Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and New Years Eve are the three holidays that every restaurant chef should never expect to have off. So I drug my sleepy, caffiene deprived self out of bed yesterday and went in to help the guys at the restaurant; not because I ever want to be a restaurant chef but because I knew they would be swamped and I wanted to help out. It almost didn't happen, I walked into the kitchen to over hear the pastry chef talking smack about me to the Sous Chef and the little line cook and almost walked back out. I wasn't on the schedule and I was half an hour early so I imagine he thought it would be safe to trash talk. Whatever I have one more week of him and then I don't have to deal with him again.
One valuable lesson I have learned over the course of these five weeks is that you should always have a back up. If you know that you have one third pan of sauteed apples containing about thirty servings and you only have 18 people with reservations you should make more apples. If nothing else you won't have to make them tomorrow. Yesterday I made more apples, I also made more pears, more chocolate sauce, more mousse cakes. I pulled extra ice cream and sorbet from the freezer, and even with all that I wasn't completely ready for the onslaught of 200+ people that walked through the door at noon.
Everyone was in a bad mood before opening. There were a ton of things to do and the grill cook had called chef that morning and said he quit. Chef was rather stoic about it, but then he is rather stoic about most things, the pastry chef on the other hand would just not let it go (big surprise). Between threatening to hunt the guy down and feed him a knuckle sandwich and going on about what a crappy cook he was to begin with there wasn't a moment of silence in the kitchen until we opened. It was reminiscent of a Chihuahua that sees a squirrel outside and insists on barking long after it is gone.
Opening came quickly with waves upon waves of families descending on our normally reserved space with the normal kid noise. There wasn't time to think, there wasn't time to blink or pee or do anything other than cook and plate. Between flipping pancakes and dropping biengnets, running to the cooler for mousse cakes and scooping sorbet I was swamped. I'm kind of impressed with myself though. I didn't need anyone to come to my station and help, in fact I helped with the kids menu with the pancakes. I did manage to break an ice cream scoop (I have no clue how)but I also avoided generally injuring myself in the process of running about like a madwoman. For one of the first times in a long time I didn't feel overwhelmed by the kitchen, this weird sense of calm just came over me and I was the eye of my own pastry hurricane.
In other news, this is my last week at the restaurant, not only will have completed my 180 hours as of today but I found a nice little bakery close to the house and they seem interested in letting me finish my internship there. I'll be doing a lot of cake decorating, which is something I definitely need to learn, and it will be mostly days, something that will allow me to work at night or go to school and get my BA. The chef at the restaurant has asked me to work the same hours as last week since they are now a man down, he's a nice guy despite the general idiocy of his pastry chef and so I'll help him out.