On an almost-daily basis during prep, we’ll hear Chef exclaim to the whole kitchen, “Does anybody need anything?” Most days it will be rhetorical as he’ll realize that there are a dozen Wellingtons to wrap in puff pastry, or that there is only one guy on Hot-Apps so he can roll pasta, or that Pantry needs help with butchering their tuna or salmon for the tartare dishes. Not to mention that Chef and I seem to have an unspoken understanding that I am organized enough to plan out my week’s prep schedule and get things done in time for service each day without his micromanagement. (Oftentimes I hear him asking some of the guys, “Are you in good shape?” “What are you working on now?” “What’s next?” and he’ll either skip over me or answer his own question as in, “You’re fine, right?”)
But today, after receiving no response to his general inquiry, he singled out each one of us to double check (and presumably to find something to do). Eventually he looked me right in the eye and asked, “Need anything?” I knew I had one task that I had put on Morning Prep Cook’s list but that it had not been done. Cautiously, I answered, “Yes Chef, but I know you’re not going to like it…” “Just tell me what it is!” he replied. “I need peeled pearl onions, Chef.” “Aww fuck you!” came his joking retort. “I told you you wouldn’t like it! It’s fine, I’ll do them myself,” I defended. But he quickly responded “Nobody likes peeling pearl onions!” He asked for the package and came back about 15 minutes later with a ninth-pan of shiny peeled teeny tiny white onions. He works FAST so if it took him that long, I can only imagine how tedious and frustrating it would have been for me.
Service was better today than yesterday; I learned that we only did about 25 covers TOTAL yesterday, possibly one of the worst days since the restaurant’s opening. The guys say it is supposed to pick up the pace with the winter holidays coming up, but I’m not so sure.
Always remember: nobody likes peeling pearl onions.
PS: I forgot to mention but the highlight of yesterday (Wednesday) was finding out that a liquor vendor had dropped off some brand new garnish trays (aka condiment trays aka speed boxes). Chef gave me a pair and now my mise looks so sexy. A place for everything and everything in its place!