Friday, September 28, 2007

kitchen humor

I may not be the best assistant. But I do try. And I am careful to know what I have on hand. So last night when service was almost over and we were waiting for the last table to finish up, one of the sous chefs was practicing his quenelles, and leaning over to rinse the spoon in the sink between each try. I was cleaning my station and lent him my bain of piping hit water. With the Spoons in it.

The Silver Spoons. The You-Are-Good-As-Dead-If-These-Disappear Silver Spoons. I put the spoons in there before service and I knew there were four of them, amidst an assortment of plain spoons and paring knives. He tries to joke with me about losing them and I tell him it's all him. Who would my boss believe, me or him? The bain makes it back to me a short time later and I'm inspecting it and suddenly there are only two spoons. I ask the sous Where Are My Spoons? Where Did They Go?

He feigns innocence. I Need Those Spoons, I say. Otherwise You're Replacing Them. One is stashed in his chef coat and he gives that up easily enough, but then there are three spoons. He tells me I lost one, or that my coworker took one back to the station. There Were Four When I Gave It To You, I am insistent.

I am about to jump on him. Pummel, bite, try to wrestle six feet of man to the ground. But we're in an open kitchen and there are diners about. Still I know there's fury written all over my face.

I clean and wrap my stock. What am I going to say if the spoon doesn't turn up? Am I a hundred percent sure my coworker did not take the spoon? No, but I can't leave the station.

The last desserts are fired, and when I am cleaning up my station I see there are once again four Silver Spoons in the bain. I am saved.

It's only on the way home that I remember what Anthony Bourdain has to say about situations like this...too late, but I need to remember it for next time, how to react to the special brand of kitchen humor.

Work today was like banging my head against a wall. My electricity kept shorting, so I'd be whipping whites and power. Trying to boil milk for pastry cream and it would short out twice. Everything took about three times as long as it should have. My manager sent my coworker to buy a new power strip, but the cord was too short and of course, no extension cord. But it all got done, if ever so slowly. My manager wants me to do a rice pudding, which is just one more thing to go on the burner amidst the pastry cream, poaching Hosui and Warren pears, making custard base...

you know, I don't think I've actually ever *eaten* rice pudding before {aside from the risotto tart filling}. Nevermind made any.

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