Smart Enough to Handle It

Carefully weighing out my salts for the chicken liver mousse

Carefully weighing out my salts for the chicken liver mousse

First off I wanted to say thank you to my readers for expressing your well wishes, suggesting over-the-counter and natural remedies, and just messaging to say hi after I posted about all my skin conditions. I did end up going back to the doctor, and he prescribed a stronger corticosteroid for the heat rash. However, my dear friend suggested using witch hazel — it is an astringent that bears similar cooling and soothing properties as aloe but also reduces inflammation, redness, and itching. I have to tell you, it’s magical stuff!!! That spot on my hand has not looked so close to normal in a very, very long time.

I’m also about halfway done with the antibiotics. Unfortunately, after one particular dosage yesterday afternoon, I was struck with waves of nausea. It felt so bad. Each step I took, I briefly considered asking to go home. But NO! I was determined to see it through. Thankfully I was mostly done with prep so I could sit outside for a few minutes and drink water. I felt considerably better after Family Meal, so it must have been caused by trying to digest the pill on an empty stomach. Lesson learned.

Speaking of Family Meal, I got a request from a dear friend to talk more about it. I’ll be honest – Family Meal is often an after-thought. We all spend our afternoon focused on our mise en place first and foremost. Whoever finishes earliest (or in some cases, whoever is closest to finishing or could spare the extra time) makes Family Meal. It turned out that Pizza Guy J was on Hot-Apps yesterday but when it came time to roll his gnocchi, he could not find any gnocchi paddles to make those iconic ridges. Instead, they used those smooth pillows for Family Meal. SO GOOD.

Family Meal!

Family Meal!

Service was really slow today. So slow that Chef sent Pizza Guy K home and had Pizza Guy J float between Hot-Apps and Pizza. When Hot-Apps did get busy, Chef himself came back and tossed a few pizzas into the oven. Some lucky Tuesday night patrons were served pizzas made personally by the head honcho! ;) Haha. He also made a salad or two with Sassy Stage and he even fried an egg for me for an order of the smoked salmon terrine. It was really interesting working hands-on alongside him.

But speaking of slow service, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally slower. They are also, coincidentally, Pastry Girl’s days off so Sous Chef J fills in for her. However, Chef called me over to talk with him today. He said that he is opening his new restaurant(s) soon and he will need Sous Chef J to take the helm more often in his absence. He asked me if I would be interested in training on Pastry and handling both the Pastry and Charcuterie stations on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. At first I hesitated a bit. After all, my goal is to work on the Hot Line. But then Chef lowered his voice and continued, “Quite frankly, you’re the only one around here smart enough to handle it.” I was flattered that he thought highly of me and that he was considering me (and only me) for this opportunity, so I accepted. This week and next, I’ll start training on Pastry. Woooooo!

With this added responsibility, however, I spoke with Sous Chef J to get some advice. I asked him when line cooks generally move up from the starting pay rate. He replied that it depends (there isn’t a set time period or station) and it’s really up to Chef. He also made sure to point out that Chef won’t just magically give away pay increases; you have to know when is the right time and when to ask for it. He added, “Don’t go into the conversation with the battle already lost. Be confident!” So with that in mind, I think I will wait until after I get trained so I can make sure I will be able to successfully handle both stations before I ask. I hate talking about money, so I’m still hoping Chef will think of it on his own… but from the sounds of it, that’s not usually the case with him. haha.

Even without any pay increase, I am truly honored that he thought of me for this opportunity. As far as I know, no one other than the sous chefs really handle two stations simultaneously. And I want to learn every part of the kitchen as best I can so that I can someday take on that sous chef role and fill in as needed (in addition to leading the kitchen in Chef’s absence, of course). So far, every day feels like a step forward and for that, I’m really happy.

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