Post 20: Day 9-12 (of 30): Some thoughts after a positive week

Job list


This third week at the restaurant has been very good. I’m getting more confidence and I can manage all my duties with a good (not yet perfect) efficiency. There are still certain jobs that I prefer not to do, simply because I’m not fast enough on them or the result is not perfect. Like mash a big pot of potatoes or chop a big bowl of parsley and shallots in 15 minutes…

Anyway I notice that being fast is more important that being precise. At the beginning, especially during the internship the other chefs told me that the parsley has to be minced veeeeeery fine. But then I realized that they don’t care much about the precision… chef K. chop a lot of parsley and chives very fast but the quality is not so good in my opinion. 🙂 Moral: do your job as fast as you can in order to reach an “acceptable” result.

A positive fact about this week is that (I think) the other chefs noticed my positive mood when we’re working and they also started to smile and do jokes during the day. I always try to smile even if I am tired, body language is always important. Yesterday after lunch service I was finishing my tomato concasse just before the break and I started whistling an happy song. Chefs K. and Y. told me: “Nico, are you happy? Are you crazy?!”. “Come on guys, we’re going to have a break now and take a rest!”.

Furthermore the chef owner E. that yelled at me at my first full day 3 weeks ago talked to me and asked some question about where I come from, Italy, France bla bla bla… Maybe because he noticed that I do what he asks me (not many things, fortunately :D) without making troubles. For example on last Tuesday he was looking for a grater and asked to chef Kv. where he could find it. Chef Kv. (he’s the youngest chef in the kitchen, also apprentice) was a little bit in panic about the request and didn’t know about that and replied: “I don’t know maybe in the pastry section…” (by the way, where chef E. was working). In 2 seconds I gave the grater to chef E. because I knew it was under the bench. He told to chef Kv:: “You see? He’s smarter than you!”. 😀

Like the previous week I had worked Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 pm to 10.30 pm, Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 10.30 pm. Fortunately on the full days we had a break, staff meal and a nap between 4 pm and 17.45 pm. Total about 35 hours in 4 days. For the amazing salary of $419 per week. The money that I can collect with one day as IT consultant. 😀
I understand the frustration of the other chefs that have been working in this industry for a lot of years, work very hard and have a low income. I don’t care about money since I work because is my passion, but for them is different. I talked with chef K. about my wage as IT programmer and he told me: “I should had studied computer science…”. I just told him that if you enjoy what you’re doing you don’t care about money. But that’s the problem of many people, they “sell their time for a job that they hate, to buy thing they don’t care to impress people they don’t like“. Sad but true.

To sum up, this week I had worked in the larder section and last night in the garnish section. My mise en place involved the same jobs:

  • slice, dice, brunoise many vegetables like parsley, chives, shallots, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, apples, tomatoes, avocados
  • slice ham, carpaccio
  • cure duck legs
  • portion terrines
  • warm bread
  • reheat soup of the day
  • prepared mashed and potato salad
  • boil and peel hard, soft and T (for tarts) eggs

During service I had to prepare:

  • amuse bouche soups
  • charcuterie board, carpaccio, egg mimosa, prawns and avocato millefeulle, tomato tart as entree
  • tian as main (that involve cooking spinach, ratatuille, pumpkin on the stove)

Yesterday I was working in the garnish section and the evening was quite for me because there was a table of 53 people that pre-ordered the charcuterie board entree for everyone that I not suppose to prepare because not in my section. I had only to prepare tomato tarts and the tian as main. During the evening I prepared only 3 tian and at 9 we backed up everything. All my bench was clean I ready to finish the cleaning of the kitchen. However, we heard the noise of the ticket printer… “Order! 2 soups, 1 carpaccio, 1 tian, 1 salmon!”. Fuck!! So I had to take all the ingredients back from the fridge and make a new tian. Next time I won’t do it again until the dining room manager will say “Kitchen is closed!”. 😀


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