Friday, October 9, 2009

Opening a Restaurant

I got to work on Monday not knowing what to expect. All I knew was that I wasn't going to be working in Cold Catering.

I headed up to a small kitchen that I later figured out was a temporary kitchen until the new restaurant kitchen opened up. My first task was to make cocktail sauce, so I was going up and down from the temporary kitchen to the regular main kitchen to get my ingredients. I was just about to get started when I found out that we were moving up to the new kitchen.

It was literally brand new. Construction people were actually still working on things when all the kitchen staff moved up there. We brought all our food and stocked the fridges and freezer and just started cooking.

I really had no idea what was going on, so I just tried to do what I was asked, and tried to listen and observe everything. Over the course of the evening, I figured out how the new restaurant was going to work: guests buy tickets for the section and they stay there the whole evening to watch the game, and they get unlimited food while there.

The best part was getting to work with D, the executive chef. He was surprisingly calm, considering all the chaos of opening a new kitchen. B pointed out that I had only been in the industry for two weeks and had already opened a restaurant, which many people who have been working in the industry for years have never done.

My tasks in the kitchen were to fill the cutest mini martini glasses with ceviche and I also made tomato bocconcini salads. It was different from cooking in Cold Catering because everything we made was individual-sized. Around 5pm, D told me I'd be working at an action station, where food is cooked right in front of the guests. Everything was so new that the action stations weren't actually working yet, so all the food was cooked in the kitchen. I basically just had to stand there, answer questions, and make sure the station was always filled with food. It definitely wasn't as exciting as actually cooking, but I did get the feel of what it's like to be a waiter at a restaurant, putting my orders into the kitchen whenever I was getting low on food and serving and interacting with the customers.

Opening a new restaurant is a lot of work and a lot of chaos, but I came home from work in a fantastic high because I think I have finally found what I want to do.

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