Today is my day off... sort of...
While at work yesterday, I was thinking about how I was gonna be able to catch up on sleep, find a new apartment, and just sit around and be lazy... I was excited. I was changing out of my whites in the locker room after work when Sous Chef Pete asked me if I had any "big plans" for my day off. I told him I had to find a new apartment, and he said "Great, so I can pencil you in for a morning shift then right?" I nodded my head and smiled. Like a good intern.
I got home at 1 30 in the morning, and my usual after work rush had kicked in, so I laid in bed until 3... knowing I was in for fun in the morning. I woke up at 6 45, jumped in the shower and set off for work... my 7 30 start time a non negotiable even on my "day off". I walked downstairs to the L'Etoile kitchen, where the bakers were still baking pies and kneading dough, and cleaned a bus tub of shrimp, and then finished all the veg prep for the guys at Graze, our sister restaurant. 12 o'clock, the end of my shift, rolled around and I darted out of the building.
I'm always busy these days... always. The guys at L'Etoile are screaming for me that they're out of this or out of that and that they need me to prep more, on the fly. And at the same time, the understaffed new restaurant upstairs started service and they have none of their veg prep finished. Or they're not gonna have any chicken in the morning and they need me to break down 30 and brine them so that they can be breaded first thing in the morning for the chicken and waffles. Or, they have to start smoking kielbasa by ten in order to get out of the kitchen before 1 am and they dont have any cased, and it's 9 15. I'm not complaining... I love making sausage, and I love butchering chickens, but most importantly, I feel like I'm absolutely needed at the restaurant at this point in time. I feel like if I weren't there, everything would come crashing down, and I like that feeling. All the cooks have a day off, but the fact that of all people, they need me to come in on my day off just to help make sure BOTH restaurants are open on time... its a bit of a confidence booster.
Chef Chris, the guy at Graze, keeps trying to lure me away from L'Etoile. He says things like, "Mikey you know you'd be working the line full time if you were up here, just come work for me." He's partly joking but at the same time, he is always trying to bribe me to come work for him. If I case 30 pounds of kielbasa for him, he slips me a pulled pork sandwich when I come upstairs to grab something from the walk in. If I break down chickens for him hell slip me a piece of fried chicken and a basket of fries right before I head to the locker room to change.
The guys at L'Etoile, know that whatever I'm doing upstairs is simply orders from my boss, and owner of both restaurants, Chef Tory, but they don't necessarily like it. This is what the first hour of service was like for me on Wednesday, Bryan used all of the gallon and a half of freshly cut corn niblets I gave him this morning for his corn chowder, but still needs a quart more for garnish, and Ed is running low because the Halibut is selling like crazy and Ryan needs Lions Mane Mushrooms cleaned and sauteed on the fly because he has orders to fill. All at the same time, I'm working upstairs trying my hardest to clean and cut and blanch carrots, green beans, baby summer squash, radishes, cucumbers, and collard greens in fifteen minutes before the restaurant opens and my water hasn't even come to a boil. I got it all done in time, but I gained a few gray hairs in the process.
They appreciate me, but with time my responsibilities will grow in both restaurants, I have to pick up more speed otherwise something I can't control is going to happen and the shits gonna hit the fan and I'll only be able to sit and watch as everything crashes around me. I can see it coming, these are basically two brand new restaurants, and I am kind of the glue that holds this ship together. At least thats the way I like to see it.
Now off to nap and get ready for the full blitz on Friday and Saturday... I'm ready.