Monday, March 25, 2013

Meat Station

I'm shocked by how much toilet paper girls go through.  I know that's a thing.  I'm not really complaining.  Just let it be known: shocked.  I walk into the bathroom, take an inventory of my surroundings, and that's followed, nearly everyday, by my use of expletives.  I want to see statistics, read some studies, talk to academics.

Looks like I'm training on the Meat Station this week.  Soon I'll be fondling those prosciutto wrapped pork chops and dancing with the beef tenderloin.  They want me to cook meat half the week and fish the other half, and that sounds nice.

The last meat guy moved up.  Sensitive subject.  Maybe we'll talk about it later, or maybe we won't talk about it until I'm tenured.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Make it to Bliss

Stuie came to visit last week.  I was working when he arrived.  He couldn't get the keys to my apartment, so he hung out at local restaurants for four hours until I was off.  I think he told me that he ate a philly cheesesteak, two tacos, a slice of pizza, and a cinnabun.  I saw him at one in the morning walking towards me with his rolly bag.  That guy...

We got back to the apartment, cracked open a chocolate milk, and talked news and logistics for the days to come.  How's your sister?  How's law school?  You look thinner.  What have you been cooking?  Do you need me to shave your head while I'm here?  What do you think Tom Izzo is doing?  Where'd you get that chocolate milk?  My, my, those are nice shoes you have.  Where do you think we should get pizza?  How do you feel about this New York air?  And so on.

One night, Stuie's friends Nick and Liz took us around the East Village.  I almost didn't make it.  Stuie and Nick and Liz were already out at drinking drunk punch and phones were dying and people were getting tired and I was in the subway.  But I found one of those ghost trains when I was off work that took me right to my destination and screwed all the other passengers.

I boarded the train.  I thought it was a D, but the dude said over the intercom, "This is the G express train to wherever Rob wants to go"  So we went.

We rendezvoused at the drunk punch bar.  I drank a glass, then we were off to this Japenese speak-easy with a detour to a shitty pizza place.  The pizza was excellent.  The bar was closing when we arrived.  They let us have a quick drink.  I ordered a Get-er-done or something like that.  They brought me the glass upside down over some smoking incense.  They flipped it over and poured my drink tableside.  I was into it.

More drinks at a sake bar.  More drinks at a lesbian dive bar.  More pizza at an imitation Ray's pizza.  And we were home at 7am. 

I've been thinking about what the hell this blog is about these days.  It used to have such a defined purpose with a beginning and an end, you know:  Discover America.  Friendship.  Make it to Bliss.  Often, it seems a bit self-indulgent to continue with the blogging when the conflict -- make it to Bliss -- has been resolved.

But Stuie comes to visit, and I think, Man, this is good.  People should know.  And I'm hit with all these Thoreauvian notions with the universality and infinity of "Discover America. Friendship. Make it to Bliss."  And suddenly there are so many things that I feel you should know.  And so many things that I should know.  And so much more chocolate milk to drink and frozen chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick to eat.  And we'll always have that conflict with making it to Bliss.  And sometimes we'll make it.  And sometimes, you'll see, that we won't. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fish Station

I cook the fish.  I've been running the fish station by myself for a week now.

Service is from 5:30 to 11.  We have two pushes with about half an hour in between for me to refill my oils, drink some water, wipe everything down again, and eat a cookie from pastry.

This place, Nougatine, is good for me.  I have to be on point.  If my apron gets dirty, I have to change it.  If my towel gets dirty, I need a new one.  I get two towels a day.  Metal things in the kitchen have to shine.  Food goes into the family meal if it's over two days old.  Containers need to be plastic wrapped a certain way.  Little things to get down.  It's been easy, though, because the sous chefs remind me if I forget something.

If I'm a little too cavalier with the salt, one of the sous chefs likes to say, "Rob, wipe the pass.  It looks like my coffee table."  I like working with him the most because he yells the most.  If somebody tries to put out bad food, he rides them.  He says, "Paul.  I showed you how to do this yesterday.  You want me to show you again today?  I'm not you're mother Paul.  I'm not going to do you're job for you.  Do you want to work here Paul?  Yeah?  You have to do you're job then."

He gave me the "Do I look like you're mother" once.  He said, "Where are the mashed potatoes? Don't tell me you don't have any warm mashed potatoes."  And I said, "No, no.  I have them right here Chef."  I smiled and handed him the mashed potatoes.  I felt pretty confident that he would says something like, "Oh good, you're not worthless," but, that's when he hit me with it.  And I wasn't so sure he didn't look like my mother at that moment.  Sometimes, Mama Guimond is really concerned with the mashed potato situation.

If things are going well, this chef yells things like, "The foods been looking pretty good today.  And you guys better keep it that way.  Otherwise, I'm going to yell."  He's a gem. 

The other day, I was finished, and I asked if I could go.  He said, "Did you clean the fish walk-in."  I said, "Yes."  He said, "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"  I said, "No... er.. yes?  What are you trying to ask me here Chef?"  He said, "You can go, but ask Chef David if he needs help with anything first."  Sometimes, they just try to get in your head.  It's like boot camp.

Since I've started, two people have been moved up to Jean Georges, the dude that trained me and the dude that works meat.  I gotta get this red snapper technique down to get moved up, but it'll happen.  I'm cleaner than the meat guy, and I'll be just as fast in a week or two.

I'd like to be moved up, but I'm in no hurry because I have a lot to learn at Nougatine.  We serve proscuitto-wrapped pork chops, and foie gras brulee.  I haven't even cooked those, yet.  My goal is two months.  That will give me enough time to learn all the names of the pastry cooks.