Tuesday, March 25, 2008

kitchen lit

I'm almost finished reading Marco Pierre White's The Devil in the Kitchen and I'm really enjoying it. However, for a book whose title promises sex pain AND madness I'm not finding much of any of that. He's got a temper, sure, but in the book he's very quick to explain that the verbal outrage is directed at the act, not the person. Temporary in nature. And, sure, at the time that doesn't make the verbal slap feel any better...but it reads like just another day in some chef's kitchen.

It's strange to say but he seems almost normal to me. He concentrates on describing his effort to achieve 3 michelin stars and picks away at that thorn in our side, consistency. How to achieve the same presentation with 40 diners a night as with 100? How to serve the sort of meals he wants to be serving in a small kitchen?

I remember the first time I read Kitchen Confidential I thought Anthony Bourdain was totally insane plus sexist. No One Really Does That, I was convinced. Now it's another day in the life.

Change and consistency, two sides of a coin. As much as things are supposed to be consistent, there's always change. You have to be ready to work with what you've got even if sometimes it's next to nothing. I made croutons today with a baguette because we were out of olive bread and I sold 2 out of 3 orders of what I had to start with...the flavor and the shape were compromised but something's better than nothing, even as backup. Pastrywise, we're such big planners that we tend to not run out of anything at all, but it's nice to be in touch with the idea of being flexible during service.

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