Monday, January 15, 2007

Day 3 of APCA – First night of Restaurant Service

Well tonight we had our first night of full service. For most of us it was our first time working in what is a restaurant style kitchen. We had a few things to do on our station that we didn’t do last night to ensure freshness. One was to cut the citrus supremes. This where you cut the skin from the oranges, grapefruit etc down to the meat of the fruit. Then you cut in between the layers do give you a slice that no pith or skin on it. Dwayne wanted to do these since it had been a while and he didn’t remember. Ok sounds good. But I can’t get started on the vinaigrette until that is done because I need the left over juice for it. So while he’s doing that I set up our station and get plates ready, spoons and whatever else I think we’ll need. He has one orange done. Time for me to step in. I don’t want to be rude but we have a deadline. I decide to be diplomatic. “Hey Dwayne I know you want to do these, but it’s not fair for you to have to do them all yourself here let me help.” I’m finishing up an orange and he says “Do you want to me to cut the mint?” “Sure! It needs to be chiffonade.” He says ok and starts. Chef calls me over to observe something and when I come back I see the mint in the cup. Chopped up in hunks. Not chiffonade which is very thin strips. I pick up the cup and go to ask chef if we can still use them, because I don’t like to waste food, and she looks it and looks at me and says “No, go do that over you did it wrong.” I smile and say “Well Dwayne did this but I’ll go redo it Chef straight away.” I think she hates me. But that’s ok.

What a night. Chef calls out “10 salads on the fly”. I have no clue what she means, she hasn’t explained the lingo to us. So I call back “10 Salads Chef” and just start making the darn things. Since none of the other students had come in yet I assumed “on the fly” meant get them ready ahead of time. Ok 10 salads are on the line for pick up. The other students start filing in. I look at their faces and their starch white uniform jackets and instantly remember the third day of class when I was in PCA I and came to this same event. Seems like years ago.

But that wonderful dream like euphoria is quickly dashed when the Chef starts with “Order in! 5 pork chops!” “Red – Pick up 5 salads!” Now I’m thinking..sure go ahead…I have 10 up here. Then I pause and rethink this. She knows I have 10 up here. But why wouldn’t she ‘Order-in’ for me. Why pick up? I am clueless so just start making 5 more. Which as soon as I complete she calls it out again. Woman! Just tell me how many you want over all and I’ll make em! I’m so glad I never said that out loud. I really think she would have hurt me if I did. As I said this Chef instructor is a no nonsense instructor.

Plates are going up and out as fast as they were made. I started acting as the front of the house and delivering deserts. My salads were all done and even had a few extra. After I delivered the deserts I came back and checked in with all the stations to make sure no one else needed help or need me to act a runner. I was the only one not busy with a task. Dwayne went over to do dishes. I checked in with the grill station to see if they needed anything. Chef was standing there too and she turned and looked at me and said “no they are fine”….Oooo kkkk. I checked with back prep station, they said they were good. So I went out to the front and started clearing dishes and bringing them back to the wash station. I figured at least I’m not standing around doing nothing. I couldn’t clean much because all the stations were still in use. Chef calls out “Red come back here please” in a tone that was something akin to “do not move or breathe unless I give you permission”…yes Chef. Which puts me at my station standing there. I feel very unproductive, but it’s what she wants. Needless to say I am not feeling any bonding going on. I’m not sure if I’m suppose to, but I always felt at ease with my other instructors.

The night is over and it’s time to start cleaning up. This goes pretty well. Chef calls us over and says “You guy did good.” But in my head I heard “Meh…you did ok.” I’m still more amazed at all of us working together and not killing each other.

Tomorrow we prep for Fridays service. So it will pretty much be, prep/serve and prep/serve. I guess some weeks we’ll have 3 nights of service and others 2 or maybe do a couple of big services that take 2 days prep. Time will tell!

Until Tomorrow!...


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