Sunday, October 11, 2009

Starches, suds, and snacks...oh my!

I am excited to report that my first day with my PT job was a success!! What an exciting and adventurous way to start out my new career path! I had so much fun and I have already learned a few tips from the chef, who I will refer to as 'Boss Lady' until I come up with something better.

I arrived at 4pm (actually about 10 min early. Yea, that shocks me too, lol.) and "punched in". After taking a small tour of the place, and a quick "lesson" on dish washing and sanitizing, I put on an apron and got to work. My first "job" was to peel and cut up potatoes. With this task, I learned that if you keep potatoes in water after peeling, and again after chopping up, they will not turn brown. The water also washes the starch off, which is great for non-sticky mashed potatoes.

After the potatoes, I made several little garlic butter dollops on baking sheets and placed them in the freezer for later use. The Boss Lady uses them while cooking, as they are the perfect size to saute one serving of veggies. The butter mixture was made previously in a Cuisinart, I loaded into a pastry bag, lined the baking sheets with parchment paper, and dolluped away. Lesson learned with this activity: use ALL of the contents of the Cuisinart bowl, even if you have to use your fingers. Boss Lady told me that there was too much left over in the container, and that I will definitely need to know this in school. I totally appreciated that tip!

Boss Lady showed me how to tell the "doneness" of a steak. There are parts of your hand that you can feel to compare to rare, med-mare, and medium. Of course, I can't show you on the blog, but on my hand the part below my thumb is rare, the part by my pinky is medium, and the parts between my fingers are med-rare. I actually learned what a rare steak feels like by actually touching one...and YES, my hands were clean. Interesting!

Garshing! Ok, I have to admit, this is one of my favorite things!! ;) To prep for the garnishing, Boss Lady had me pull off 40 geranium buds from the front of the restaurant and rinse them for garnishes. Then, I picked out the "good" cranberries to set aside for the dessert garnishes.

Speaking of desserts, I was SO excited to learn to plate desserts! This was by far the most fun thing of the whole night! I have to admit, I was nervous at first, my first night and I am plating?! I told Boss Lady to 'assume I know nothing' when it comes to cooking, but she obviously was confident in my skills. With the dessert plating, I felt like I had a real part in the customers experience. There were 3 different desserts, a mini apple cake, an apricot cake, and another pastry that was surrounded in icing and had caramel topping, 4 raspberries, and whipped cream. YUM. Each one was plated differently, but all of them had the geranium buds that I picked and a few mint leaves. Half-way through the night, I was given the name "Dessert Lady" by the servers. How cool. I learned that when you plate, you must make sure that every time to plate a specific dish, it MUST look the same as the last time. Consistancy is very important in the restaurant business, a customer expects the same service, and same product each time they come in. GREAT advice!

My main job throughout the night was to wash and sanitize dishes. This needs no description, but I learned the importance of sanitation in a kitchen. And here I thought I was it turns out, I am probably not THAT sanitary at home and that kind of creeped me out.

My job is also to do whatever Boss Lady tells me to do. She's super cool and showed me some cool tips throughout the night and also let me taste some of her creations. The wild rice with cranberries, fish crusted with walnuts, rosemary, etc., and the little apple cake that was a "reject" since the ice cream melted before the server picked it up. Oops. Note to self: pick cold plate from the bottom of the stack for ice cream instead of the hot ones from the dishwasher. Oh, and some kind of tasty pepper, it was red but not a bell, a piece of cheese, and an awesome chocolate espresso cookie. lol. I guess I had several "mini snacks" throughout the night.

It was quite an adventure and the night flew by! Boss Lady must have liked me too, because she asked if I could work an additional night. Woo hoo! This week I will be working 3 nights, including a Friday which should be SUPER busy! The coolest part about Friday is that my cousin is working that night as well. No nepotism here, lol!!

Well, there you have it, Day 1. :)


Candice said...

Sounds great. :)

colfin said...


And love the cooking tips too! Who knew?

jennifer said...

wow, congrats on the new gig! sounds great!