Busy Week

Chef's dish for a charity event: Veal Tongue Ballantine with Apricots and Foie

Chef’s dish for a charity event: Veal Tongue Ballantine with Apricots and Foie

As expected, no one left me a list on Tuesday. It was just as well; I quickly discovered that there are a lot of things that need doing this week in order to replenish my mise. Luckily I had the foresight on Saturday to leave a note and ask whomever covered for my station to order the ingredients I would need for a 3x recipe of the duck & walnut pate so that they would be waiting for me when I came back on Tuesday. I arrived to fairly bare cupboards but a good supply of duck tenderloins, pork butt, and back fat to work with, so I was happy about that.

Service came in waves. For a day with only 27 on the books, Tuesday was surprisingly busy for periods at a time, but when it was slow, it was SLOW. We all ended up hanging out with Sous Chef J over in the back of the kitchen (he was on Pastry tonight) talking about styles of cooking and food philosophy (mainly, simple & rustic vs. molecular gastronomy).

Yesterday was (apparently) a noon day but it didn’t matter to me as I had a lot on my plate. Chef knew it as well and wasn’t surprised to see me right at 11am. I had made a long prep list knowing that there were some items I could put off until the next day if needed. I didn’t complete it all but I got a lot done — diced and brined back fat, ground the marinated duck meat, cooked off three duck pates, made green paprika (by dehydrating spinach, roasting an assortment of green peppers, smoking them for three hours in our electric smoker, and dehydrating those overnight as well before grinding it all into a fine powder), sous vide cooked 64-degree C eggs for a new special, and of course, sliced bread. It was a bit stressful having to pick and choose what I would do that day and what would have to wait, but man was I pushing hard. I was so focused that people came by periodically to say hi to me, just because they noticed I wasn’t participating in the ambient conversations going in the kitchen!

Service was okay today; Sous Chef J was busy with invoicing and ordering, so he asked me to cover both Pastry and Charcuterie several times throughout the evening. It was fun and I’m glad he feels he can rely on me to help him. It just sucked when a ticket came in like this: cheese plate and salumi plate first course, wellington second course. That meant I would have to run into the walk-in to grab a welli, brush the pastry with egg wash, stick it in the oven with an 18-minute timer, cut some fruit bread (that goes on the cheese plates), warm them in the oven, run over to my station, fire some toast, set up a salumi plate, run back to Pastry to set up the cheese plate, stick bread on both and walk them up to the pass together. It’s a fairly rare occurrence, but it’s already happened to me once or twice.

During service, the boys decided to design a World Cup betting pool with a $10 buy-in. The catch is that you don’t get to pick your team. Your assigned team will be randomly selected out of a hat from the participating countries, and that’s the one you’ll cheer on to win. With 20-25 of us in on the pool, that’s a hefty jackpot to take home on sheer luck! Haha. Everyone’s excited about the World Cup; our restaurant is even opening the bar early today (with some snack foods) to show the game. I don’t know who is available in the middle of the afternoon to come in and watch, but hey — whatever brings in money I guess!

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