Better Than Expected


Wednesday was a busy day for me during prep. Making harissa broth is by no means rocket science; in essence, you’re just layering flavors like composing a good soup. The difficulty lay in the fact that I had to use a stock pot large enough for me to bathe in so that I could make a batch that yielded 20 quarts. I had to stand on my tiptoes just to reach into the pot and stir the veg as I sautéed them. Luckily the guys nearby were sympathetic to my plight and helped me lift the piping hot pot when it came time to “drop” the stock. (That expression made sense when we made stock in a kettle and the finished product would literally dispense from the bottom of it, but it seems we can use it universally to refer to straining a stock from its cooking vessel into a storage container.) Service was unremarkable, although just before we started, we made some dishes to present potluck-style to the other restaurant in the hotel (they did the same for us as part of this food tasting thing for Back of House Appreciation Week). My contribution is pictured above — pan-seared sous vide beef cheeks. Yum!

Tonight, our restaurant was bought out by a company for their own special event. They preselected dishes off our menu so each station ended up prepping for just one or two dishes (and about 30 servings of each). It was awesome watching the pass get taken over by each dish in succession.

The nature of the dinner service meant that we all had time to prep and float and the overall ambiance was more relaxed. I got to chat with one of the Lead Cooks, a tomboy-ish girl who reminds me of a good friend from high school. She’s a badass and has already become a role model and mentor to me. Anyway, I asked her if she knew Meat Guy because I had worked with him and her reply was “Oh YOU’RE the one he recommended??” I honestly couldn’t tell if her tone implied that I was better or worse than what they had expected. I ended up just asking her bluntly and she said that it’s a good thing, that I exceeded their expectations. I guess Meat Guy didn’t leave them with a good impression or on positive terms. In fact, it’s looking like I got the job not because of his hookup but rather in spite of it… but at least they like me!

Another funny bit of conversation from today – Sous Chef M talking about the average clientele for the exclusive dining room we have for special tasting menus: “I love the Asians. They often arrive late but they eat fast, rarely have allergies, and they’ll eat anything and everything.”

I also got to catch up with Sous Chef J and Sous Chef S via text tonight. It was nice touching base and I hadn’t realized how much I missed them until we spent hours updating each other on our lives 140 characters at a time. Sous Chef J reminded me that I have what it takes to be successful in this world and to keep being brave and pushing forward. Sous Chef S texted a LOT just like how he used to talk my ear off at the restaurant and I could only chuckle reminiscing about it. It’s only been three weeks but this world moves fast.

On that note, good night!

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