Reality Hasn’t Settled In Yet

Sorry, no post yet. I’m still trying to get my thoughts to settle, as well as finishing the details on my impending move. Hang in there, folks. I haven’t forgotten about you.

Time Is Ticking

Armanzo’s last day is Saturday. Mine is a week after that. Urgh, I’m nervous and my heart is aching. I feel like I’ve come such a long way and now I’m leaving everything I’ve built up to another (younger) generation. (Of course, “younger” is hyperbolic since our newer line cooks are as old/older than me.)

I’m sorry I haven’t kept up with the blog as well as I should have, especially when I could’ve talked about work in relation to the end of my tenure at avec. I’m just really, really lazy >_< I humbly beg for forgiveness!

I worked on Station 3 tonight. Fred was on 2, and new girl Monica was on 1. Fred's coming into his own, but he's still got some stumbling blocks. Who doesn't? I'm not perfect either when I'm on 2, but I'm a lot more confident than I used to be. And I'm not as intimidated as I was when I was first thrown onto the station. THAT day will forever live on infamy in my heart. But I overcame it, and man, am I that much stronger for it.

Speaking of strong, station 3 doesn't even phase me anymore. I don't know if it's just my competence level or they way the tickets were running, but every time I'm on 3 now, I have really easy nights. (So easy, I don't even bother to write about them.) I can't believe I used to have trouble cooking hangar steaks to medium-rare or getting out cheese plates in a timely fashion. I can even easily converse with diners now (if I choose to do so). Working the station has been going so smoothly, I can even help out Station 2, when they're busy, by starting/finishing their fish dishes for them. I've found myself a lot of the time searing Armanzo's and Fred's merluza (aka hake) or flipping salmon and pulling beans off the heat. I know I help Armanzo, but I've definitely saved Fred some Station 2 grief. It's hard enough for a newbie to worry about rolling out (and not burning) focaccia without having to deal with extraneous fish dishes as well.

That said, tonight was a mellow, easy-paced night. Earlier today Fred brought in a quart of jasmine rice, which I cooked off and cooled. Later in the night, Fred and I tag-teamed to prep out ingredients for fried rice for comida/staff meal. It was fun. "Oh you know, it's just a couple of Asians making some fried rice," I joked. We made two kinds, pork and chicken, which turned out AWESOME. Server Giulietta said she doesn't like rice and she couldn't stop eating it. Sontra hardly ever partakes in comida and she actually grabbed a bowl. I'm gonna toot my own horn: it was good. Rice is king! A billion Asians can't be wrong!

I'm back on 2 tomorrow. Fun times. (Famous last words?)

Oh, I'd also like to mention that in the vein of leaving a legacy (to the younger avec generation), Fred (and to a lesser extent, Rachel) have picked up my habit of calling out the order of firing stuff "at leisure". I started saying it because I didn't want the line cooks to feel like they'd have to rush a dish the minute I told them to cook it, and also, it helped me keep courses paced out enough in a timely fashion without me having to eagle-eye ticket times. Hopefully they also carry on my Saturday night tradition of bringing in something/making comida as a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel as well as my bordering-on-OCD love of cutting parchment paper. It warms my heart that in some ways I'll still be around even when I'm gone.

Rising Star

Here I am, chugging along!

Tonight was mellow (except for the time I got a little behind and there was a 30-minute wait for a focaccia) due to the rain. I love the rain! I like it when it’s mellow because then it’s not as taxing on me. I’m hardworking, but I’m also lazy.

New people are coming in as I leave. We’ve got a new addition to the family named Monica. Apparently Paul Kahan recommended her from PQM. She’s not my favorite and she’s still slow, but I guess all in due time. I’m waiting for her to prove me wrong and be a really strong family member. We’ve also got a new intern. His name is Dan, though Sylvester wants so badly to call him “Daniel-san”, and I’m still refer to him as “the intern” since I just met him today. I haven’t seen him work yet but a few minutes after we met, he was about to put a quart of fried leeks into the walk-in, so… yeah. Prove me wrong about you, too, Dan!

A piece of good news: Fred’s moving up the ladder. Not only has he passed his training on 3, and has trained on 2 (actually, he’s working station 2 tomorrow), he’s been made junior sous-chef, right under Rachel. Good for him! Even though Fred has his slow line cook moments, he’s still got a really good head on his shoulders, and he pays attention to detail. He’s also contributed some dishes to the menu, which says a lot about his drive and ambition. In the beginning, Fred didn’t show much in the way of personality, but kind of like an oyster, he’s slowly been opening up more to reveal that there’s more to him. He definitely has his funny moments. I’ll miss him when I’m gone. Is it weird that I see him sort of as a little brother? Maybe it’s because he’s Asian?

Sontra came up to the window and we hashed out some more details about this farewell karaoke party that she wants to do. I found out that it wasn’t her idea in the first place–it was Elliot’s! What the–?!?!
Me: What!? I didn’t think Elliot was a karaoke-kinda person!
Sontra: I didn’t think he was that caring a person.

At first I thought she meant that Elliot was a callous guy or something, and I started to defend him, but she meant that she didn’t know we were close. Actually, i didn’t even know he considered us to be that close. I mean, we took the train together going home and sometimes we shared a cab, and there was that one time we bonded a bit while I helped his girl Nancy paint wall art at a coffee shop (and then we had breakfast), and also that time I invited him to Zanie’s (along with Nancy and Marcus), but really. I didn’t think we were that close. I thought it was me at the bottom, gazing upward at this awesome higher being. I’m seriously touched that he thought of me, even though he doesn’t even work at avec anymore and we haven’t even been in contact except for like, 2 text messages (“When is your last day at avec” and “Where are you going to work in Seattle?”).
Aww, Commander Green! I’m TOTALLY going to draw like, FIFTY squirrel mascots for you to choose from for your new place! (It’s kinda-sorta an inside joke, where his new place will have a squirrel as a mascot.) So far, I’ve only drawn two though >.>;;;

The days are ticking down. Two more weeks….

Excuses, Excuses… And The Presidential Debates

Will people get mad at me if I say I didn’t update the blog because I just didn’t feel like it? Sad but true. Even though I don’t really update all that much, it started to get a bit tiresome and tedious. And I felt like I had to step back for a hot minute after my boyfriend commented that I “complain alot” in my writing. Drat! Is it true? It probably is. When I’m at work and I think about things I’d like to say in entries, I mentally say things like, “Today was lame/Why are people still eating?/I WANNA GO HOOOOME” and the like. If that’s not complaining, I don’t know what is.

But you know what? Whatever. If I can’t write about my harsh rockstar life as a kitchen slave, then maybe I shouldn’t have started the blog in the first place. (Ironically, I intended to write with good intentions and realize now the downward spiral I’ve taken….)

ANYHOOT. Today was really mellow, thanks to the presidential debates. I’m curious as to what was said (and what could be turned into a meme) but mostly, I’m more focused on work now that my last day at avec is approaching. Everyone’s been asking me when my last day is (Nov. 1) and today Sylvester said he’d miss me. Awww! I didn’t know what to say. Even though I’ve worked there for (maybe?) almost 4 years, I feel as though it really hasn’t been that long. Have I really left an indelible mark? And in what way? And more importantly, where can I leave some secret graffiti that can be discovered years after I’m gone but still remembered?

I know I’m not in the top ranks of avec line cooks (Elliot’s definitely there though) but I’m definitely valued (and am probably hovering somewhere in the top middle tier). A couple of days ago, when I was working with Armanzo, I’d commented that he was working with his Asian crew (me and Fred) and he said, “I know. I made it that way. If I’m gonna write the schedules, I might as well work with the people I want.” Awww yay! It’s nice to know that someone likes working with me. And I kinda-sorta suspected already how favored I am because more often than not, I am scheduled off on Sundays, which is unofficially the worst day to work (though lately not as bad since we have newcomer/old pro Linda to help us open now). It’s nice to know someone’s looking out for me like that.

Speaking of Armanzo, his last day is fast approaching as well. He’d told me he was leaving months ago, but asked me not to talk about it. I think we all know now even if he hasn’t really said anything officially (like a sit-down meeting) but he’s mentioned his upcoming project (a salumi company) more than once so it’s not like he’s never talked about it.
Hostess Rebecca and Server Sontra have both mentioned farewell parties including karaoke, which touches me. I love karaoke! Whether this happens or not, it’s the thought that counts.

It’s getting late and I work on 2 tomorrow. I’m sorry I’ve posted such a lame return to blogging, but it’s the joy of the mundane that keeps me coming back.

Gone Fishing

sniffle sniffle say it isn’t so!

Sorry dear friends, the Kitchen & the Egg will be on a bit of a hiatus until I get over my writer’s block. See you in a little bit.

Better Things To Do

Oh lawd. Tonight’s Sunday service sucked a big dick.
I know it’s all Labor Day and all, but really, people: howzabout you stay home and do some grilling and shit?

It was already a bad start when there were people waiting outside (and some even peering in) before we were open. I hate that. Don’t you people have better things to do than to dine at 3:30pm like a bunch of geriatrics?
And then the initial rush ended, but it was only the calm before the storm that was official dinner hour that didn’t let up until midnight. Holy crap. I didn’t even know the kitchen was supposed to be closed until Ruth mentioned making Richard (our goofy-lovable apprentice and goodnatured Sunday dishwasher) dinner and then I looked at a ticket and it was 11:58pm. What the….

As bad as it was for me for a while, Ruth had it way worse. She was getting killed and I couldn’t really help her. It was mostly pastas and sweetbreads that were bogging her down. I felt so bad every time I had to tell her to fire multiple pastas at a time. That’s the stuff that chips away at your morale: that feeling of “Didn’t I already do that” coupled with the overwhelming inner wail of “Why isn’t this over yet?” I’m pretty sure those who have paid attention have heard me singing on multiple occasions “Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop, make it stop now!”

On my side, I had multiple focaccia pickups that always had salmon dishes in between tickets so that it was always one or the other. Salmon is such a quick pickup that I can’t just make two focaccia and have it be all hunkydory. I have just enough time to roll a focaccia and throw it in the oven, slap a fish on the plancha, peek at the focaccia, turn it, flip the fish, wait a couple seconds and take it off the heat and brush it with a glaze, before I pull out the focaccia to cut in half. And then I plate the fish and finish the focaccia. It’s a pain. On top of which there are other little, easy-pickup dishes on my station. But they require me to stop what I’m doing to do them.
I’m gonna stop complaining. I didn’t have it as bad as Ruth did. By the time service was “winding down” (it never really did), she was unabashedly (and almost comically) bitter, especially about pasta. Trying to plate some cheese in the middle of fish, pasta, and ribeye pickups must’ve been hell….

Oh gahd. I work 3 Monday night. This is going to be a shitshow….

Sweet Sweat

Maybe it’s because I’ve been away from work for a week, or maybe it’s because I took my regular pants home and was wearing my other chef pants that had thicker fabric, but I was sweating like a muthafucka tonight. It was a little annoying at first but in the end I was glad I was able to work up such a sweat working. Huzzah for sweating!

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