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An Initiation of Sorts

Last night was my first night alone on the hot line in a restaurant kitchen. It didn't quite go down the way I would have liked.

Realistically, I'm still in training. I've learned all the components on the plates, and how to make most of those components, but up until last night, I've only cooked two dishes on my station from start to finish. Most of last week was a special menu, so I haven't had that much exposure to the regular menu. But a guy called in sick on the grill station, which is right next to my station, saute. Saute works closely with the grill anyway, so the guy who was training me was supposed to slide over to grill to fill the vacancy, and help me stay on top of it.

But basically, they threw me to the lions. It was a Saturday night, and there were about 160 covers on the books, and I'm guessing it ended up pretty close to 200. They guy who was supposed to work with me pretty much just hung out on the grill and watched me go down in flames. Then when it was clear that I was in the weeds, they called in some help, but mostly they helped out on grill. But he still found time to give me a hard time throughout the night when I didn't have his sauce ready on time or I made too much sauce for 4 orders, or didn't hand over the proteins (fish, scallops, lamb) as they are ordered, in preparation for them to be grilled.

I got all my food out, albeit slowly. Nothing came back. For not having actually cooked most of those plates before, I did okay. I'm still standing. Chef made a few comments during the night, like, "Reduce your sauces more" and some similar comments.

At the end of the night, I got more constructive criticism. "The _____ should be very crispy. Your plates need to be neater."

I would have preferred more practice on slower nights to really get my shit together. I had imagined my first Saturday going a lot smoother than that. But under the circumstances, I'm just happy that I made it through the night.


Perhaps a bit of hazing? It sounds like you got through it really well and most likely earned a lot of respect. Nothing like being thrown overboard and learning to swim, is there? :-P

Nope, nothing quite like it. You're probably right about the hazing. I'm getting it slowly - I figured out how to get that dish really crispy, and my sauces are pretty decent.

Actually it doesn't sound bad at all. They didn't cuss at you or scream so sounds like you're doing just fine. You can only do your best, and sounds from your description that they recognize that.

Don't worry, if I know you, you'll be up to speed in no time.

Sounds like you're holding up very well! I'm sure you're busy getting acclimated, but will look forward to more posts on BOH life. =)

Thanks! I'm still standing. For a while there, I felt like I might not ever be fast enough, but it's getting a little better.

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