Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I miss the kitchen

and when i say kitchen, i mean the line. i miss working on a busy line.
i often watch anthony bourdain's no reservation, i originally fell in love with tony when i read his 2000 book kitchen confidential. i was working in a busy kitchen at the time as a line cook and felt a warm love of recognition with his book. it was my life in a book, and i loved it. i have not worked on a "line" in forever, and i miss it every day. it is not for everyone. i laugh when people say they want to be a "chef", they probably have no stinkin' clue what it is about. you don't know until you have lived it. we have the cooking channel now where a person can dream through the television but there is no reality in it. that is where tony gets things right. he did a special no reservation where he went back to work on a line in NYC. it was so nice to watch and tugged at places in my heart i haven't felt in awhile. there is so much that goes into working in a fast paced kitchen. i remember walking into the quiet restaurant dining room at 2-3pm with my knives. i would wear my kitchen pants, clogs, and a t shirt, hair in a ponytail all pinned back, because i would sweat. i would go to my station and get my mise en place ready. i would have to check the menu for specials to see what extra mise i needed. so, if i was on the saute station i would have to make sure i had things like stock, garlic, butter, parsley, veg, sauces, garnish, the meat not grilled, and other things. i had to make sure i had everything and everything in it's place, hence mise en place. if i did not have everything in hands reach my rhythm would get messed up, food would be messed up, timing messed up, as a result things would be out of whack and the diners would notice. you have all afternoon to get ready for the night, sometimes it took longer and you would be prepping through tickets. i hated slow nights, fun is when we were busy when we had a rush, it's when i got my rush. there is nothing like slinging hot saute pans around, having all your burners full, clean white towels folded up ready for you to get dirty, reach-ins being slammed, food being fired, everything going smooth. it is like a dance with everyone on the line, we moved in perfect unison, everyone doing their part. after a rush when things get calm, i would eat dinner or go outside sit on the laundry bin, chill out with the wind blowing on me, waiting for late diners to come in. oh how i miss it! i traded all that in for mommi-hood. another fast paced stressful job, but a different outcome.

1 comment:

cssolomon said...

Awe how fun! I didn't know you were a line chef. We watch a lot of the food network, but there is no way I could keep up with that kind of profession. It takes an amazing multi-tasker I would think. You should see me in the kitchen...its a lot of "Uhhhh..." and "...maybe I should just add more salt?" LOL. I heard from Valerie you are a great cook!