have had opportunities to develop new dishes when I was a stage. I definitely didn’t have as many opportunities to delegate the tasks during prep, run the board during service, or organize the ordering/prep list for the next day when I first started coming in part-time. But now I’m seeing huge signs of growth in both myself and in my station.

Our prep list today was surprisingly manageable. Singing Hot-Apps Guy was working with me and Musician Stage, and between the three of us, we knocked out every item and some additional backup prep before 4:30pm, even with Singing Hot-Apps Guy splitting his time helping out Station-mate on charcuterie. I found it suspicious; Saturday prep is ALWAYS intense. I checked and double checked my prep list and the copy of yesterday’s that I had kept in the clipboard. It was then that I realized it was a result of my advance planning and hard work on Thursday and Friday. Both Singing Hot Apps Guy and Sous Chef J were pleasantly surprised.

Service was busy and there was added pressure to perform since Chef had some VIP guests in the dining room — important chefs from San Francisco, it seemed. He yelled more than usual and pushed us to put out the very best plates as quickly as humanly possible. But our station ran like clockwork. We even had time to split up and help out the rest of the Cold Line. Singing Hot-Apps Guy would jump on charcuterie when Station-mate got slammed with large platters, and I helped Pizza Guy make sense of his ticket rail which was quickly piling up with orders. We all pitched in to keep everyone caught up, even helping the dishwasher who was a man down this evening.

Singing Hot-Apps Guy let me take the lead today during service. During a fleeting moment of downtime, Pizza Guy asked me how it felt to be a station lead (his words verbatim!). I gave myself a brief pat on the back before replying that I love this opportunity to take on more responsibility. He could really relate as he had just been offered a “promotion” himself — he’s moving to Hot-Apps and Chef will be looking to hire a new pizza guy this week!

At the end of the night, the new schedule was posted.

I had heard speculation before and it was confirmed on this schedule. Station Lead was coming back. Rumor has it that he got out of jail somehow and Chef didn’t have the heart to fire him. But Chef and his Sous Chefs must have talked and possibly noticed my improvement because Station Lead is not coming back to garde manger. In fact, he will no longer be a sous chef but a cook and he will be working the Meat station. Meat Guy has been promoted to Sous Chef, and he will be working with me this coming week. I’m looking forward to seeing how that dynamic turns out. This also means that I still get to be station lead for garde manger. My suspicion is that this may be a test — perhaps of my work ethic, or personality fit, or kitchen skills — because each of the sous chefs have been taking turns working with me.

Challenge accepted.


2 thoughts on “Week 5: Station Lead

  1. priscilla

    I am so enjoying your stories. I also changed careers in 2008 to start working in kitchens. Now I’m a chef and have had to make do on more than one occasion because of cooks that did something stupid to land them in jail. Once I had two no-shows the same day because one cook pushed through a subway turnstile behind another and landed both of them in jail overnight! Solid responsible cooks are hard to come by and replacement and training is time consuming and expensive. I am sure you will do very well.

    Cheering you on from NYC.


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