80’s Party

New motivational sign posted up on the window in the pastry room

New motivational sign posted up on the window in the pastry room

It’s been an 80’s party in the kitchen these past two days since my last update. The first and obvious reason — the ambient temperature pushes well past 80 degrees even in the coolest parts of the kitchen. The hottest parts, on the aptly-named Hot Line where the stoves and burners and grill are going at full blast, could easily be over 100 degrees F, though no one has ever really measured it. Chef installed two large fans over the dish pit to get the air circulating, which helps but does not actually generate cool air. We’ve all been drinking a lot of water this week.

The other reason — Musician Stage has been DJ’ing our kitchen’s radio and we’ve been listening to the 80’s station on Spotify. It’s great because all of those songs bring me back to my childhood, sitting in the car with my mom listening to K-EARTH 101 or hanging out at home while my dad irons clothes. Hits like “Alone” by Heart were a welcome change from the classic (mostly also 80’s) rock we’ve been listening to for the past several weeks. And because we prep for about six hours a day, we all discovered Spotify and Pandora’s secrets — the radio stations repeat their playlist every three hours or so and play a very similar selection of songs each day. We will have literally heard the same songs by 2pm as we did when we started at 11am, unless someone else switches out their smart phone or changes the station, and we all joke about how well we know a lot of these songs because we’ll hear them at least two or three times a week. They do mix it up a little though; some days they’ll play Champagne Supernova instead of Wonderwall.

Wednesday prep was intense as expected, but luckily, Chef offered to help me by making the orange marmalade. I was hesitant to ask him to do it, but he insisted that he had “nothing else to do” and that standing idle in this sweltering heat would drive him crazy!

Wednesday’s service was decent overall but slow on charcuterie so I got to spend a good amount of time on Hot-Apps with Pizza Guy J (who’s moving up to that station). He was working solo and appreciated the extra help. Chef recognized it too. During one of my a la carte terrine orders, Chef shouted over to me, “Young Lady, after you finish plating that up, go back over to Hot-Apps and help [Pizza Guy J]!” I was happy to hear that; I had yet to see a female line cook on his Hot Line and from talking with the guys, it has not been at all common in previous years either.

Yesterday (Thursday) was rough, especially after working the Late Night shift the night prior. Everything seems to go in slow motion and the heat really messes with your mind. I found myself wandering around the kitchen and doubling back a few times because I would forget something on my list. Or I would grab all of my ingredients from Dry Storage but miss a cutting board. I even let my balsamic poached pears overcook, which has not really happened to me yet in this kitchen. I decided to give it to Pastry Girl to use for a new sorbet flavor and order new pears to try again today (Friday). Turning lemons into lemonade.

Service was steady and well-paced. I hate having lulls of 30-40 minutes with zero tickets and then getting suddenly slammed with five or six tables at once. It messes up the Cold Line on appetizers which then has a domino effect on the Hot Line for subsequent courses. Pantry had a hard time keeping up, and in addition to helping them toss and plate a few salads, I also re-cooked their pickled beets in the pressure cooker (Chef had a beet salad sent back and discovered that they were still hard and under-cooked). I’m just glad that I’ve become so much more… useful around here than when I first started.

Quick health update: that infection on my hand cleared up and is now just a slightly dark patch of skin, which is gradually lightening up. Lesson learned to never wait that long to see a doctor. The heat rash is still prominent but I finally got one of the guys to admit that they get it too — Meat Guy gets it in the crook of his elbow which traps sweat when he’s working on the line. IT’S NOT JUST ME! :) I went back to using the prescription-strength cortico-steroid and it’s looking better especially after moisturizing my arms last night. It flared up really badly on Tuesday — I could literally see the trapped sweat under my skin. So gross ><

Time to go back to the inferno. Happy Friday, everyone!

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