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.