Tuesday, October 7, 2008

After Glow

As the night started winding down, we moved from plating the salads and appetizers to the desserts and cheese plates.

As it got slower, we could all do a little more chatting. Someone asked me 'So, are you getting paid to do this?'. Umm...no. 'So why are you here doing this? Don't you have anything better to do on a Friday night?' Umm, geez, don't I feel like a loser now?! But seriously? No. I didn't. There was no place else I'd rather be! It's what I look forward to now. I'm really enjoy my time in the kitchen, and also getting to know this amazing team of people.

Anyways, back to desserts. Desserts are actually not as easy to plate as you may think, and I'm sad to say that I didn't plate any desserts. Chef Ian was up there doing many of them, and then Patsy and Jose did the rest of them. Maybe next time? One thing at a time!

Late into the night, I did help Jose by placing the walnuts onto some of the cheese plates. When we were all admiring Jose's work and beautiful plates, I couldn't help but comment, "But don't those walnuts look perfect too?!" Everyone looked at me. Then someone started laughing , "You did that huh?"

I was ready to joke and laugh again. I was starting to relax a little bit. I was back to being my chatty self. Service was almost over, and I had hung in there. I didn't even screw up too bad! I was happy with my first showing.

Over in one corner of the line, the cook working the grill, Jayme, motioned for me to go over there. He was testing out a new dish and he wanted me to try it. It was awesome. A scallop wrapped in bacon and served over a parsnip puree. Yum!! I can't wait for the menu to transition fully into fall and winter!

As we began the clean up process, the team told me I was done. Off the hook. Last table was finishing up and I was free to go. Well shoot. At that point, it was past 11 pm, I just HAD to stay and close up and shut down with everyone else! I had come this far, I was going to finish with everyone else. And isn't part of the learning process all about seeing how they closed up, cleaned up and prepared to do it all again the next day?

So. Just how busy was my first night? We did around 180 covers, and of those, 17 were tasting menus. Pretty good.

If you would have asked me to guess? I would have guessed hundreds. It felt like we put out a ton of stuff! Although on the other hand, time flew by! At one point, I looked down at my watch, and it was already 9:30! I couldn't believe it.

At the end of the day, I had basically worked a 7 hour work day in the office, and then a more than 8 hour day in the kitchen. I'm crazy right? Well, maybe. But I have not smiled that hard or for that long in a really long time. And I have not had to concentrate that much, or actually think that hard in a really long time. At the end of the day, not only was my body tired, but so was my brain.

As we were winding down, a group of cooks and servers started talking about going out for a drink after work. Was I in? You betcha! I needed to come down from my adrenaline high! And I wanted to sit and enjoy that feeling of accomplishment with the rest of the team. I wanted to see what they thought of me and my work. Did I pass? Would I be allowed back?

Now, I know I mentioned the outfit and feeling unattractive at the beginning of service. Well, that was nothing. It even compare to how I felt at the end of it. Not only was I ten times sweatier and dirtier, I smelled like food. And kitchen. And my hair was disgusting having been in a ponytail and stuffed into the hat. And make-up? What make up? But it didn't matter. I was happy. So happy.

We walked outside of the restaurant to find it was pouring rain. The air was fresh and clean. And it was really nice. I took a deep breathe. Perfect.

Now all that was on my mind? Can I come back tomorrow??

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