I'm back on the line. And I'm getting into a rhythm. I'm beginning to pick up momentum. Everyday is a push. But I'm getting better, all the time.
I just need to remember to relax, because if I get too stressed, it will show up on the plates.
One little blurb from this past Friday night puts everything in perspective. I was working cold side, we were pretty busy, but everything was going smoothly. Myself and the rest of the cooks were pushing out bomb food. Chef Tory was working the pass, so everyone was on edge. We don't want to disappoint him.
Sous Chef Mike's parents were in for dinner, and I was putting up a tomato plate for their table. The tomato plate is basically several different heirloom tomatoes sliced to order, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, garnished with pickled red onion, sliced mousemelons (they look like grape sized watermelons, but taste like sour cucumbers), crispy bread shards, torn basil, warm olive oil poached wild cherry tomatoes, and is garnished table side with a bit of sarvecchio foam (sarvecchio is a wisconsin made parmesan cheese). Its a great dish, simple clean flavors. Tory calls me to the pass, says the plate needs a little bit more sliced mousemelon. I walk back to my station, quickly slice a few more, hand them to him and as I do, he laughs and says, "Can you believe we do this? We slice fucking mousemelons for a living!" and he handed me more tickets. I turned my back to him and faced my rail and shouted back, "Just livin' the dream chef!" with a smile on my face. Thing was, I wasn't kidding. Neither was he.
Most people who I grew up with are currently studying things like medicine, accounting, journalism, law... all things that seem very practical in the real world. I come in to work every day and get paid to do things like make fresh pasta; clean and cook lobster mushrooms (wild mushrooms that are bright orange like cooked lobster and have the texture of lobster claw meat when cooked); dice watermelon, remove all the seeds, and compress it with kim chi liquid, soy, sesame oil, korean chili, and fish sauce; I brine and confit beef tongue, then slice it and dredge it in egg whites and a mixture of rice flour and corn starch. It's not a normal profession by any means, but I'm not a normal person. Far from it.