Yesterday turned out to be Mophead’s last day with us. His funds had run out, the city was (according to him) unkind, and it was time to move back home to Minnesota. So after a long, long day that included my first (and so far only) chicken liver mousse failure, some of us went out to the nearby dive bar for a round or two of drinks to toast his departure. My original nickname for him, Musician Stage, was appropriate — his plans once he moves home is to enroll at the local university and complete a degree in music theory. Good for him! I teased that he could call me a few years down the line when he is knee-deep in student loan debt and decided to pursue a career that has nothing to do with his Bachelor’s so we can commiserate together. haha!
The chicken mousse failure — both of my chicken mousse terrines had just finished baking and I was pulling the molds out of the water bath to let cool in the walk-in. I accidentally tipped one a little too far and the contents started just spilling out like sludge. It was like time stopped and I was watching it happen in slow-motion. I was devastated. The only bright side is that now that we have our wellington back on the menu, Chef will be able to use the mousse “scrap.” Sous Chef J (sarcastically) comforted me by reminding me that this is my first ever failure; others who had come before me fucked up the mousse much earlier and more frequently. He said I was the “chicken mousse master” until now. Emphasis on, “until now.” Ha. I was really bummed, but it was already 4pm and we all had to get ready for service so at least I was busy and didn’t have too much time to dwell on it.
We also had our health inspection yesterday. Chef has this sixth sense for when it’ll come around; these past two weeks have been filled with extra careful labeling, more time spent on cleaning, etc. When we got word that they had arrived, everyone scrambled around to tidy things up, sweep the floor one last time, double and triple check the walk-in, dispose of any contraband items (shh… contraband items? what contraband items?). It was chaos and we knew that we would all feel Chef’s wrath if we got a bad score. The weight lifted off our shoulders seemed tangible when he announced that we got 95/100.
In other news, I’ve been training Sassy Stage on charcuterie lately. It seems like the importance of the art isn’t making as much of an impact on him as it did on, well, anyone else who’s come through this kitchen. It’s hard to fathom since the charcuterie program is the entire reason why this restaurant was my first choice to stage at, and reaching this station was my primary goal for months. And yet everything I tell him seems to be falling on deaf ears. It’s going to be a process…
On the bright side, Charcuterie Guy is back. I have to give him a new nickname. He’s helping out on Hot-Apps and apparently he had trained Panda on both Hot-Apps and Fish stations, so when I told him that I’m trying to get on the Hot Line soon, he offered to train me as well. I got to spend a good hour or two of service helping him out. Meanwhile, Pastry Girl served up some a la carte terrine orders for me. She’s fantastic and I appreciated her help, but man – she cannot cut straight to save her life. (I came back to all sorts of crazy angles on my terrines!)
Pictured above is our new gnocchi dish on happy hour, dinner menu, and late night. In place of the lamb ragu, there is now short rib, and it’s garnished with parsley leaves, pecorino, and spiced slivered almonds. During late night, Sous Chef J had disappeared to do the orders so I essentially did all of the dishes myself, including burgers, fish & chips, and this new gnocchi. I was pretty proud of myself!
Here’s to another day. Oh, and I’m another year older. 26 is going to be a good one!