Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Regrouping and Reorganizing

When I popped in yesterday to watch Chef do his cheesecake and maybe learn to make it myself I found that I was not the only person to show up at work on their day off. The Sous Chef was there already and him and Chef were hard at work moving the shelves, tables and appliances around.

The three of us were trying to learn from Monday's experience whatever we could. Making sure you have stuff at your fingertips is crucial in making dinner service work smoothly. The less you have to move away from your line, the less you have bend down to the fridge and shove containers around looking for what you need, the quicker it will be for you to put out the food. A few seconds count because they add up and you bring everyone else down with you. If the guy putting out the starter is behind, that means the entree sits in the window for too long and it gets cold. The opposite is also true where the appetizer goes out too fast and the diners have too long a wait between the app and their main. Making it all work tickety-boo takes a lot of practice and communication between the cooks.

So there we were, organizing the salad station and the hot station, deciding what foods can be sped up in any way (for example, let's not put the flatbread on the grill, or in the oven to crisp it up, let's try the panini press); let's have a bain-marie going and have two of the sides in there so that whoever is working the hot side has two things off his plate so to speak. Also, let's portion out wings and keep them on line so we don't have to count wings when we get the order, they're already counted. Pasta -- let's start portioning that too and keep it on the line so you don't have to run around in the back fridge looking for it in containers and grabbing at it with your hands.

Two hours later the kitchen looks more organized and the two of them feel that they are ready to repeat Monday, with improved results. I am still not ready for another Monday but maybe in a week I'll feel differently about it.

As for dinner, turns out I wasn't needed so I stayed home. I'm also home today. Should probably try to stop thinking about work so much seeing how I'll be spending the next five evenings there.

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