Saturday, October 17, 2009

Growing Pains

I've just finished a 12-hour shift and can feel every single bone and muscle in my body. They're all moaning and, in turn, making me moan. I am not sure why my back hurts more than my feet, you'd think it'd be your feet that start complaining first and carry on the longest. Speaking of feet, I really need to get myself a pair of kitchen clogs instead of those boots. My birthday is coming up, maybe I'll ask Jen for a pair of those nice Sketcher no-slip clogs I saw the other day.

I was supposed to go in at 4 pm and work in the banquet kitchen helping with the wedding that was going on. Instead, I received a call from Chef around 10 am asking me if I could go in right away. The breakfast cook was sick and couldn't continue her shift, she was basically hanging in until someone got there. That someone was me, with Chef following shortly after which is impressive considering he has a 40 minute drive and I only have a 10 minute one. He must have called me from his car.

Naively, I still thought that I'd work the bistro till 4 pm and move on upstairs to complete my shift. Unfortunately for me hairdo, who now works only Saturdays because she has gone back to school, didn't feel well so she left at 2 pm, three hours after coming in. With hairdo leaving there would be nobody to cover my station during dinner service. You'd have to be clueless not to see that there was no way Chef was going to take me upstairs for the wedding when they'd be getting humped downstairs. And humped we got.

I knew from the day before that we had a party of 24 make a reservation, with additional large tables (parties of eight and parties of ten) also reserving seats. I was somewhat relieved knowing I wouldn't be there today for that madness. Little did I know that's exactly where I would end up. I've said this before but I'll say it again: our kitchen is small. It can fit three cooks, maybe four on a busy night, but that's it. It'd be nice to have a runner that fills our containers once we empty them, but that's wishful thinking, we hardly ever have a runner. Which is where our speed really comes into play. Not only are we putting out food, we have to often run in the back to replenish our stock. So when you have a party of 24, even though we provided them a fixed menu, it screws things up a bit. Two people are now taken out of the mix as they have to plate 24 entrees so any other table that comes in while those 24 are eating is going to have a bit of a wait. We had plated the salads and desserts ahead of time so all I had to do is bring them out of the walk-in fridge, leaving me free to deal with the orders coming in from other tables.

I will toot my own horn and say I was awesome tonight. I was dancing. I kept up with the non-stop orders never dropping the ball. My plates were never late in the window, always up exactly when needed. I did my orders, I helped with the grill, I ran over to the hot side to grab things out of the oven and plate, ran in the back to get more ribs, got them set up, put out another order of starters... I was a one-woman circus and I'm not the only one thinking this. I was "the bomb" as my Chef de Partie said, and later he even relayed to Chef that I gave an extraordinary performance. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Ms. Sous-Chef.

I have Sunday off to recover and that's all I will be doing. Grocery shopping might have to wait although I promised Jen rice krispies treats.

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