Sunday, October 15, 2006

Day Four


Ok, so I haven't even posted about days 1-3 yet, and I'm starting on the fourth day. I'll catch you up.

Day 1 Thursday, October 12:
I go in, fill out paperwork, and am shuffled downstairs to get my uniform. Hiding between racks of clothes, I'm asked to try on an extra small and small chef's coat and pants. The x-small coat fits, except that the last button doesn't fasten. The small is too big, but all buttons are fastened (I find out later that I'm not the only one with this problem. It seems that they make jackets for men who, of course, have no hips). I'm then loaded onto an elevator and taken to the kitchen where I'm introduced around and meet about 20 people. I'm not good with names. Let's just say that by the end of the night, I remembered only one name: mine. Anyway, my day starts with me helping another lady wrap brownies for a party the next day. Then the night shift comes in and I start to learn the line, plating various desserts, carmelizing bananas and arranging them in a mold for one of the desserts, learning all the new plates (which look the same to me). Already I notice a difference: here they call their plates china. And room service is in room dining or IRD. Oh, and I forgot to mention that we had celebrities dining for lunch. I'm not at liberty to say which ones and I hope you'll forgive me for that. We also had a celeb staying in the hotel. My first day and I was in the same building as some Hollywood people, man I've arrived! Ha! I ended my shift by cutting a full sheet tray of brownies, and was complimented on my nice, smooth edges by the Pastry Sous Chef. By the end of the day, I stepped off of the elevator, bewildered, took two steps to the security check point and asked him how to get out of the building.

Day 2 Friday, October 13:
I've met everyone working in pastry. And, surprisingly, I remember their names. Everyone else, unfortunately is greeted enthusiastically with a warm smile and hello. I'll learn names eventually. I'm alsy getting more of a feel about how the kitchen is laid out. There's the line for the restaurant and lounge in front, as well as a sushi line, the pastry line, and in the kitchen, there's the IRD line, two dish stations (one for the pots and pans, and the other for china and plastic stuff). I'm steadily taking notes, going back and forth between the line and the bakeshop, trying to commit so many things to memory. At least I remember how to exit the building.

Day 3 Saturday, October 14:
Not doing too poorly for a Saturday rush, though I'm told that it's not as busy as usual, with 161 on the books. Ok. There's three of us on the line, and amazingly, we didn't run each other over. It gets busy and I stick to what I can do because I know it and can do it pretty quickly. Chef checks in with me, and asks how my "quenelling" is, and I admit that though it's good, I still can improve. She tells me to practice in between tickets, that all it takes is lots of practice (reminds me of playing the piano in college. In the practice rooms at 3 in the morning). I don't get much down time since I'm always being pulled back and forth between things so that I can learn. There's a wedding that the Pastry Sous Chef is plating. He takes me down to the banquets kitchen (did I forget to mention that there's another kitchen entirely in the basement?) and I am shown how to assemble the canister and make foam to sauce the plates with. Seems the bakery didn't get the cake order correct, and he's adding a chocolate sauce to compensate. Get that done, and it's back to the restaurant.

Day 4 Today:
Set up the station almost all by myself! A few things I didn't remember. It's getting better. We had a rush and I got behind a little, I'm still having to think through platings, especially the large cheese plate, but no one yelled and it was ok. I tried the cheesecake, which is wonderful, and that's saying a lot because I really don't like cheesecake, when I helped break down the brunch display. We have a chocolate fountain. At least I know where I'm going in the building. The restaurant is on the 7th floor, basement for uniforms, locker, changing (my locker is exact opposite direction from the locker room), the cafe, and of course, to get out is on the ground floor. I think I'll have to buy some ice cream and practice my quenelles. I also have to learn how to maneuver around more people.

And there you have it. That's basically how things are going at the new job. I'm not as tired as I was working at the other restaurant. I'm not having to run the GM and pastry lines, prep for pastry, and prep stuff that runs out for GM, breaking down two stations, then cleaning the back (pastry) and sorting things out in the freezer and cooler. I told a friend that I feel like I'm not really working, since I'm not doing it all. But it feels really good.

Well, I'm going to relax and eat the last piece of blueberry pie I baked a couple of days ago, maybe watch some tv, or start a movie.

The photo is from my new restaurant's web site. This is not a current dessert.

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