The Scales Tilt

Photo by Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash

“Hey Chef, can I talk to you before you go?”

The question is posed after another long Saturday with the exhaustion of Thursday and Friday getting to me. I can see he’s dreading the ‘Talk’ that I have coming, because I have had serious talks at the end of his shift, not always good.

“How do you balance home life and chef/restaurant life? Like how do you get your family to understand the lack of balance?”  The question gets a chuckle, rueful at best from Coffeeman as he flips a milk crate over and sits down on our back dock and I plop myself on the stairs. I’m way past tired, ready to cry, per usual, and that’s not having been working over 40 hours; I still have another two to three before I hit that mark. It’s just the overwhelming feeling of all my focus on work. Picking up after people, stressing over prep not getting done, sugar lows that make me hurl dough at a table and stomp off nearly ready to melt into a puddle of tears and snarling. I could be a puddle of vampire teeth. I know, weird analogy. But I’m a weepy, bitey puddle.

I never balance things well. Relationships, work, poetry, writing. I go all in. I thrust myself into the fray and sink my heels in; grasp with sharp talons. Moderation isn’t my best suit. I have a lot of flaws. I cultivate bad habits…. Okay, not totally, but I’m far from the person I present myself at work. I think everyone there thinks I am a certain way, and I’m betting they wouldn’t quite recognize me on my off days or at home or when I’m in a comfortable setting. I’m me at work, but not. Which is why I cultivate the name ‘K’ at work (psst. people, it’s not Kay. It’s just the letter…. lol) K is a focused individual, a little messy, but put together, dedicated to the point of ocd-ness, passionate about her work, what her guests think, what her coworkers think, etc. It can be exhausting. I’m nice to a fault. I’m not as assertive as I need to be, yet. Much more passive.

But at home I am cluttered, distracted, emotional, snarky, tired, always tired, prone to starting too many projects and not finishing them, a reader, a dreamer, a writer. Writer me is rarely visiting work, and when she does, it’s while making a pizza on a slow day when the clouds are forming to the south and I stare out at the fields, meadows, and mountains, writing about Wilson Tennu, or what he should be writing about…

I guess in that way I’m balanced. A balanced wreck, but balanced nonetheless.

“Twenty plus years in the industry, and I still haven’t got it all balanced,” says Coffeeman.

“How do you unwind? I find myself getting off at 11 and awake till three in the morning,” I say.

“I still do that.” His replies help (and don’t help) because I don’t feel like I’m the only one dealing with it. I know he gets it. He has it seven days a week with ordering or being at the restaurant, family life, a wife, kids, a long commute. I have at least the two days off, which he says to be thankful of.

“Don’t drive past this place, (course you get your mail at the post office behind…), don’t think about work. Don’t plan recipes or menus or specials. Do it at the last minute. Do it on the fly. Don’t talk about work. Let it go for the two full days you are off and the morning before you come to work.”

It’s all easier said than done. Coffeeman… I failed this week, as I sat there discussing work and thinking about hand pies and do we have puff pastry in the freezers still? Do I want to run a special this week?

It’s currently Tuesday evening, my Sunday night, and yeah, I’m thinking about work. It’s one of those bad habits.  But I don’t feel as stressed other than I wish I would have had more time to watch a few things filling up the dvr. I wish I could sleep more. I feel like I don’t get enough sleep. This balance thing is hard.

But again, balance isn’t my strong suit. Nor is patience. I want it to happen now. Drama queen that I am.

I like to think that maybe the scales are shifting a bit though. I took a long walk and hike yesterday by water, which I love. Saw plants and wildlife and just got away from the house. And not just to town, or to the city. Just away from the generals of life. It was nice. Summer is rapidly progressing and I feel like it’s going to be all over before it even began!

I found myself feeling kind of weird about how much of a struggle last summer was, but right now it feels very far away. Some things are not far away, having animosity towards people still, months from when it happened, but it seems ages ago. This year is a struggle as well, but in a different way. Other problems creep in, others fade. I’m still too emotional about things. I don’t think that will ever change, but each day might bring something new and a new perspective.

Coffeeman left me with a hug of serious proportions. The kind that says, “I get you” which I needed because I was so tired and need to find balance. “Just be thankful you don’t have kids,” he says on a final note. And to that, I am fortunate. My immediate family wears me out. I’d hate to think of kids in the picture. And that’s the rueful me talking there.

Kate

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The Sweeter Things In Life

Life sometimes is funny. Okay, that’s nothing new there. No wise bits of wisdom in this little post. Just life.  Like when you have two customers, regulars apparently, who ask if the reason there have been no new dessert specials was due to the pastry chef is now doing pizzas all the time.

That was an incredibly sweet part in my life recently. In all honesty, being sick four times since a week before Christmas put a serious damper on baking, thoughts of baking, and just getting through the day, never mind the week. I have to say that I love dabbling in all parts of the cooking industry. “Hey Chef, show me how to finish this dish so I don’t have to come get you next time there is only one of us in house.” This after it was literally only Chef and I in the kitchen one afternoon.  Do you know how irritating it is to have yourself on one dish, he’s on another and he can’t be found because he was off hunting down someone or something else?  I am not blaming Chef. Just the simple fact that he can take over for me up on the pizza, but I can’t take over for him. (sadly, the line still alludes me in comfort zone. I don’t like to be back there unless I have to…. Okay, that’s not quite true. I would love to learn aspects of it, or three quarters of it, but my heart isn’t in that area, at least, yet.)

But I digressed greatly there. What I was going to say was, while I like all parts of the cooking industry, the pastry and pizza end of things are more my forte. I’ve even had a few people I work with say I have a touch that others do not. It’s always lovely to have someone ooh and ahh over a dessert. Or pizza.

This last week I finally did run a dessert special. I call it a Chocolate Om cake because it had a little of our chocolate Zen liqueur in it. For a little om in life, you have to have a bit of zen….   No one quite got the juste of this turn of phrase, but I rolled with it anyhow. Who cares. I enjoyed this uber rich mocha chocolate cake, four layers, mind you, a rich cocoa frosting and three, yes three, toasted marshmallows on top. You think, marshmallows, how can that be special?  Well, I made them in house, that’s how!  Ooey gooey delishiousness (yes I know that’s not spelled right). I sold out the first cake in a day and a half. I feel I would have sold out on the other cake as well had it not been for the snowstorm that dropped 8 inches of snow and cancelled all of our weekend reservations. Drat!

See, Om and Zen go together, and think about a chocolate cake. You can zen your way through eating it and end up in an om state…. Just sayin’.

But I have ideas in my head a bit more now that I am feeling better.  Chef is working on his new menu for the spring. He has no desserts on it. I must see if I can brain storm with him. I even had my dishwasher ask me if now that I have made a dessert special if I am going to dabble in others. He mentioned coconut cream pie.  Pies are not my forte, but I might have to think about it. Coconut is a thing I love… mmmm, I’m thinking tropical items. The cold is getting to me.

I love the scenery. The peach snow when the street lights just come on at night. The cold, icy glow of snow and ice at night. The way it felt like a snowglobe moment the other afternoon looking out the windows as the snow fell. It’s all beautiful. but I could really go for somewhere tropical right now. Maybe I can play around with a tropical-esque dessert. Something with pineapple… oh that’s right, Astro D mentioned individual pineapple upside down cakes. Yum. Dollop of whipped cream.

Kate

 

Anniversaries – Day 31

Um, yeah, I had no clue…

I am going to end my challenge on a high note. A different note than what I was writing about earlier in the afternoon, which was kitchen hierarchy, where am I in said spot, where am I going, and the book Sous Chef. It was a good post, but I’m too close to the subject at hand right now that I need to take a step back and reevaluate my macro look at everything.

Today/yesterday as it is past midnight, is my one year anniversary with my restaurant/company. A year ago I walked through the doors of a building that was still being built and finished inside, met the five other individuals who would be my kitchen team. I met my first chef, I filled out paperwork and I found out that while I had applied for hostess, I instead found myself in the kitchen working with the chef.

Damn straight I am…. now just to go about doing it is another matter entirely…

Two of those coworkers are no longer with us and life is always perpetually changing. Even I have changed. A lot. I’m still to emotionally invested in this business. I’m still trying to micro manage things that even the first chef said I needed to stop doing. “K, you are going to burn yourself out if you keep this up!” he told me in January a week after I had quit because I couldn’t handle him any longer. But he was right. I still find myself caring so much that I over care in some ways. I take my work home with me a lot. Mentally.

A friend snapped this of me when I had no clue. Busy as a bee making a pizza

But a year ago I would have never thought I could be where I am today. Pastry chef and loving it and pizza chef and loving it. I love my boss, though I think he and I are a little too alike at times. I love most of the people I work with. And I just love my restaurant.

My life is too crazy to count and the holiday season is upon us. Gads, how can it be Thanksgiving in a day? But it’s here and here comes the crazy. I am excited for it. I think this winter will be much better than last. I hope. I pray.

This challenge was really really great for the most part. Tackling the Write 31 Days one last year. My life behind the swinging doors (and outside of them now) has definitely turned my life upside down. Last year all I wanted to be was a published author/poet. This year all I want is my desserts to wow.

I’m no supergirl…. but I can bake… that is a superpower

Okay, well I was actually quite satisfied with asking Coffeeman if he liked my lemon bars the way they were. “Yes. But they are kind of hard to eat in the car.” (I had sent one home with him last Sunday)

Damn straight. Thank you, sir!

Yeah, that praise and look in his eye from him was a compliment enough. I know when I’ve done my job. Being a pastry chef is pretty darn cool.

Signing off (of the challenge, not the blog)

Kate

Be Assertive – Day 30

“Katie, you need to be more assertive,” says my GM. “Walk around like a guy, like you have a big d—k and b—s.”

This comes after several weeks of being challenged within the kitchen. It didn’t matter how  or what I did, it was like I was dealing with another Lucifer. Actually, this person tends to treat me like Lucifer in ways regarding respect, meaning lack of, especially when no one is watching. Which…. well…. irks me. I am not some peon within my restaurant. I am not the inferior here. I’ve got some experience under my belt. And everyone deserves respect.

I am not an assertive person. Never have been. I am almost as girly as you can be, without being like a complete and total priss. I do get my hands dirty with this job. To be assertive as a woman, you have to be a take charge, don’t let the big boys push you around and have this ability to have authority roll off  of you.

I’m not exactly that person. As Mrs. B said, ‘you have never lived the life your GM has lived, and you probably won’t get jaded to life like more assertive people are.’ It is a fact. I don’t have kids, haven’t been married, haven’t dated a lot, so life hasn’t made me nearly as cynical as  most people are by the time they hit their late 30s. Not to mention I am 20 years behind my GM as far as life experiences go. Oh and the whole health issues which screw up my brain on a regular basis. <—-there’s a real confidence in me builder….

Heck, I go into  a one on one meeting with Coffeeman and GM nearly in tears….. pardon, I was falling apart. To the point where I am not sure I even got out everything I wanted to say. In fact, I know I didn’t say everything I had been rehearsing for two days with my parents. Stuttering, tripping over my words, worked up….I know what I did say got most of my point across. Basically, if you don’t fix this you are going to lose me because I am so frustrated I’m not sure I want to say with this job. I was back to crying before work and crying after. That was/is how frustrated I am. Granted, I cry because I am more sensitive, but this comes from sheer and utter frustration.

I am  a more sensitive person and a lot of things bother me. I am soft. I care about people; I care a lot about people. If they struggle, I am sympathetic or empathetic to their plight most of the time. If someone I really care about is not doing okay, then I really find myself chewing on it. There have been a couple of our servers who I keep my eye on because I care about them a whole heck of a lot and when they go through things, it bothers me. Makes me want to cry.

 

Okay, in general I am a watering pot.  That is how I show my passionate side, besides getting a glow and a sparkle, I tend to get teary. Compliment my dessert, you won’t see me trying to dab my eyes, but I will be.

I have got to learn to just walk away….

I will never be as assertive as my GM would like me to be, but you know what? These people I work with wouldn’t like me as much as they seem to if I wasn’t me. Maybe it’s good to be more soft in a lot of ways.  Life is a dance of opposites. Hard and soft, light and dark. I’m the soft. I’m the light. I’m the laughter. I’m the feminine.

Someone else can be the masculine and the assertive.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to be more assertive and such. That is something I am working towards. I need a backer who has my back when I request someone do something and that backer is the enforcer and makes sure what I say is done as well. I’m one of those ladies where if I had kids, I would need my husband to be my backer when I wanted those kiddos to do what I said. Basically, not that the backer is the only one making it happen, but giving me the authority that what I say is rule.

Right now I don’t feel like I have that backer completely…… I am hinting at someone.  I’m afraid he’s a little like me. Too subtle…  Hint hint. HINT. I need your support to be semi assertive.  I need to feel like I have authority of some sort, because I am working to that goal. Maybe I will never be in charge totally, but I do think I have skills to be directing traffic and managing. With and enforcer by my side…. Or back, or whatever. Help me help you, so that we both have help….I’m quoting Jerry McGuire there, sort of.

But be thankful I’m not an assertive lady. Trust me, you will like me much more as I am.

Now pardon me while I go hunt down a tissue…. just kidding

Kate

Behind the Scenes Prep – Day 28

Photo by Aaron Thomas on Unsplash

“If you don’t do your prep you don’t have a kitchen.” Wise words from Mrs. B tonight, as I discussed who was good on prep and who wasn’t.  We all do prep. Well, most of us do. There are a few that don’t do as much as others, and some who refused to do prep, and a few now who run around like a chicken with their heads cut off saying they have so much prep but not doing their prep……but we’ve all done some prep.

I got my start in this job as a prep chef. I worked the pantry (salads and such), but most of my day was prep work. Back prep work. I have done a lot of cutting, sous vide, sauces, baking, etc. All I did at the beginning was prep. And walkin duty.

You have to have your prep to have a fluid, well oiled kitchen. In my restaurant, just about everything is made in house. There are a few things here and there that are not, but these days, thanks to Coffeeman and his love of all things house made, we house make everything. The only thing right now we don’t do is bake our own bread (though the focaccia went through the summer just until the menu switch){and to do that we need a full time baker and another kitchen practically} .  Everything else we do.

Stocks, dressings, soups, sauces, dicing, slicing, cutting, grating, zesting, baking, rolling, forming, stuffing, shredding, and the list goes on. I come in every day and the first thing I do after I clock on is to check our white board for what needs doing. Our prep lists are usually pretty thin these days when I get in because the kitchen is so organized I don’t find myself bogged down with prep that wasn’t done in the day, because, shock of all shocks, Coffeeman is right in the thick of things with prep. He does so much prep work. He doesn’t stand around BS-ing  and saying “Oh I have so much to do!” but then not doing it. He actually does it! (unlike a few previous employees, and a few previous ‘chefs’) That man works so hard.  And we all do prep.

“We are all dishwashers, bakers, prep chefs, etc.” Coffeeman always says. He’s right. While I’m not the dishwasher, I do find myself doing dishes when we are busy, or now when I am alone in the kitchen on my days of baking. We all do a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Tonight (this is several days after I started this post….[come on K, get your but in gear and finish these GD month of day posts!]) Chef sent our dishwasher home early so he could catch a break and the kitchen was left to William, T-Bear, and me. So while T-Bear went on lunch, I cleaned up the back prep area and found myself running silverware and dishes through the dishwasher. I don’t mind it. Why should I?  The job has to be done, be it mopping floors (which I did) to making a pizza (which I also did). It’s all about running a smooth kitchen.

Prep may be boring to some, but without it, you cannot have a functioning restaurant. Astro D has moved to days and is in the thick of prep, and he loves it. I love coming in and hearing what he did during the day. He’s getting to make soup! And he’s thrilled. And I’m thrilled because I come in to work and I don’t have prep waiting to be done. It’s done so I can tackle things that are for what I do. Like making sure my station is all set up. Now if only I could remember to actually finish…. I forgot to check some things tonight. Whoops.

It’s this giant clockwork of a machine. And prep work is one of the largest cogs in this wheel of a clock of a restaurant. (hey, that would be a cool start to a poem)

Kate

Torta Caprese, Experimenting – Day 25

My special!

So, obviously I didn’t get to writing till it’s already the 26th, but this is an exciting post for me. I got home after an absofreakinglutely great night and was kind of a motor mouth for a good hour, poor parents, and finally am in bed tapping away.

So you know how I had my experimenting the other day about Panna Cotta? If not, read it. But this week, Coffeeman cleared for me to make a flourless chocolate cake.  I’m not sure why this popped into my head to try, but maybe it came from finding a recipe in Cooks Illustrated, or the Martha Stewart Living that showed up in the mail. Either way, Tuesday, I was alone in the kitchen mastering a torta caprese, or Italian Chocolate Almond flourless cake. (It’s technically not flourless when there is almond flour in it….)

Definitely unassuming in its natural state… IE, chilling in the walkin

This cake is rich in chocolate, eggs, butter, and almond flour.  I topped it with a chocolate ganache icing. It’s this single unassuming layer, but it packs a punch.

Oh the cranberries, port, orange, lemon, and cinnamon are a simmering. Gorgeous sight…

And because it’s autumn, and the cranberries came in, I wanted a cranberry sauce, something that screamed fall.  I found a delightful recipe for a port spiked cranberry sauce and was given the go ahead to use some of the port we keep in our restaurant.  So cranberries and port and orange and lemon zest, a bit of cinnamon and some orange juice…. This sauce is so good, just on it’s own. (“With turkey,” mused Coffeeman and  Astro D today…) Boys, keep musing. You have no idea how delighted I was to see the looks on all of your faces.  (I want to just eat the sauce. It’s that good)

Finished sauce. I liked it better as it simmered, but well, done is done. The taste explodes in your mouth.

Then an amaretto and rum spiked whipped cream on the side…. (because I mean, amaretto. And rum) a bit of candied orange.  I plated the dessert today and all I heard was, “You made this?”

“You made this.”

“YOU MADE THIS!”

And a “nice” coupled with a fist bump and I think a “nailed it” or “knocked it out of the park” along with a “that with an espresso is perfect” from Chef.

Damn…….  yeah, damn fine day. I could have danced myself silly around the kitchen, but for the running into people aspect.

Look at that description!

Good day. Like really really good day. This experimenting stuff is going well….

Can you tell I’m happy?

I only wish I could send you all a piece to try it out.

Kate

Mistakes – Day 24

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

This wasn’t the post I planned to write today. Today’s post is getting put off till tomorrow or later. And like a tail between my legs, I’m writing this late as I am embarrassed.

Most people that know me would know I hate to make mistakes. I have since I was a child when I didn’t get spelling tests right. My mother reminded me of that today when I was nearly in tears because I had not left a note for Coffeeman that the meringue was not a huge amount nor was there a huge amount of lemon curd for tarts.  (leaving a huge pile of dishes then finding out we don’t have a dishwasher for Wednesdays right now, didn’t help either, because had I known, there wouldn’t have been a huge pile of dishes!)

I hate to make mistakes, even minor ones. Even  minor ones like leaving notes. I seriously have issues with making mistakes. Oh sure, I back talk my parents from time to time, I smart off, I don’t do things the non lazy way all the time, I am a cluttered individual, the clutter wins more often than not, I am a perpetual procrastinator, I am a distracted individual, I’m argumentative…. I have a lot of faults, but when I screw up, it really bothers me.

I spent the summer screwing up with relationships and life choices and it was hard to accept the consequences at times. I’m still dealing with the hurt from mistakes made.

At work, I really, really, really hate to make mistakes. Back in early spring, Lucifer needed prep help for a busy morning, so he asked me to push off my dessert baking till we got caught up. Unbeknownst to me, we had a car club come in and those guys always order desserts. Always.

We ran out of pie. Well not that we didn’t have enough to serve them, but when they were gone, we were out of pie and I wasn’t caught up on baking. Needless to say, the chef lit into me because it was going to take me a while to play catch-up especially with a pie that took two hours from start to finish because it needed to cool. I was in tears for most of the day because I had disappointed him, as well as he told me he was going to have to go tell the owners of the restaurant that we were not up to snuff because I hadn’t done my job.

Okay, I realize that the situation wasn’t all of my fault, but it was hard and it bothered me for days. One of those times I went home in tears.

This late summer not having  our roulade cake holding together left me mentally in tears, and actual tears a lot of the time. It took almost 6 weeks of baking the darn thing, trying new things each week before it finally worked for me.  Being mocked by a couple people for not getting it right didn’t help either….. I am a very sensitive individual.

Today’s mistakes, while minor, bug the heck out of me. Yeah, I am really tired and my sugars have been wonky lately, diving really low in the middle of the night and not being so great in the morning. So, that affects my tiredness. Mentally stressing about coworkers, missing idiot boys in my life, even though it was best to separate myself from them all add to the general irked feeling.

I hate to make mistakes. I hate to disappoint people. Which is sometimes a problem. I try so hard to please people that I am always stressing about it. Go figure why I have such insecurity issues. My father can’t figure it out. Heck, I can’t figure it out. Why do I need that A++ on a test, life, relationships?

Mistakes happen. They will forever happen from time to time in a job. I just wish they didn’t happen to me.

Kate

Just Let Me Ramble About My Chef Days – Day 21

Late at night counting tickets, drinking a last cup of coffee and a glass of Pendleton

As of yesterday,  I have only one month left till I have been with my restaurant a year. One year. Wow.  Back in winter I thought I would be lucky if I made it that long, much less any longer. Miserable wasn’t even the word to describe how unhappy I was with my former bosses. Literally every day I went to work I was crying a half hour before leaving, trying desperately to fix smudged makeup and look professional, then crying at night when I got home. Exhausted, unhappy, afraid of my own shadow, it was a nightmare job. I quit when it was just a ridiculous amount of stress and my parents were aghast at what my boss was doing to my mental state, much less physical with all the long and hard hours. I was hard pressed to say I even liked any aspect of my job. It was just a job.

Failed work relationships/romantic included, coworkers coming and going, more going than staying, forever feeling like I was on the chopping block, players pitted against each other….. It was not a pretty picture. Lucifer and Tom Cat were disasters in the making. I should have listened to family right off the bat, but noooo, I had to do it my way. I know a lot of it was the misery surrounding my pure and utter exhaustion. Bad relationships kill your mental state.

Today, I am in a good place. Today, I am in a really great place. Last night I sat with AstroD after work discussing our new specials this week. The appetizer he is making, the dessert I’m doing. The freezer that is supposedly fair game for us to experiment with what’s inside… Oh the possibilities are looming! The happiness of our current positions. I am first and foremost on my time card, a prep chef. But currently my job is pastry chef, pizza chef, closer, and prep.  AstroD was pizza chef, line chef, and fill in. Today he is line chef and prep chef and occasional fill in on pizza. Both of us are extremely happy. We are getting to learn new things, sucking up as much as Coffeeman wants to throw at us. He wants a sous chef. Hey, whoever he wants to make one, go for it. If he wants me, fine, I will learn as much as he wants to dump on me. I will take it all. I might groan about working certain days, but that’s my still being tired from last week talking.

I am so happy these days.  “K, you are a f—-ing pastry chef!” Sassy Girl said to me last night. She bounces around as much as I do when we both think about it. I have the opportunity of a lifetime here. And I am going to absorb as much as I can.

I would have never thought this world would have been my calling. A lot of it is really hard, especially when you look at this list. Parts of it are starting to be my life. The one that irks me the most is finding a partner unless in the trade, unless they are just very compromising. This life is hard and good. I have late nights a lot. Sometimes because when I get off, I need to just hang back at work and wind down. The winding down takes at least two hours. Your are going at such high velocity for a short amount of time and it is cram packed. Service is really only 3 hours. But it is an intense three hours of crushing the dishes you fit into your time period. Sometimes it is longer and harder. It all depends, and it’s always changing from what happened prior to service, or during, and even after.

But last night, collaborating with AstroD was so amazing. We have ideas and hopes and plans. The excitement of trying something new and hopefully pleasing the public.  Oh yeah, that is a freaking amazing feeling. A tip last night, a comment earlier in the day, compliments for the enjoyment. Oh yeah, that is amazing too.  Hearing your GM say they are getting a lot of positive feedback from the bar where everyone there watches your every move. Whew, that’s heady.

Today I am glad I got to have my hair down, curled and pretty lady today. Not pinned up and slicked back to kingdom come. I loved sleeping in and having a more leisurely day.  Writing a post, reading up on chocolate ganaches and flourless cakes. Playing around with ideas.  Not stressing about coworkers doing their job. Yeah, it was nice to have the day off. This next week is bound to be busy with planning a new dessert, but it’s good work.

And I am happy. Thanks for listening, reading and letting me ramble this month.

Kate

Creativity Experiments No. 2 – Day 18

Chef lets me create if I want to. If I really want to experiment, I can. I’m usually too tired to really come up with something and I don’t have to make a special dessert each week or pizza. He has to, but I don’t unless inclined.

I was inclined a few weeks ago when my GM had some gin soaked blackberries. I think she was trying to impart the blackberry into the gin. It didn’t work and she was so over and done with it. “I’m over it.” she said, handing off the fair amount of liquid and berries.

I started plotting. I asked Coffeeman if I could make a panna cotta. “Don’t ask, do,” he replied.

So into the kitchen with agar agar and a recipe and a hope. The lemon vanilla panna cotta turned out smooth and creamy, but needed more lemon.

The blackberry gin gel… well it was interesting topping the panna cotta. It needed more of a blackberry taste. Not great experiments, though he ran them as a special…. Very cool. Not horrible to eat and lessons learned.

So now I’m thinking up different ideas. I wanted to try a lime mousse, but I think I need to get away from citrus for now.  I had mentioned trying something else out too, but I can’t remember what it was now.

But I’m over and done with summery things. I’m thinking rich, dark, autumn things. I just flashed to a vampire-esque room….. meaning rich reds, oranges, browns, blacks…. Autumn spice. A pumpkin spice rolled cake with a ginger whipped cream. Carmelized ginger sprinkled on a plate with a spiced fruit coulis…

Clearly I’ve been thinking food.

So, next experiments down. I would like to find something that actually works……

Kate

Language – Day 10

For the most part, I have a pretty clean mouth. That is, until I started working in a kitchen. Who knew that a kitchen’s general vernacular is various forms of swear words. Okay, I might exaggerate as it’s not all bad language. Just various applications at different times and different rearrangements of the words.

  • Kitchen Slang 101: you can learn a lot here, and yes, we kind of do swear like sailors at times. Wildflower is an expert of it.

Again, I kid, but only to a point. I have to say that my mouth isn’t quite as clean as it was prior to working with my former chef, sous chef, and various line chefs. Coffeeman refrains from spewing it at all times, leaving it to well placed moments where it’s really  needed. Lucifer, Micha, and previous chef were fairly notorious for it always spewing out. I got a little numb to it over time, but at first it was like being dunked into cold water. It was actually one of the reasons I ‘quit’ back in January. I couldn’t handle the chef just constantly swearing up a storm. His bad attitude didn’t help, but throw that in with a mouth, and me being a fairly conservative, straitlaced woman, it was hard.

The kitchen life has led me to be a little less sheltered and more inclined to try a few new things that I was kind of afraid to try beforehand. Do I think having a mouth is a good thing? No, but at times, it really is the only way to get the point across.

Years ago, a man I knew who was from Scotland, explained all the ways the Brits use the word ‘fuck’. How it can be charming, an expletive, just a generalization, and it made sense. It was all about how it was said. Tone. It’s really true, the word can have so many applications.

 

This last Saturday, or maybe it was Friday, (I’m a little lost as the two days were whirwinds) one of our servers was standing right there as a ticket started printing out and I was helping her get something to go. We are watching at it just prints this uber long ticket that wouldn’t stop, both of us saying ‘stop, stop, STOP!’ and right as it finishes, another starts right up. I looked at her and let out a very quiet ‘eff’.  Then another, and she totally agreed with me. It was just an “oh crap” moment. We both knew what it meant and there was nothing else that would make the point quite as much. I was ‘in the weeds’ a lot that night and swearing was the only way in my head to deal. Granted, most of the swearing was in my head. Burns, bangs, exhausted arms, tickets that didn’t seem to end, yeah, sometime letting out a long, sighing “eff” is the only thing that helps you deal.

Sometimes I need to use language. Other times, no. I need to refrain when not at work, and I try to keep it more clean, but honestly, the terms are just so much a part of my life nowadays.

Kate