Posts tagged ‘Theo’

Man Of The Hour

Last Tuesday was Elliot’s last night at avec. Even though it was my day off, I made sure to show up that night to see him off. I wasn’t the only one! Armanzo came in earlier that night to eat and bade him farewell. Fred and Theo came in. Ruth, who opened earlier that day, came back that night as well. Adam Walsh, who doesn’t even work here anymore, came in to say his goodbyes. It was totally bittersweet and awesome. Drinks were toasted, pictures were taken, and there was a little bit of dancing (mostly just Master Blaster and Elliot yukking it up).

During a lull in the festivities, I presented Elliot with a thank you/going-away present. It was a (beautiful) Ohishi petty knife that kinda-sorta got him a little verklempt. He looked at it and then he said, “I will pay you back.” “No you will not!” I retorted. The knife was my way of paying him back for all that he’d done for me. I mean, the man stayed after his opener to help me make potstickers for Thanksgiving last year. For that alone, I’m eternally grateful. I hoped the knife would become a tool that would serve him well wherever he went. “Thanks, Betty. I love you,” Elliot said as he looked at the knife. Aww! And then to cut the Hallmark moment, Theo piped in, “That’s a really pretty box [the knife came in].” Hahaha.

Elliot has now achieved Dad status, but in my heart he’ll always be Commander Green, one of the best chefs I’ve had the honor of working with. As of now, he’s totally chillaxin’ in Minnesota with his girl, Nancy (and both of them friend-requested me on facebook! Yay!), and hopefully when he comes back, I’ll get some moccasins. But even if I don’t, I’ll be really happy to see him again.

Good bye, dad!! We love you!!!

All I Want To Do Is Bond

I had a turning-point moment today during my time on Station 2. We went from being relatively quiet to suddenly all these people sitting down and ordering all at the same time. And they mostly wanted stuff from my station and Katie’s. It was all I could do to not scream, “Help! I’m being raped!”
I’m sure a more seasoned pro would have thought nothing of the stream of tickets. But so far I’ve been used to nothing but steady/leisurely services so tonight wasn’t something I’d encountered before. And I got scared. Luckily, Koren was in the window to guide me out of the haze. At the time, though, I thought I was in hell. Later I joked with busser Diego, “I thought I was being punished for all the bad things I’ve done in my life.”
I made it though! Koren was proud of me, though she chided me for my self-deprecating attitude. I’ve also learned it’s okay to throw jobs at people when you’re in the weeds and they’ve got nothing to do. Though at the time my brain was a little too fried to realize this. Sylvester did help me cook off some mackerel, so thank you!

Also of note, I think I sold a record low of 13 focaccia tonight. Yeah!… Waitaminnit…

After work Katie and I headed to Ian’s (even though they call themselves Dimo’s I can’t do it yet) for bonding over pizza. Yay!

Katie says she’ll be seeing some Station 3 training soon. Woot!

What was especially nice about this bonding time was that it was right on the heels of bonding time from the night before. Elliot had worked 3 with Theo, Katie worked 1. And after work we sat around with Liz, who barbacked that night, and talked while drinking rosé.

Yep, that’s Elliot drinking rosé out of a pint container. Like a boss.

Sadly, Elliot’s decided to move his last day up (I’m still kind of upset about it) so Monday night was essentially Katie’s last night working with Elliot. So I coerced him into hanging out with us for a little while. And Elliot’s so nice, he agreed (though for a second I was worried he’d just bike home and not say anything >_>;;). Theo tagged along with us. We decided on breakfast at a diner in his neighborhood called the Golden Apple.

I loved bonding! I can’t say much for the food though. While my pancakes were fine, my eggs and sausage were kind of sad. Elliot had a Reuben sandwich: “On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this a 2.” Theo had a gyro omelette… I don’t even want to know whether any good came of that. Katie had a combo breakfast plate and maybe she got the best of the bunch?

Siiiiiigh, will I never have awesome bonding time like this ever again?


Urgh…. Friday and Saturday were excruciatingly long services. And not because we were slammed. It’s because we WEREN’T and we couldn’t just close up.

I had some not-so-secret hopes that with the NATO thing going on, people would be too uninterested to come out of their homes, and therefore we’d do 87 covers. Mwahaha…. But no such luck. Friday we were still pretty steady during dinner hour, though it died a little later that evening. We did 160 covers. That’s like, a Wednesday night. Except we wouldn’t close for another hour. Sad face.

I remember coming downstairs to get my backups and glanced at the clock, seeing it was a little after midnight. “Huh!? Why aren’t we pulling our proteins?” I unthinkingly blurted, and as I said it I remembered what day it was. WAHH.

Saturday was no different, except that I was watching Theo on Station 1 all night. Service was slow enough that he managed to work the station on his own all night. It was a good thing for him, though he did experience slight difficulties. He came out lucky though. One of his shoulders had cooked too long, but wasn’t scorched. I did notice that when he becomes slightly flustered he becomes curt, which might rub some people (especially food runners) the wrong way.
I’m trying to instill more confidence in his movements. Instead of losing precious seconds hesitantly sprinkling salt and pepper on some pork shoulder, or sprinkling herbs like it’s pixie dust, I’d rather he be decisive and just put that shit in. Boom, done, next. It’s all in muscle memory which he has to develop, but he won’t develop it if he’s constantly grabbing small pinches of everything, and going over it five times.
Other than that, he’s doing fine. He’s got details to work out, but he’s on his way to becoming a functioning date slinger.

I have to admit though, standing on the sidelines and doing nothing is mentally exhausting, when all you can say is variations of “More acid, more salt, mind your dates.”

Other highlights of the night:
– Armanzo came clean about his relationship with hostess Rebecca. I’d known/suspected, but was waiting for Big Bro to say something…
– I’ve seen the new schedule and I work on 2 the first three days this week. Uh oh! Especially since Armanzo will be expo. Um… this might not be good….

Day 2 On 2

Good job, kid. Have a cold one.

Wednesday was my second time working Station 2. Thanks to the slow night (we did 105 covers), I was able to work with relatively no problems. My only missteps? Not checking a ticket which resulted in my firing two dishes too soon. Drat! Sorry Sylvester ._.

Honestly, I was just a little worried I’d freak and whine like last week, but I kept it at a minimum and meant it very jokingly. I’m mostly very glad the kitchen gods smiled on me and let me have a relatively quiet night so I could essentially study what I’ve termed “Station 2 mechanics”, which are the little ins and outs of the station and how I can make them work for me, or what isn’t working and how I can fix it. For example, on Station 1 I keep a tiny cazuela for my chiffed parsley because I don’t want to use the line’s dinnerware. On Station 3, I keep a ninth pan of water in the sink to dip utentils into, especially ones I’ve used to cook brandade or pasta with, because those two dishes have clingy elements (dairy and chopped ramps) that don’t easily wash away with a quick rinse under running water. (Sylvester has actually adopted this practice too. Yay!)

I wish I had watched Elliot more when he was on 2. I took his presence for granted and now I’m just going to have to cobble all my memories together and sift through them and try to make what I can my own. For one thing, the quarter pan for flour and oil is a good idea but something about it is getting in my way. That, or the fact that I’ve got too many freakin’ salad bowls and it costs me too many precious seconds to figure out which is which, despite my trick of leaving one piece of the salad element in the bowl for easy identification. Whatever… still only my second time. (Crutch excuse?)

Speaking of precious seconds, Server Giulietta saw in one of my more disappointing moments during peak dinner hours when I overcooked a flatbread for the anchovy dish and flung it into the garbage. I was a little mad at forgetting the flatbread, that it was too dark to be salvaged (it was a shade too charred or else I’d have rolled with it), and because would it have killed Sylvester to flip my flatbread if it looked like I was somewhat preoccupied?! Maybe I’m disappointed because when I’m on 3, I’ve flipped the flatbread to help out and set it near the Station 2 oven when it was done cooking; I wondered, “Where’s the consideration?” but whatever. I’m sure Sylvester was too preoccupied trying to figure out his own Station Mechanics to flip some flatbread.

I guess I was sweating under all these preconceived expectations of myself. I wanted to work as fast as I could while still churning out quality food, trying not to lag, trying not to falter. Little failures tend to throw me off a bit. I guess it’s really true when Koren says I’m somewhat of a perfectionist.

Anyway, that and the early course firing were the only two missteps of the night. My focaccia and flatbread were relatively good looking. It helped that I had my own mental Elliot yelling in my head, “Work faster! Move your hands and spread that cheese!” though he did have to remind me to mind my flatbread and not to forget brandade crostini. Around 10:30pm Elliot declared, “You’ve got it. I’m going home.” What! I was a little sad to see him go because I like to talk with him when we take the train together, but I was a little happy that he was satisfied with my progress. It was smooth sailing afterward. That is, until around 11:40pm a 6-top came in, ordered a slightly lengthy three-course meal, and I was told that one of the guys (who was kinda tubby, wearing a pageboy cab, and was oddly very red) was a Food Network chef named Beau MacMillan. Not that I gave a fuck. As far as I was concerned, it was late and I wanted to go home. So what did I do? We cooked their courses, I waited three minutes, fired their next course and after sending them out, waited three more minutes and fired the next. I told Giulietta, “If Beau MacMillan thinks I’m rushing his courses, it’s because I am.”

Avec’s Thursday buyout: I wonder how that turned out? I mean, aside from obvious smooth sailing, I wonder if there was any fun anecdotes I’ll hear about?

Who knows if I’ll work 2 next Wednesday, but I saw this week’s schedule and I’m working on 1 this Saturday with Theo. WHOA! It’s been so long since I was a date slinger! Awesome! In actuality, it’ll just be me watching over Theo as he sweats his way through 1 (Said Theo, “Elliot said I need another person to yell at me.”) but still, yay!

Oh, Snap!: Something (Cray)fishy’s Going On…

No time for a full entry! Look at this pretty picture!

I was off Sunday, the day they decided to boil off the crayfish Scottie Wildcard gifted us, so I thought it would all gone and eaten up. But lo and behold, come my Monday opener, I found not only one and half trays of leftover boiled crayfish (I ate one–yummy!) but a shallow hotel pan full of the uncooked ones! So of course I put one on my knee and took a pic of it 😉

Monday’s opener was a little annoying because the plumbers came by to install the new dish machine and they took FOREVER, which cut into everyone’s time. They came in at 11am and didn’t finish til nearly 6pm. Still, not all of it was the plumber’s fault for my opener gone slightly astray. Sometimes there are little easy jobs that take forever and cut into prime opener time. Stuff like de-seeding peppers to char, or slicing a crap ton of leeks for blanching. Times like that I wish I had a twin or a clone or even a stage to help me take care of that piddly shit while I do something more meaningful with my time. You know, like actually cooking. Granted, Intern Theo came in to help, but he was scheduled for 2pm, when I wish I had a noon prep person. Whatever, the help was totally appreciated and welcome regardless.

Looks like the kitchen gods smiled on me a little because for all my hard work (I think they turned a blind eye for the 15 minutes I spent helping Armanzo out with his $5 Bingo scratch-off. I was helping out, not giving in to my Asian gambling habit! >_>;;;) I got to take home those crayfish and had a really awesome dinner. Yay!

I open again Tuesday, and Justin Large, aka Dad is back on Station 2. Woot!

The Man From The West

Phew! Busy night last night. I know because I didn’t get a chance to go to the bathroom for about 8 hours =_=;;;

Ruth worked Station 2 and she did a great job, though there were a couple glitches, not really her fault. For my part, I made a terrible mistake and sold a whole fish somewhere else, and it resulted in someone else waiting half an hour for theirs. Urgh… I’m so sorry >_<
The wave of diners came in a pattern that made Ruth nervous. It was a flurry of tickets and then the board would clear just before the turn. Usually that means another wave of tickets will be coming…. Whether it did or not I really can't remember though I probably just forced myself to forget to deal with the onslaught.

Working the chef's table was a little rough tonight for a while (that whole fish incident not really helping) because we changed the old chitarra dish to a new one more fitting for the spring. It's orchiette with ramps, chicken & liver sausage, fava beans and verjus. It's really tasty, though I'm still fiddling with the taste. It should be light and rich at the same time, and I'm still fumbling around. I'll get it….
It was pretty popular for a good part of the dinner hour and then I feel like when we were at our busiest, I didn't really sell much pasta (not that I'm complaining). I know at least one server (Marcus) who was definitely doing his best to sell the pasta though. Thank you!

Since it was Friday, I was counting on people not to order foie gras, but I was wrong. Grr… cooking foie is not a favorite activity of mine. I feel this pressure all the time not to overcook it, and of course the pressure should be there; it's a really expensive piece of protein. One lobe that weighs a little over a pound and three-quarters costs $150.

Chef Tom Douglas came in tonight and to my dismay, he ordered a quarter piece of foie. I shouldn't hold it against him since he's rolling in the dough and he's a chef and he probably had a hankering for foie, but when it's super busy and the onslaught is going on, the last thing I want to do is cook foie gras. Oh well. I cooked it. I ended up selling the other half that night too.
Anyway: Tom Douglas! I don't know why I find it so weird that he was here that night. Maybe because he was sitting at seat 74 at the bar. It's the next closest seat to station 3 (chef's table is right in front of me), so I could see him so clearly. That might've been it. Or it could be that I'm considering trying to work in one of his restaurants when I move to Seattle (since he has like a bajillion) and having a potential future employer (who doesn't know you by the way) sit so closely and being able to see you work makes you a little self-conscious.

Nothing else of note. Theo worked 1 at the beginning of service and had to be bailed out later on by Fred. Armanzo was expo. Armanzo's dad and his wife came in to eat earlier that day and they loved everything and left us a $5 tip. Hey, every little bit counts! Yay money! Later that night, this woman at the chef's table saw me prepping out the foie, and she kept pronouncing it as "foie gwah" which made me wince ever so slightly. It reminded me of the time I worked at my dad's chinese takeout and some regular kept calling bok choy "boy chuk" no matter how many times I'd gently correct her. Oh well.

Back on 3 tonight with the same lineup (Ruth-2, Theo/Fred-1, Armanzo-expo, Elliot opening). Hopefully it'll be fun times and I get to go to the bathroom more than once :/

Pink Lady Green Juice

Day 2 of NRA Weekend!

Ruth worked station 2, totally rocking it. Like Elliot said, I definitely need to step up my game. So next week, after I open Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be training on 2 Wednesday night. Eep! I’m actually not as mentally frightened as I was last time because this time I asked for the training, as opposed to my elders pointing at me and telling me I’m ready when I wasn’t. There’s a difference! That said, when Wednesday rolls around I’ll be a little nervous of course, but I sure as hell won’t try to run away from it like I did last time….

Today was a little bit of a weird day. Not bad, not great. Not too easy and yet not too hard. It almost felt like I opened, but I didn’t. It helped that our newest hire, Sylvester, was training on 3, and I got to finish a lot of prep downstairs (and supervising stage-turned-intern Theo and return-stage Waldon). At some point later that night, Expo Armanzo (yep, he’s back, despite his bum leg!) had me come upstairs and observe Sylvester and give him pointers. I did, but it’s painful to be one more person hanging out in an already tight spot. Way to go, making me feel fatter than I already am :/

Sylvester works fine, but he needs to be fine-tuned. Years of fine-dining taught him several habits that he needs to break while working at Avec, like arranging steak when he really ought to lay it down and sell it. He also took seemingly forever to cook whitefish and then he’d let it rest for a minute, when again, if it were me, I’d sell the damn thing and get it out of my sight. The way he picks up the octo salad is strange-ish too.
Granted, he’s still new and too many people have already told him things, so my advice was probably just confusing him. I definitely emphasized developing his own preferences that enable him to work more efficiently and faster. Later that night, Armanzo was able to touch base with him more. Armanzo definitely has a way of explaining things that puts things in perspective, whereas I’m better as explaining prep-related technicalities. I feel that I’m too blunt or too vague when it comes to training others on the line, so I’m never confident when I’m asked to “babysit”. It’s like, “What do you mean you’re not telepathic?!…”

Oh well, nothing else to add right now. I should get going to bed since I have to get up to open in about 4 and a half hours. Yeesh…. All I’m looking forward to right now is making some awesome comida for Jorge and Manny with some leftover chicken legs from Sunday night service….

The Young And Ignored

So many things have happened and I haven’t mentioned them. Where do I start?

The most recent to date (and still freshest in my mind) is that a couple days ago, we had a major work related accident: Armanzo had to be taken to the ER after his boning knife went into this thigh. I didn’t see the video footage (unlike server Josh who’s watched it about 10 times and even recorded the footage onto his phone) but the basic points go thusly:

  • It was sometime after 9:30pm.
  • He was butchering lamb meat.
  • He had his knife in his hand.
  • He bumped his knife into his leg.
  • (His knives are known for being sharp as fuck.)
  • There was a lot of blood lost.

Last I heard, he’d just been released from the hospital after an extended stay because the bleeding wouldn’t stop/risk of infection. Speculation that he’ll be away from work for at least 10 days. People have already brought out the “Thanks for ruining the pizza party” and the “He went big and then went home” jokes. As for me, I hope Armanzo recuperates quickly. It sucks when people you know are in pain/discomfort and you can’t do anything about it. That said, goodbye pizza party ;_; I think we’re at 4 days accident-free now….

Next in news is slightly older (I’ve know about this for about a week and a half now), but no less significant: KO will be leaving us in May to be Gilt Bar’s sous chef. I suppose it’s not surprising to me, since KO has gone as far as he can go at Avec; he’s already a frequent Station 2 player and the Avec sous chef position is already filled.
I admit that while I’m happy for him (he’s pursuing his best interests and can recognize when they can be provided elsewhere), I’m more relieved for myself. I respect and admire all my kitchen brothers, but he was never my favorite and I can feel myself always putting up a wall of cordiality in order to get through the day when we work together.


  • Server Christine is going to have a girl, everyone is surprised/delighted, having been swept up in the belief that she and her husband, Builder Dan were going to have a boy. I’m indifferent since I’m not into babies/children anyway. I am intrigued at the thought of an Avec baby, though.
  • Next week’s schedule has intern Theo training on 1 and me training on 2. Good for Theo, Oh Lawd for me….
  • Katie’s down to working 2 days a week and new hire Fred seems to be acclimating well on Station 1. I sense he’s still feeling his way around kitchen dynamics but we’re all like that in the beginning (I was, at least).


 My local animal shelter, Red Door Animal Shelter is having their annual Spring raffle (where the proceeds benefit the animals, natch) and again I’m selling raffle tickets for a dollar each. Through the kindness and generosity of my coworkers, I’ve already raised over $100. I’m hoping to be able to raise $300 but I’m too timid to ask people for money, and I’m not too familiar with our sister restaurants to go asking for donations. I’ll try to make a poster for them though. Knowing Large has got to help for something maybe. I’ll definitely try to shake ask Blackbird though. C’mon big sister, you’re not next door just to look pretty.
And hey, any readers out there? (*echoes*) If you know me and want to buy tickets, come up and let me know. Or, if you’re someone I don’t know and but want to donate to this very good cause, you can go to Red Door’s website and buy tickets online, and they’ll fill them out for you. This will probably be my last year doing this, since I’ll be moving to another state next year, unless Red Door has no problems with my selling tickets in another state…. I better ask them about that 🙂

That’s all for now, folks. The next time I write, I’ll probably be reeling from the nightmare that is Station 2 training. Or maybe I won’t be writing BECAUSE I’ll still be reeling from the nightmare. Who knows?

Oh, Snap!: How Long Has This Been Going On~

No time for a full entry! Look at this pretty picture!

I opened today. It was TOO. FREAKING. LONG.
I worked just about 13 hours I think. What the–?! But I think I managed to cover a lot of prep so that tomorrow wouldn’t be so bad… I hope. Fingers crossed.

I probably would’ve gotten out even later if not for the Knucklehead Brothers (and I mean this affectionately), Richard and Theo. I’ve actually become quite fond of them. Richard is eager to learn and always asks questions, and Theo’s going to be our intern in about a week, so he has no choice but to learn. They helped me out a good deal, and hopefully I gave them good advice and guidance about prepping. Richard rolled pasta today on his own (yay!) and I gave Theo a little tutorial about focaccia doughmaking. Let’s see how much information they’ve retained the next time I ask them to do these tasks….

I got home about an hour ago. I work tomorrow. So it’s off to shower and (hopefully) bed.

I leave you with this picture of what happens when you let me straighten up the walk-in. I just might color coordinate. Haha!

From left to right, we have: piquillo sauce, grapefruit segments, sliced orange on top of sliced persimmons, pickled onions, pistachio puree, eggplant-tahini puree, sunchoke puree, and lemon mascarpone. Mwahaha!

Treating Us Good

I have to make this short because I’m sick and I have to sleep, like NOW, but I just wanted to write a quick post about work.

I’ve been nursing a weird, mutated monster head cold since Thursday and today I wanted to call in and see if KO could cover my shift, y’know, since I covered his when he was sick. But apparently he had family in town and it was a no-go. I pretty much sucked it up and went to work, despite my feeling like crap.
This is one of the rare instances when I feel like I hate my job, when I’m nothing more than a skilled laborer, with seemingly no benefits of any kind. How sucky is that? Maybe a lesser (or smarter?) person would’ve just called in, but like I said, I just had some head cold. If I had the flu, I definitely would’ve called in. But in this instance, I had some weird sense of responsibility to my coworkers since I couldn’t find myself a replacement.

Needless to say, I came into work feeling quite down. And I couldn’t even ask Ruth (who was opening) to work a double because she was getting sick too. Goddamn it!!!!!!! Everything was pissing me off because I just wanted to go home. (I stayed professional and just kept it in. I ain’t no whiny-ass brat.)

I should be grateful for some things, though:
– I was on station 1. If I’d had to work station 3 sick (which I’ve done before), I’d probably would’ve had a little inner breakdown.
– No one ordered chicken until 10pm or so. Because dealing with chicken during dinner rush is an effing bitch.
– Elliot and Armanzo would ask me how I was doing, which to some degree means they care about me.

Okay, okay, they probably do care about me, or else they wouldn’t have sent me home around 12:30am when things definitely died down and stage Theo (yep, he was back… as well as stage Richard, but I didn’t deal with him much) said he could handle the rest. Thank you guys! You are great. Even though I had to work for 8 hours with a leaky nose and sneezing like a fiend, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. They told me to take a cab (which I did) and now, a hot bath and two head cold tablets later, I’m heading off to bed.

Because I have to work tomorrow. And I don’t want to be sicker than I already am.