Week 38: A True Team Effort

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Today was a rough day. With Sous Chef S still out of town and Station-mate mysteriously disappearing (none of us heard from him after he got sent home yesterday for being too coked up to function), we all had to pick up a lot of slack during prep AND service. How much slack, you ask? Well let’s put it this way – after finishing my own prep list, I literally did at least one item for every single station in the kitchen except for Pastry.

I just had to make harissa puree, harissa aioli, and marinate a 3x recipe of duck pate. Once that was done, I jumped on Pantry, cutting rounds of brown bread and slicing coppa on the meat slicer. Then I helped Panda with both types of tortellini he has on his dishes (one with a spinach-ricotta filling and the other with a celery root puree) and Meat Guy with rolling gnocchi  (thanks to the no-show, he was working by himself on Hot-Apps all day).

It was around 3:30 at this point, a solid half hour after Pizza Guy K was supposed to show up for work. Panic started setting in as Chef worried that we’d be short yet another person tonight. We turned on his ovens to preheat for service, and I broke down a frozen-solid pork belly for him to make chorizo if he needed it urgently. 4 o clock rolled around, then 4:30 and still no sign of him. I was setting up his station when I saw something that made my heart sink – his reach-in refrigerator was reading 50 degrees. That was just the icing on the cake after an already hectic day. With some ice and Chef trying to MacGyver a cleaning method to clear out excess debris from the motor vents, we managed to get everything back to a safe temperature.

Following that fiasco, Station Lead came over to ask for a favor. One item from his mise was incomplete: oven roasted beets, sliced and cut to the shape of teeny circles. It didn’t take long to push out but it was so hot in the kitchen that I could feel myself becoming increasingly irritable. At least they were pretty :)

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We were so short staffed that Chef called in New Fish Guy to just work service. He arrived around 5 and brought a dozen Starbucks caramel Frappuccinos, one for everyone. It was a much needed indulgence in something ice-cold, sinfully sweet, and slightly caffeinated. I was so happy I started  (deliriously) dancing in circles.

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After a slow (yet difficult because of the shortage of bodies) service, Chef patted us all on the back and congratulated us one by one for a job well done. “It truly was a team effort,” he remarked.

Man, they really made me work hard to earn my weekend, but it kicked off right with drinking beers in the parking lot to celebrate Meat Guy’s birthday! Now I’m looking forward to spending time with Honey Bunny and with my parents since it’s my mom’s birthday tomorrow  (Sunday). Ciao!

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