@Nico S, @Cary: Thank you for reading!
@winternutt: It's alright, I don't really expect to collect gold stars for doing what was expected of me, and it was reassuring, being reminded that creativity is actively encouraged in the kitchen. Jeff wasn't upset at all, I hope it doesn't come off as such!
@Cary, @lexohpile: Thank you! It's refreshing to get something right once in a while.
@jo_wang: Thanks for reading the whole time!
@guycooking: I'm flattered that anyone would compare my writing to that of Hannah Howard's (the author of Grocery Girl), but I can assure you that I am not she! I am also in no way a pasta master--your confidence in my abilities is humbling, if horribly misplaced :)
@joyyy: Yes, thank you! I completely forgot to mention the tip. Taking into consideration the great service, restaurant discounts or any comped dishes I might receive when dining where I work, my tip will definitely be more generous than when I usually dine out. Fussy is certainly no bueno, but there's really no excuse for tipping poorly (or not at all).
@Rodzilla: We use the Emiliomiti Nina pasta machine, it works like a dream. Production schedules for fresh pasta change day by day, and depend largely on what is being offered on the menu or what needs to be restocked: LOTS of production during restaurant week.
@jkatt: I am actually going to explain more in detail in next week's column: all line cooks have bains of their tools set up at their station, spoons included, but yes, sometimes it is just faster to grab a pasta noodle to taste while plating. I know I speak from scant experience, but I cannot imagine every cook in every decent restaurant is always gloved or always uses utensils when plating or tasting dishes. The kitchen is also outfitted with plenty of sinks, rest assured, our hands are always clean!
Thanks for the kind comments, all!
@Teachertalk: I think I was just in the right place at the right time. I'd planned on blogging about my experience working BOH for my own blog, but pitched the concept to SE on a whim, to see if they would be interested. I'd been an avid reader of SE for a long time, so when they agreed to run the column, I was absolutely ecstatic :)
@chascates: The pasta pros at The Restaurant are outfitted with the Emiliomiti Nina and it works wonderfully, although it kind of stopped working one service and they had to make do with an Imperia for a few long hours.
@guycooking: I definitely agree that it's a difficult business, but the thing is, I don't have to be there, I get to be there. Like I've said before, I don't think I have the stamina to cook for a living, but I'm determined to soak up all that I can while I have the chance!
@Rodzilla: For obvious reasons, I can neither confirm nor deny, but thanks for playing :)
@Pavlov: Thanks! And that's the second time "Heat" has been mentioned, picking up a copy today, I'll have a look over "On Food and Cooking" while I'm there.
- I will keep your co-worker caveat in mind the next time I pull on my whites. You could very well be 100% correct, in which case I will simply have to work harder...because I'm definitely not quitting.
- While I cannot argue that my skills leave something to be desired, I hope I do not come off as flip or anything less than completely devoted in regards to time I spend in the kitchen. Right now, I mince things. I slice things. Occasionally, I even mandolin things. I am determined to slice each batch more perfectly and consistently than the last. I simply acknowledge the fact that I do not possess the stamina required to stand over 95,000 blasting btus 5 days a week as a career. Naturally, my passion for learning how to cook trumped my desire to write: how else would I learn to "write what I know," when I know so little? Acquiring knowledge was, is and will continue to be a top priority of mine, although I deeply appreciate the opportunity to pursue both interests. I hope it is understood that this column reflects the experiences of a very green student and not an expert. It's an unusual situation, but it was never my intention to offend with material I considered merely interesting.
- Totally fair on the nail polish; manicures are largely a waste if you work BOH and I hadn't had one in the longest, it completely slipped my mind to take it off prior to my shift. Definitely won't happen again.
@crispyduck13 Thanks for the feedback! A close reader is always appreciated. Let's see if I can't work through your questions:
- This opportunity was made possible due to the Executive Chef's kindness and willingness to take a chance on a "kitchen noob." I come in twice a week and do not operate on the line, so I am not directly responsible for anything that a customer would consume. I do what I can and learn as much as possible.
- If there is anything that this time in the kitchen has taught me so far, it is that I am simply not cut out to be a full-time chef in a professional kitchen. I was never looking to develop my culinary career working at The Restaurant; I was always more interested in the experience working back of the house and building a solid foundation in food knowledge.
- No, just like how I don't really have the upper body strength of a third grader...it's more like a kindergartner's, even on a good day. :) But I really was unnerved.
- Guess not.
- All stylized text gets formatted in the editing phase of publishing; I don't have much say in what gets italicized, bolded, curlicued, flourished, etc.
- I'm sorry if you found the lack of column parameters frustrating, hopefully I'll do a better job next week!
@Jenny Lee-Adrian The writing component of my experience was always secondary to my desire to learn more about food. I was more concerned about getting my foot through the door than documenting the experience: the fact that I have Chef's blessing for the column is just a hugely generous bonus!
@Grease Yes, most of the people I work with, including the Executive Chef, are aware that I will be chronicling my experiences in the kitchen. The anonymity is just to protect everyone involved.
Hello everyone! Thanks for all the support, will be back next week with a little more background on The Restaurant and the excellent people I get to work with.
@jpeckjr Sound advice! I've been trying to suppress my skittish, panic-prone inclinations and get a grip ever since I walked through those double doors...we'll just have to see how things go.
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