I was grateful that Fish Guy was floating on Monday (and therefore took care of my station) because he always tries his best to leave a list for my return on Tuesday. He’s really been a big brother type of character, taking me under his wing since I started working here. Having a proper list saved me a lot of time, and even better, he ordered chicken livers and yukon potatoes for me to work with.
Chicken livers come in a five-pound bag which usually lasts me about a week or so, after divvying it up for mousse, board jars, happy hour jars, and the occasional terrine (every other week or so I end up making a batch of duck terrine which calls for about a pound of the stuff). But, after seeing me scrub down my station around 3pm to get ready for service, the sous chefs assigned me to do family meal.
It was so hot and I could not think of anything appetizing to eat. A salad sounded like a good idea, and I had been wanting to fry up some chicken livers, Southern-style, so that was my inspiration to make a chicken liver caesar salad, topped with crispy deep-fried chicken livers rather than the more traditional grilled or fried chicken breast. It turned out to be a great success!
Yesterday (Wednesday) started with a disappointing setback. Apparently my potato slices had oxidized overnight and were spotted like the 101 dalmatians. Thankfully, there were extra yukon potatoes in the walk-in so I was able to poach them again. Unfortunately, that pushes back my smoked salmon terrine by a day (I should have been building it yesterday to press overnight for today). “We have to plan for the worst,” Sous Chef J said when I thanked him for ordering extra potatoes.
We had a special wine-tasting party that wanted to start with four salumi plates for their first course and then follow with three terrine-only charcuterie boards for the second. They were expected to be seated around 7pm so at 6:55pm, I pulled out my slates and started getting ready; at Chef’s suggestion, I was planning to serve two larger boards of salumi with the same quantity as four a la carte orders. I thought I was planning so well and would be able to handle this party just fine! But then Front of the House Manager / Co-Owner came in and announced that there was a VIP guest and asked that I send out a soigne charcuterie board. This put a damper on my plans, as did when the wine-tasting group requested an additional (large) platter of salumi.
The good part came during their second course. I guess they wanted a burger along with it (for one of the guests?) and Chef set a timer for 10 minutes. “Alright Young Lady, fire the pates and terrines. You have 10 minutes and here is the timer.” I didn’t even have enough boards but thanks to my limited Spanish, I was able to ask the dishwasher to find and wash more for me. I managed to get two and proceeded with those. At the 3 minute mark, I got my third board and started that as well. Pizza Guy J helped with the toast by heating it in Pizza Guy K’s oven and assembling the accompanying bread baskets. Five terrines and their garnishes — chicken liver mousse with sweet potato jam, duck and walnut pate with walnut mustard and orange-apricot marmalade, smoked salmon terrine with gribiche and fried egg, pork & truffle pate with apple cider jelly, and wild boar torchon with harissa and a dried cherry sauce. (The dried cherry sauce was made by yours truly – I reconstituted the dried cherries in port wine and cooked it with a bit of sugar before blending and straining, a sweet contrast to the spicy harissa.)
“Time is almost up!” Chef shouted. “I have two boards ready and the third one will follow in 30 seconds, Chef!” “Great — bring them up then!” I recruited the assistance of the boys on Pantry to help carry the three large slates of food and three baskets of toast. I breathed a sigh of relief when I personally delivered the third slate myself. Chef inspected my work and he told me, “Fantastic. Good work tonight.” I thanked him and skipped away, grateful that the worst of the night (for me at least) was over.
Sadly, I still had the Late Night shift, although the orders were light and infrequent. I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich, using the lamb ragu (meant for the gnocchi) in lieu of the braised pork shank, and it was delicious! Sous Chef S helped walk me through the process and in exchange I split the sandwich in half to share with him. It was a fairly smooth evening and I was finally home by 12:30am.