Truth be told, I didn’t write an entry for yesterday (Wednesday) because it was a difficult day. I’m still adjusting not only to the new kitchen and new job, but as Honey Bunny pointed out, to working at all after having had a full week off.
Chef didn’t like the onions I had diced on Wednesday for the prep cooks to make our sofrito, so I felt stupid for 1) being seemingly incompetent at something as basic as dicing onions and 2) pushing back our prep schedule by one day as it is a long project and I found out too late to fix that component on the same day. It fed my anxiety and self-doubt even though I should know better than to let it get to me. Anyway, I re-diced them today and the sofrito will be done in time for service tomorrow. The world spins on.
On the bright side, I haven’t been eating alone these past two days. As I awkwardly looked for a space in the cafeteria on Wednesday during break, one of the girls called me over to a long table occupied by a dozen or so other cooks. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood too since it was rib night. They told me that sitting together is a “thing” (we are “family” after all, said one of the girls) so today I didn’t hesitate to pull up a chair and join them.
I’m getting the hang of where everything is located, how to plate our dishes, and even how to cook them if I’m alone or my station partner (or partners, there are 3 of us on Plancha I during the busier nights) is busy. Prep is still difficult though, as I think my nervousness is impeding on my ability to work faster. It’s also weird condensing prep into two hours just before service (plus some smaller tasks during service if time permits). We have an extensive prep team that helps with the bulk of our products; we focus on items like sauces, dressings, and finer knife cuts that require more finesse. Still, it’s way different than doing everything yourself but having six hours to finish.
I think the biggest strain right now is the hours. Sure I’m only working 8 hours a day, but it’s a very different 8 than Honey Bunny’s. We have almost opposite schedules, especially tomorrow when I work the closing shift (I come in at 4:30pm but work the last hour or so by myself after the “openers” leave at 11). Poor Honey Bunny has been staying up late to squeeze in some time together watching TV shows but I know it’s affecting his ability to get up early the next morning for work. I’m working on Valentine’s Day again this year (we already have 600 covers on the books!) so even though Honey Bunny and I show our love to each other year-round, I feel awful that our options are so limited for the holiday itself. Even our cats notice the change and the boy-cat gets noticeably upset when I’m about to leave the house.
I guess it’ll just take getting used to, and I’m sure a lot of the obstacles I’m experiencing are just in my head and will subside as I get more comfortable here. Change is hard, but I’m still very happy that I was even offered this opportunity. Here’s to hoping for a better day tomorrow!