Thursday, September 3, 2009

Survivors Ready?

"Geezus, bella, you're supposed to work with me here, everything else is up already!" yelled the saute station guy. Of course he failed to tell me he was going on that table so I didn't have the ribs ready in time. Between running in the back to do the dessert orders and helping him plate his stuff, I didn't keep a close eye on what table he was working on. Ribs take a long time and by the time he told me to go on the ribs he was already cooking his salmon and mahi mahi orders, which take half the time the ribs do, if not less. Needless to say my stuff was not ready and his food was sitting in the window. Not good. But really, it was not my fault, it's not like I was standing around picking my nose or anything. BUT... if I learned anything since I started working here, is that you don't talk back in the kitchen!

Let me give you a few examples:

Chef gets a complaint that a Lox 'n Bagel took 20 minutes and he calls downstairs to ask you why, he really isn't looking for an explanation, not at that moment anyway. So you say "sorry Chef" and let him get stuff off his chest. You don't tell him that you walked in at 11 am and the Lox 'n Bagel order was already there, 6 chits behind some other stuff, and that really it was good that you showed up because the breakfast guy was getting nailed and you were just bailing his ass anyway... You don't say that. You shut up, say "sorry chef" and keep on trucking. Maybe later you gather the courage to say that really, you had just gotten there, and stuff was already falling behind. Trouble is you don't want to point fingers and blame your fellow cook either. I find that at times kitchen is very much like the army, not that I've been in the army... It's a lot of "Sir, Yes sir" (except it's Chef, not Sir) and a lot of taking blame when it's not yours to take. It doesn't matter who put shitty food in the window. If you saw it, and you let it go out, you're as much to blame for it as the guy who put it out. Fair, no?

I remember one day I was putting out a bruschetta order. I toasted my bread just so, but Chef felt it was not toasted enough so he ran it through again, but left the kitchen before we could plate the order together. So I finished the order, put out the blackened-in-spots bread against my better judgement, and sure enough it came back. "Customer wants new bruschetta, this one a bit too charred for his taste." Now I know what you're going to say, and I cringe to this day thinking about it. Although it was Chef himself re-toasting that bread (and burning it in the process), I should have known better than to go ahead and let the server take it. I knew sending it out that it would come back. I guess maybe I wanted an "I told you so" moment. I wanted to say to Chef "I told you the bread was toasted fine the first time around. Now look what you did, you burnt it!" I, the new kid, knew that bread was plenty toasted and wanted to brag about it. Instead, I had to do the bruschetta all over again. When I later told Chef about the episode, he asked me "why did you let the food go out like that?" There was no way I was going to say "well, you wanted it retoasted, so there..." He was right. I knew he was right. Since then, I always watch the food as it goes out, no matter who put it up. The problem with that is now we get into arguments because of my vigilance.
Me: "Hey, that Sonoma needs to be tossed instead of just drizzled with dressing."
Cook: "No it doesn't!"
Me"Yes it does, just ask Chef! All salads get tossed!" (I need to find a way to sound a little less... righteouss or something)

Next day, both the cook and Chef are present so I jump at the chance to get clarification. (and by clarification I don't mean that raft thing for consomme)

Me, glancing over at the cook: "Chef, I was wondering... as a refresher... do we toss all salads?"
Chef, without hesitation: "Yes"
Me, smug expression given to cook: "Thank you, Chef"

If this were Survivor, I'd be voted off so quickly... I can't help myself though, I really care about the quality of the food going out.

No comments:

Post a Comment