Tough Love

Adorable teeny-tiny ravioli for the pea soup. They're about 1 inch in diameter. So cute!

Adorable teeny-tiny ravioli for the pea soup. They’re about 1 inch in diameter. So cute!

Today was much more organized since I personally made the list yesterday and have a better bearing on the status of our station. And my brand new knife, which is still currently unnamed, certainly aided me during prep. There’s something magical about how efficiently you can work when you have a sharp knife in your hands. And I think my investment in this new badass knife shows the guys that I’m serious about succeeding in the kitchen.

Prep went smoothly and we even finished our list early enough to help out other stations. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to help Sous Chef S with pasta. Service started off with a bang. Happy Hour was super busy! I had to swallow my pride and ask for help to get the many, many oysters shucked (we literally had dozens of oysters on order at any given time). Chef seemed especially hard on me today too, always checking to make sure my dishes were timely and soigne. He personally came over to show me a new way to plate one of the newer dishes, and when he reached into our lowboy refrigerator for the slices of pickled cucumber, he found a super thick mutant of a slice. He threw it down on the cutting board, looked me in the eye, and said it’s not good enough. It didn’t matter that the cucumbers were sliced days ago, when I wasn’t even in the kitchen. This was my station and I was personally responsible for its mise en place. It sucked, but I worked through it anyway. It’s also all the more reason for me to look forward to working here full-time; I’ll physically be in the kitchen more and can have better control over quality.

It seemed that others noticed the exchange as well. I had Late Night with Fish Guy tonight. Ha – that sounds like the name of a parody talk show. Fish Guy has always taken a personal interest in make sure I was learning the “right” way to do things (not the lazy way) and that I had the proper tools (like recommending the knife shop I went to). He asked me about what happened and he told me that Chef only does that because he cares. He wants me to improve and that’s his way of pushing me to do better. Fish Guy brought up an example — Other Pantry Guy (the one who quit back in November). Fish Guy said that Chef rarely yelled at him, and that the reasoning was that he didn’t care. Other Pantry Guy didn’t seem to want to put forth effort and take pride in his work, so Chef returned the favor of indifference. So there’s a lot of tough love in this kitchen, if you’re worthy enough to receive it.

Honey Bunny was already asleep by the time I got home at 12:30, so I showered and fixed myself a bowl of instant ramen before typing up this entry. TIme to hit the hay!

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