Archive for June, 2011

The Ranks Of Humans

I know I should probably stop with all the weird Dune references; I’m not anything like Paul and Avec is not Arrakis or anything. But working on the line is definitely like a trial by fire and sometimes your brain does the whole nerve-induction thing when you get burned or you’re hungry. So excuse me if I keep at it with the gom jabbar references.

That said, last night I was nervous about my being on Station 3, but Monday night, I did really well! Elliot said I did a great job! I may or may not have a tad overcooked some smaller pieces of foie, but at this point, it’s too late to worry about that. I’m just elated that I pushed out food quickly and they all looked really nice. Elliot went “Ooh!” when he saw a plate of softshell crab I put out and also praised one of my foie dishes that looked really nice. Yay!!

Tuesday I work 3 again. KO is supposed to be on 2, which worries me slightly. Lately he’s been one of my lesser favorite coworkers because I’ve been getting this odd feeling that he doesn’t like me much, or he’s annoyed by me. Perhaps I’m just paranoid and imagining things, or I just happen to catch him at bad times. Whatever it is, I don’t trust him as much as I do Elliot.

Here’s hoping Tuesday is just as good as Monday was, and I do so well that KO can’t reproach me on anything. Fingers crossed!

My Hand In The Fire

Saturday was supposed to be my day off but around 4pm I checked my phone and saw a text from Elliot sent an hour earlier asking me if I could come in. “Henry is fucked,” it said. Uh oh…. I called him back to make sure he still wanted me to come in (yes) and after checking bus tracker, ran out my house.

Apparently Henry had pulled his back and said he needed to go the hospital.
Me: Huh?! Was he carrying wood?
Elliot: No. He was just turning.*Mimics turning motion*
Me: …. =__= *facepalm*

Henry is not going to make it. Not at this rate, at least. It makes me remember what Armanzo said last Wednesday when Henry worked 1, that he thought Henry told him he might quit. I always want to give people a chance, but Henry, GET THY ACT TOGETHER.
Oh well, it gave me a chance to get back on 1, teehee! Tess saw me and said, “Killin’ it, Betty! I love that smile!” because I was grinning. The guys can say what they want about loving 2 and 3 but 1 is so gosh-darn comforting. Cooking dates and shoulder are so comforting. Ahhh, so happy ❤

We had a stage that day. His name was Neal and apparently he knew Tess and Dylan and our barback Justin (from different areas of his life) which was weird. He gave me a weird vibe, but that could just be me. Honestly, he kind of looked like a rapist to me, not that I know what a rapist looks like. I'm saying, he gave me weird vibes and I don't want to see him hired. I didn't see how he worked in the initial stage prep stage, but later that evening when I went to get octopus for the octopus salad, I saw the way the octo had been cut and I could see who initialed the tape when they labeled it… I do not like Neal the Stage. If you can't cut something has simple as cooked octopus correctly, I wouldn't even want to let you touch a pan of dates. Hmph! (Koren would say I'm being too meticulous about this, but come on!! If you can't do simple tasks adequately, what does that say about you?)

The night was steady but not too crazy, owing to the Taste of Chicago and probably the Pride Parade on Sunday. Next week, Elliot tells me I'll be working six days out of the week. I'm probably going to be bone tired, but at least I'll have a helluva lot of overtime. Yay.

Also: after work while Elliot and I were waiting for a cab, server Sontra came out for a smoke and after telling us about her art show, she later turned to me and told me how fabulous I looked. Apparently it looked like I'd lost "a zillion pounds!" which, though flattering, left me feeling vaguely insulted. I mean, I know I'm chubby and I have lost about 10 lbs since last Halloween, but she made me feel like I used to be as big as a whale and now I'd slimmed down into a deer or something. This, coming from a woman who was, that night, wearing something that looked like a burlap sack with arm-holes cut into it. The only reasons I look so "good" is because I got a haircut with bangs to hide some of my fat face. That and I've not been eating. When you're on the line, you don't exactly get a dinner break. You're constantly working and sweating your way through dinner hour and I guess that kind of, sort of is a workout. The only thing I do consume on the line (besides tasting the food I'm preparing) is water. Not the best diet, not that it should even be counted as a "diet". I'm just mildly miffed that this huge deal was made over me by someone who didn't know me and made me feel like previously I was so awful looking. Lady, this is why I'm probably not going to attend your art show.

Someone Else’s Expense

Breakthrough! I did well on Station 3, and whether this will be a continuing trend or it’s short-lived (fingers crossed it’s not), I did it! I got it to work for me and no one yelled at me to hurry up. And I didn’t burn anything. (Though I did accidentally sell some undercooked fish…. Damn!)
Unfortunately, my success was due to someone else’s failings. In this case, newest member of the Avec family (whose name I’ve changed): Henry. He was on the schedule to prep tonight, but our other newest family member, Mike (also a name-change), got sick and left early, and so Henry filled in.

Apparently Henry didn’t do so well on the line. He lagged so much that he took Armanzo (who was on 2) down with him. Sometime around 10:30pm, I got switched to station 1 while Henry went downstairs and the station was a mess. Our food runner, Marcus, told me that things did not go well on that station, with Henry running really late on dates (up to 30 minutes… yeesh…) or burning them (I saw a couple of hidden cazuelas of burnt dates. Oy vey.) while they were in the pan.

I want to give Henry the benefit of the doubt. When I first started on 1, I was just as bad. And when I’m frazzled and I don’t understand the organization of a station (in fact, Station 3 on Tuesday night immediately comes to mind), I work sloppily too. But something tells me all is not right, besides the story that Marcus tells about how Henry did just as badly last week. I can’t put my finger on it, and I’d love to be completely wrong, but I get the feeling that Henry’s just a huge dumb guy who might not make it. I’ve seen the way he preps and sometimes I feel like he’s not there altogether. He’s cordial and seems good natured, but it’s all in the details and I think he’s not grasping them.

Still, as I write this, I hope he’ll persevere and make it. If not, I guess I’ll be in for another good night. Even with my moderately good success on 3, I was really happy to be on 1 when I got switched out for about 20 minutes 🙂

It Must Be Burning

Worked Station 3 again. To be brief, it sucked. There was not one moment in which I didn’t want to kill myself. I mean, I’m not going to actually kill myself, cos that’s stupid, but I wished a lot for the ordeal to be over, or that the kitchen gods would put me out of my misery. My prayers went unanswered 😦

Things that went wrong (though I want to be facetious and say “everything”):
– I burned a pot of red wine that had been reducing. It started out as a box of wine. *facepalm*
– I burned a lot of bone marrow, because I got my steak timing wrong.
– I just can’t seem to get the seasoning on oatmeal “risotto” right yet.
– I took so long getting a cheese course out, the guests cancelled it. *FACEPALM*
– I’m so out of sync at station 3 that I start to work really sloppy. I hate being a slob. It just brings out the worst in me.
– At one point, I was so frazzled, I snapped at Koren with a “Don’t talk to me!”, which is my go-to frazzled response. I was rewarded with an ice-stare back. Me and my stupid mouth.

I wish I could say I got better later in the evening, but I just seemed to always be one step behind. Well, I did put out some desserts in good time…. like at the end toward closing time. Right…..
Matt Poli, who is Chef Ryan Poli’s brother, who’s working at the Publican right now, came in and had dinner. They sat at the Chef’s Table (right in front of me), but luckily, they ordered all their food off station 1. THANK GODS.

Actually, before I sign off, I would like to say that there was one bright spot in the night. A couple sitting at the Chef’s Table who ordered salmon off me told me it was amazing. YAY!!!
I work 3 again. Oh joy.

Short Lament

Worked on 1 tonight. There was a stage. How is it that of all times, Chef Bill Kim and his wife come in to eat and get stuff off my station AND I COULD NOT MAKE THEIR FOOD?!?!?!?! Usually when there’s a PPX (basically a VVIP), I don’t recognize who it is. Oh, Ryan Poli’s in the house? Hungry Hound’s Steve Dolinsky? Sepia’s owner? I don’t recognize them until the food’s out. But this time, I looked up, and was like, “Holy–! It’s Bill Kim!” and he ordered an octopus salad and because the stage was on the line, I couldn’t make it. *sob*

I just wanted to get this off my chest. I have Station 3 reports on the backburner, but I’ll get to them when I can. I’m just a little preoccupied *coughcoughlazycoughcough* right now.

Training Wheels

My first day training on station 3. I mostly watched Armanzo as he would do things and explain. More training tomorrow, but with KO as my guide.

I’m nervous. Like how station 1 made me nervous. But I feel even more nervous because Station 3 is like a different world compared to 1. Urgh…. ;_;

Elliot says the key is just to be organized. KO says to know the cheeses. Organization. Cheeses. Focus.

I have to think about this some more. For now, I’m headed to bed.