Week 4 Internship-Tales of the kitchen

Here are the highlights and I took a few pics as well. (it is long so get comfortable please)

my assignment-

So what did I get stuck doing on Thursday–cleaning the shrimp and watching the lobster. (yeah, as I cleaned the shrimp a lobster stared at me from the plate)
The chef asked me to clean it and then said, well we need it right now. LOL LOL
Business was slow but there was enough going on to keep me busy.

There was the pen issue-cook # two asked to borrow a pen. I am very particular and possessive about my things. So I actually gave him a pen that the chef gave to me in exchange for one he took from me, when I solidified my internship. He took my metal college pen-heavy like a mug, so I was surprised when he just grabbed it from the table.

There was the skeleton crew. For the last few weeks, the eagle/undercover manager/cleaner/go to guy had been saying that it was ridiculous that there were so many people there on a Saturday morning when it was not busy. Mind you, if people are there you have to pay them. That is the beauty of me. I also ate a lot this past week. I tried to sample a tiny bite of all–since eating on the job, except when the time is announced, is no really cool. We also touch food all the time.

There was the order mishap-because it was not busy and with the skeleton crew we were all downstairs taking care of various things. A few tickets came through–one was for a skirt steak, which I can do half but need the cooks to make the meat. Then later there were the 3 salads that came in and then a split order of a milk shake and creme brulee. Well let’s just say that the chef called the priority. Also it let me off the hook a little so I kind of felt bad but really there were essentially 5 orders and all were due 5 minutes ago. Three of us jumped in and handled it. The waitress in the middle of all of this got told what she could so with herself. I apologized later as it was all around me in a way-my fault or not.

On Friday there was the -blondes don’t have more fun moment.
Well apparently one of the bartenders made two mistakes back to back and so the manager guy with the special ears told the other manager to dock it from her pay. He was not having it. She tried to reason with him later, but he won.

On Saturday there was the pressure to get paid–never had I felt such at odds with someone who is forcing money down my throat (forcing money at me sounds nicer- as the chef is a man). At other times we are like buddies. I just have to do my stuff correctly so he does not have a reason to be upset. Oh well I almost got him upset. I was cleaning up and he had not finished his milkshake. The first cook told me, “oh no, that was chef’s.” Man I felt small. I went and got it off of the dishwasher counter and put it back on the prep counter. He muttered in the back “I don’t want it no more.” I was actually laughing. It was like the little brother I never had.

I also got the chance to make the plantain chips using the slicer and the fryer. I used the fryer before to make the banana spring rolls. I made the tortilla chips–correction, I cut up all the tortillas for the first cook to fry them. I also did however make the guacamole. I had some assistance.

Then they started with the Oui Chef nonsense. The chef then took it a step further and called me Chef Roberts. I always show a puzzling face when he does that. Then he asks-what, why you laugh. I only laugh because I am in an atypical restaurant. Believe me when I tell you, in a NYC restaurant the chef never talks to you. It just does not happen–unless of course you are his protege.

I witnessed my first fried ice cream dessert and then my fried cream cheese cake dessert. Frying makes the world go around.

Until next time.
Get out of your comfort zone, make an ass of yourself, make a mistake, own up to it, and make your peace.

Delicatessen Restaurant (NYC)

So on Tuesday I went out to dinner with my sister. We were catching up on job stuff and life stuff. As I have been out the city for a while and I do not usually keep track of the places I pass for future reference we spent a while looking for a place to dine. We also were in an areas where there were few and far between selections of restaurants. We even looked online, but my sister I were unsuccessful.

We passed up pizza, bar food, rice pudding, weird food, expensive food and random food. We finally settled on a place called Delicatessen. It was long and along two walls it was glass. The longest wall had glass garage doors. Alfresco in the summer will be possible with this place. The inside back wall had wood, light in color. The bar was white, like a futuristic scene and then the floor was white and the tables were white. The legs were silver so that broke up the space. The doors/glass was grey. The lights were very dim but enough that you could see the people. It was just relaxing enough that you could lay down on the sofa chair and sleep.

I wanted to eat something but was not sure what I wanted. I wanted something light but then I did not want to order something really fatty. So I ordered the gnocchi with duck confit and mushrooms. I got a side order of French green beans. My sister ordered fries with truffle oil and an order of calamari. My my pasta and duck dish was light and had a simple taste. It was a little on the cold side but okay. My string beans were excellent. I added a little spritz of salt and black pepper but it was cooked to the right tenderness. My sister ate all of her calamari. The fries had Parmesan cheese and some herbs on it. One could definitely taste the truffle oil.

On overall experience, I would say a 5.5. It was okay. Nothing really stood out but it was not horrible. It is on the list of random places to eat when you just cannot find anything else and you don’t want to pay Balthazar prices. 🙂

Upstairs was a normal eating and cocktail bar. Downstairs in the corner was a little pub where the volume was up a few decibels-hence they were stuck in the basement. You could not hear them at all from the restaurant. It was downstairs and to the back, bounded by large walls.

what to do what to do

at the risk of sounding ungrateful i have to complain about something
here we go!!!
So I am immensely bored at work, so much in fact that I am willing to walk away. I was all set to do work and really pass the time away so that I can have my other time to work on my food pursuits. There has also been some funny business at work as well. No training, lack of tasks/work!!

So do I take a food job or try to find a corporate food industry position-which is more exciting and more in line with my goals?? Do I take a second pay cut and work more hours-being overrun with kitchen experience? or Do I spend months looking for a computer job and wait this thing out for as long as it takes? I am supposed to work in a certain area and replace a colleague but no information has been forthcoming on that front which worries me. Three months is a long time. I could be speaking Kindergarten Spanish by now, using rosetta stone.

So until they tell me, I am busily seeking out food work. I try to do all: read, follow blogs, collect recipes (funny thing is I do not necessarily read them).

Ciao,

Week 3 Externship-Take on the heat.

Burned croutons-so I was multi tasking and well I totally forgot the bread in the oven. Then I saw the trail of smoke rising from the tray as one of the guys took it out of the oven. They panicked like they had never seen a smoking tray. All you have to do it put it in the water and it stops. 🙂

I got a chance to make a turkey wrap on the second try for that day. On the first try I left the bread on the grill. This time there was no need for multitasking. The bread gets lightly warmed first then the items get added.

The minute you go out of the room the register rings in a bunch of orders, so the scramble is on.

I was yelled at for not putting the cakes in the oven/microwave. That was hilarious. I just did not remember.
Later as I was about to leave and was changing in the back room in the basement one of the prep guys walks in–so random. Of all places, what the hell was he doing back there.

Saturday
In the afternoon chef comes with an order, so everyone is running around like mad scrambling to fill the order
I was tasked with making the tuna in the raw. I had shitty tuna though. I cut it up and the white stuff (equivalent of silver skin) was in it. Common sense would tell me that the white stuff is a little hard to eat but I figured that there was enough regular meat that it would be okay. The chef told me that it was crap and he secured a more suitable piece of tuna right out of cook # 1s station. 🙂

Pet Pieve remark
I am still a little weirded out that they have not purchased strawberries. It is so unprofessional to send out grapes with chocolate cake–who does that? I would much rather even send out maybe an orange slice for the contrast in color or send nothing at all. Luckily for us someone did not order strawberries with their dessert.

At the end of my day I left them and I felt like I was leaving them with the work, but I get there, do my work, help out and try to learn as much as I can, so I cannot really feel bad.

No shrimp this week.

I checked out the ribs and saw that though a party guests had left them behind, the management was planning to somehow get the left over ribs to them. Wow that is a lot of effort. Put more effort into making the dishes and purchasing is my advice.

Ciao my foodies.

Salmon Ravioli* and Duck Ravioli*

On my day off I tried making ravioli* using egg roll wraps. I had seen a few recipes using wanton wraps but since I neglected to get them in China town when I was there recently I had to settle for the egg roll wraps I had. This would be my experiment/trial for the week.

Okay so the salmon ones came out okay–I am not so excited about them. The duck ones were great even cold. I made a soy sauce, Teriyaki, scallions, garlic, onions, stock and maple syrup mix to dip it into. I made a sauce for the salmon as well–sun-dried tomatoes, regular tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, ginger, tiny bit of cilantro and some stock. The ravioli* came out more like flat dumplings. They still had the basic shape and you can still do the ricotta etc. I used cream cheese. Next time I will use the Wanton wraps.

Why were the egg roll wraps so hilarious? Well they crumble basically when water (too much) touches them. I wet it so that the sheets could stick together and sometimes I drenched it and it was like a wet tissue. I dropped two into a pot of boiling water. I thought I would try this way first as the recipe I saw had them looking flat but not crisp. So I went to take one out of the water, and well, it fell apart. Part of the excess flat around the edge just began to tear. It was then that I put on the frying pan I had on reserve, as this was a trials day–who knew what and if anything would work.

So I fried them all from then on. Pretty good! I think that at this point they can be mixed together with sauce. I hope they are thick enough and don’t come apart in the sauce. We will try that next time.

Whilst I played with my wraps, my bf made a few batches of Strawberry Basil Lemonade. He enjoys playing in the kitchen as well. 🙂

Ciao for now.

Week 2 externship-Shrimp Fest

Can we say shrimp.

I made coconut shrimp twice in this week.
The first was what I found out later to be the quick method, flour, egg then coconut.
The real way is to make a tempura batter, dip shrimp in flour, then in tempura and then into the coconut flakes.
I must admit that the shrimp smells better than and is easier to clean up than flank steak or chicken (actually I don’t even mind that) What I dislike playing with is fish. What I know I will have to do soon is catfish (maybe not at this place but in the future). Those little buggers look funky. Also dismembering lobsters is not the most soothing of activities. The guys at the restaurant are a little less refined: dirty knives all over the place and they leave the floor a tad grimy for me. It is not that bad it is just that we are so used to the yelling–clean you area, some go to the pot sink, on top of the table, bottom of the table, side of the table. (Chef C.)

In the evening on Friday all I could think was oh my goodness-where have the guys gone. I arrived and they bailed. I began to study the menu and I was lucky that it was not too busy so I was able to get assistance. I have to find a place to put the plates–I am too short and there is not step. One day I may pull down all the dishes, and then I will walk out gracefully.

After work I went to Hagen Daaz and got a Brownie Sundae–I was craving it at work as a few people walked by with is a few times after we prepared it.

On Saturday I cut meat for ribs. At first I thought I was doing it wrong, it was just Chef lending his weight to the situation and pushing the larger knife. I feel more comfortable with a knife that is not the size of my leg, personally.

I also made the sandwiches by myself-well with much guidance from one of the line cooks. Yeah, it was 11 in the morning and an order came in.

So I left tired and was glad that it was a holiday weekend.

Going to get some sleep.

Ciao.

Siena Restaurant , New Rochelle, NY

saw an ad
made a call
my number is out there
spoke to woman
i gave my situation
i did a drive by
restaurant in my town
tan building
tuscan style
yay
a bus ride away
under a bridge
maybe a taxi at night
good things to come

personal cooking to come
menus
events
trials and tribulations

siena-we shall meet
taste the food
location location location

ciao for now

week 1 externship

SO I ARRIVE TO MY INTERNSHIP SITE. I CHANGE IN THE BATHROOM, ONLY PART WAY AS THIS WAS THE ONLY TOILET FOR A BUNCH OF PEOPLE. WHEN I GET MY PANTS AND T-SHIRT ON I GO OUTSIDE TO PUT MY SHOES AND JACKET ON. I LEFT MY BAG OUTSIDE ON THE BENCH AS THERE WERE NO FREE LOCKERS. I GUESS I WAS MORE TRUSTING THAN THE AVERAGE NEW YORKER. I COULD HAVE HAD MY THINGS TAKEN WERE THE CROWD AWARE THAT MY BAG WAS THERE.

SO I GET UP STAIRS AND START ASKING FOR THINGS TO DO. MY FIRST TASK AFTER CHECKING OUT THE NEW FACES WAS TO CUT UP ROASTED RED TOMATOES. I DID THAT FOR ABOUT A HALF AN HOUR-A HALF HOTEL PAN WORTH. THEN THE CHEF GAVE ME A TASK. I WATCHED HIM SMALL DICE THE PINEAPPLES, THEN THE ONIONS, THEN CHOPPED THE SCALLIONS AND FINALLY HE ASKED ME TO DO THE MINT. I GOT TO DO A SECOND BATCH-PINEAPPLE, ONIONS, SCALLIONS, AND MINT. I THOUGH IT WAS JUST A BUSY TASK, BUT IT WAS TO GO WITH THE COCONUT SHRIMP, SO IT WAS NOT JUST A BUSY TASK. (PARTY HORS D’ OEUVRES). ONTO THE NEXT TASK OF JUST GENERAL ASSISTANCE. I WAS HALF AND HALF-HALF IN THE WAY AND HALF HELPFUL.

IT WAS WILD IN THERE. THE NEW GUY (GARDE MANGER) HAD ONLY BEEN THERE 2 DAYS SO HE WAS IN THE SAME PLACE I WAS. THERE WAS AN EVENT GOING ON AND THEY SERVED THIS DISH WHICH WAS PRETTY AND A TAKE ON SUSHI BUT THERE WERE LITTLE TAKERS. IT WAS LIKE A TIMBALE OF AVOCADO, SESAME TUNA AND THEN MANGO, WITH SOME SOY, SESAME AND MANGO SAUCE ON TOP OF THAT. HERE IS THE PROBLEM-THE TIMBALES WERE PUT INSIDE OF A DISH WITH SIDES AND THEN THERE WAS NO SPOON TO EAT IT WITH (SUITS NEVER EAT WITH THEIR FINGERS), AND THEN YOU COULD NOT SEE THE WHOLE APPETIZER AS IT WAS HIDDEN IN THE BOWL. THE FOOD SHOULD FIT THE CROWD. SO LOGISTICS AND THEN THE CROWD MIX MAY NOT HAVE BEEN APPROPRIATE. MOST PEOPLE AT CERTAIN EVENTS ARE JUST INTERESTED IN DRINKING, TALKING AND NETWORKING.

I LEFT AT 9:30PM. I WAS HOT, KIND OF HUNGRY AND THE EXCITEMENT HAD DIED DOWN. I TOPPED IT OFF WITH SOME NON GOURMET FOOD-WHITE CASTLE. THE PLACE I AM EXTERNING IS NOT 100% GOURMET, BUT A NICE PLATE CAN MAKE ANYTHING LOOK NICE. INGREDIENTS AND PREPARATION TECHNIQUES PUT FOODS IN VARIOUS CATEGORIES. TASTE IS MOST IMPORTANT THOUGH.

THE MENU WAS SURF N TURF-LOBSTER TAIL AND FILET MIGNON, CHILEAN SEAS BASS, NY STRIP, AND CHICKEN CARPARIELLIO. PORTIONS WERE HUGE. ON THE SIDE WAS VEGETABLES OR FRIES. THE PORTIONS AS MENTIONED BEFORE ARE SO HUGE. IT IS HARD TO KNOW IF THERE IS PROFIT. IF THE DISHES ARE NOT COSTED RIGHT THEN THERE IS LOSS OF MONEY AND THAT WILL ONLY BE SEEN A FEW MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD.

Friday was a repeat of Thursday. There were more people there on Friday and it was again reminiscent of a club. I watched the guys make salads, and put out desserts. I also watched the cooks do a few dishes. I also made pineapple salsa. The chef advised that I leave my knives at home. I ended up staying a little later as it was Friday aS rushing out would look so bad. However, when I am ready to leave, I make sure that I do it as fast as possible. I left a little before ten pm. I knew I had to be back by nine in the morning.

So I was back before nine in the morning. I waited outside and did not see anyone. I decided to just walk around the back and see if any of the lights were on or if the take-out door was open. I noticed that the kitchen door was open and the roll away fence was cracked open, so I went inside and the cleaner guy was there. I had effectively beat all the staff in and I was even there in the vicinity before them. I changed and took the opportunity to tour the place, all three floors. Some people arrived around 9:30 and then 9:45 and then finally at 10 there were more takers. It is like arriving home and there are no adults to watch you.

I did a bunch of things—clean large shrimp, made brownies (funny story), made meat ready for freezing (vacuum sealing), made garlic bread, made salsa, and helped to prepare dishes. They made a good ham and egg sandwich for lunch—yum.

So it was cool. At the end of the day I met the owner and he threw his weight around and so it is something to think about. I am not sure what I really want to do so I am entertaining all opportunities. I shook his hand and then asked for a second shake for the second proposal. It is quite a ways away so who knows what I would like to do by then. I am still trying to break into the personal cooking business. I will continue to read and refine myself in the mean time. I need to try some stuff. Lets just say that now that they have taken notice, I really need to be on top of my game and be all I can be. 

T out for now–week two looms.