I wonder if I’m jinxing myself when I say I think I’m getting comfortable on the line now.
I worked Wednesday night with Elliot on 2 and Katie on 3. I didn’t talk much to Katie during service but earlier that day she said that she came into work pretty happy knowing that she’d be working with Elliot and me. I tried to be modest about it (“No, you should be WORRIED that you’ll be on the line with me…”) but inside I was really touched.

And her faith was not misplaced! I think I did really well that night, keeping up a good pace and mostly putting out good food (meaning, the food reached my flavor expectations and looked good on the plate). I say “mostly” because I’m pretty sure I put out a couple of bad sausage dishes. And I’m not going to take the blame for them, because sausages seem to be hard to cook in the wood oven. I tried to do as much as I could to cook them so that the inside was warm without the casing breaking on me, which I considered a big deal. I tried to cook the sausage with the beans and its bean broth (a pain); I tried cooking it in a cold pan so it would heat with the pan; I tried to heat it away from direct heat. It was pretty trial-and-error and I still haven’t come up with a really good solution. The problem is, according to Armanzo (our resident sausage guru/master), the ideal temperature to heat up the sausage is 350° and that oven burns much hotter. Other than that, the night went by relatively smoothly. I even surprised myself how well I kept up with the flow during what seemed like a bit of a push. I know there were times I didn’t hear Elliot announce incoming orders, or I’d mindlessly repeat without hearing what he said (my mouth immediately responds to only five commands: dates, sausage, chicken, shoulder, and loaf lol) but then I would glance at the tickets and get oriented.
I’m surprised (or maybe I shouldn’t be) at how well I adapted. I even achieved my nightly personal goal of being able to sweep down the line several times. Yeah!!
I won’t know until I check the number of covers we did but we did some steady business that night, so… about 130 covers? I’ve been noticing that I work decently around that number. So…what’s going to happen to me if that number goes higher suddenly, especially since the weather has been getting warmer? o_o;;; (There’s a direct correlation with warm weather and how busy Avec gets. As a result, summer is hell. And I’ll most likely be at the helm slinging dates. Oh joy…)

Around 10:30pm I saw a familiar face at the chef’s table (which are the two special seats at the bar that face station 3). It was Greg, a former line cook who moved on to currently working at what will be one of the most highly anticipated restaurants this year, Next. He’s a good guy and I’m glad to see him moving up in his culinary life. It made me happy that he could see me as a line cook and not a prep slave, cos he was one of the many who urged me to try my hand at the line.

Another interesting thing that happened as we were closing down was that one of the guests walked by and talking to me. It started out innocuously enough, with her peering into a wrapped nine-pan and asking me what that stuff was inside (“Those are sliced olives.”) but then she looked at me and asked if I was Chinese. I guess I should mention that she was Asian…or, more precisely, Chinese as well cos when I said yes, she started talking in Mandarin but I had to tell her I didn’t know that dialect so she switched over to Taishanese, which was even WEIRDER, cos that’s MY dialect. Not just plain ole sophisticated Cantonese, but rural southern Cantonese which makes you sound like a hick (except I speak it with an American accent, which makes me sound even worse). She peppered me with questions all the while telling me how great her meal had been: was I born here, did I go to school to learn this stuff, and the most outrageous one of all: was I the owner of this place. HAH!!!! I laughingly replied no and she concluded the conversation with how delicious the food had been. Hmm… I wonder if she ate anything off my station…?

I’m back on prep Friday but I’ll be on the line on Sunday. My first working Sunday!! The weather forecast predicts it’ll be around 80 degrees that day O_O;;; Fun times or living hell…? To be continued!!