Kitchen Slave – Week 4 & a paycheck

I woke up Sunday morning earlier than my usual 11 am – on purpose.  My weekend hours are limited these days and I’d prefer to feel that at least some of my Sunday is my own.  I managed French-pressed coffee on the patio, a brisk walk around the neighborhood, breakfast and a 30-minute workout (my thighs are on fire today).  Then, I began my slow march to the restaurant.

My head, my stomach and every limb on my body would prefer to stay home and relax the day away.  I don’t need the money nor am I being forced to work.  I don my chef’s whites, sharpen my knives and sweat through my Sunday because I need experience.  It’s a multi-part process – and Culinary School was merely the first step.  I need to tough it out and learn how this cooking thing works in the real world. 

My sous chef teacher is a mere 21 years old – and not much of a teacher.  I think working in a kitchen requires an ego – and each chef and cook has a large one.  It’s amazing cooks and egos can all fit behind the hot line.  They’re condescending with confident male machismo – I wilt a bit around them.  Their egos give mine a good beating.  The servers, in contrast, are gum-chomping, fluffheaded bitches.  They’ve convinced themselves they could work the kitchen – they just prefer not to as they might break an acrylic nail.  This was an exchange I had last night:

Server 1:  A customer said the short rib shepherds pie was dry. They didn’t eat it.

Me:  I thought it was a bit dry too. (note: I obviously didn’t make the dish)

Fluffhead Server:   (chomping gum) It was made with short ribs…

Me:  Yes, I know, but usually shepherds pie has gravy with it.

Fluffhead:  (with teenage condescension in her eyes) But it was made with short ribs…

Me:  You can add sauce to the short ribs so it’s more like a real shepherd’s pie.

Fluff: But this was short ribs…

I’m not sure if she was trying to say that short ribs are inherently dry or, because this wasn’t a true shepherd’s pie, it didn’t need to be as moist.  Perhaps during line-up, Big D told her the shepherd’s pie was made with short ribs and this was all she could keep in her fluffhead…

Customer: How’s the shepherd’s pie?

Fluff:  It’s made with short ribs.

Customer: Do you recommend it?

Fluff:  It’s made with short ribs.

Customer:  How large is the portion?

Fluff: It’s made with short ribs.

Customer:   Can I have an order of the shepherd’s pie but without the peas?

Fluff:  It’s made with short ribs.

At the end of the night, Big D gave me my paycheck – $175 for three grueling nights of work.  I just keep telling myself – I need the experience.


2 thoughts on “Kitchen Slave – Week 4 & a paycheck

    • one of the dirty little secrets of the restaurant biz….shortribs were the special earlier in the week. They were not selling well and getting a little, well, aged, so you make shepherds pie and sell it as a new special. Kinda like the “leftover casserole surprise” our mom’s used to make.


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