Thursday, June 9, 2011

Back in the Kitchen

It's been a while since I posted anything on here. It's definitely been a strange few weeks.

I started at Hawksworth a few weeks ago, and it was incredibly exciting. Every day, I was learning something new, tasting delicious food, and just soaking in everything about opening a restaurant. The days were really long, and I would come home exhausted, but really happy.

I was working nights for the first two weeks, and I eventually got assigned to be the assistant for the hot appetizer station at dinner. There was some great food on that station, like scallops in house-made XO sauce and sweetbreads cooked in bacon fat and maple syrup, so I was looking forward to learning all those dishes. But somehow things would never quite work out and I would end up helping with some other job or station, so it was a little bit frustrating at times, feeling like I wasn't really learning the station I was assigned to and thus not really feeling like I was doing a good job.

I was still really enjoying the whole experience, until the second night of soft openings when Chef Hawksworth talked to me and told me that I was going to not be working for a few weeks. I had been assigned to be one of the breakfast cooks and to save on labour costs, the restaurant wasn't going to serve breakfast until closer to the hotel opening, scheduled for some point later in the summer. It was a bit of a blow. I had always kind of expected to be assigned to breakfast, but I had gotten so used to working at night and with the team at night, who are pretty amazing cooks, and the prospect of not working for a few weeks had me a little disappointed.

It ended up working out not so badly. I worked a number of Canucks playoff games, which are always a lot of fun, and I went to bartending school on my days off, which was something I had been thinking about doing anyway. I also got more used to the idea of breakfast and the perks that went along with that - getting my own station instead of being someone's assistant and thus getting to actually cook instead of doing prep all day, and also getting to enjoy the summer at little bit since I'd be done work in the early afternoon.

So yesterday was my first day back in the Hawksworth kitchen after three and a half weeks away. It felt really good to be back. And things are pretty exciting - we're learning the breakfast menu and experimenting with new recipes. It also feels good to actually be working. It's strange how different life is when you don't have a job - free time is great, but having less of it makes you appreciate it more I guess. The only downside is starting work at 5am. I am definitely not used to that yet. I probably won't really ever be used to it.

We have our first brunch service this weekend, nothing next week, brunch again next weekend, and then we are open for breakfast every day starting next Monday. I'm looking forward to all of it.

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