I can't believe how my day changed from as-low-as-can-be motivation in the morning to extasy during dinner service. This morning on the way to my stage's restaurant, I was thinking about how useless the second week would be, where I would peel and cut vegetables during 3 hours in the morning, then be put aside during service, just to watch the others and maybe plate a couple of desserts. I had no motivation left to do this for another week, and thought my time would be better spent, starting to learn for the end of the year exams at home. I even wondered if I should ask the chef whether I should stop coming for dinner service.
You can see, as I have nothing to do, I have obviously even time during service to take photos of the kitchen crew (with a starter au passe in the foreground) ...
But then everything changed unexpectedly. I still did my 3 hours of vegetable peeling and cutting in the morning, and when the service started I went as usual to the patisserie area to watch the others and wait for a millefeuille or a moelleux au chocolat to plate. I was alone in the patisserie, because the patissier had moved to help out at the fish station. The apprentice who should normally be working there today, was still on sick leave as he had burnt his hand seriously last week during work.
In the middle of the service I heard the chef say "Mais elle est ou ?" ("but where is she ?") He could only talk about me, as I am the only "she" in the kitchen. So I was getting out of my boring corner in the patisserie and started to say something like : "ok what do you want me to get from the basement ?" (as I am being sent frequently downstairs to get missing ingredients from the storage area). But I was interrupted by the chef, saying : "you are going to work on the fish station today !" (of course he said it in French ;) and sent the patissier back to the patisserie. This time I must have looked like a child that found everything it wanted and more under the Christmas tree (to continue a previous analogy). A minute later I found myself cooking the fish during the service, with the help of the chef de partie de poisson of course, but he "only" plated, I did all the cooking !
I couldn't believe that happened. In addition the chef de partie was so nice and patient and explained me every detail, on how to season, how to know when to take off the fish from la plancha, when to reheat it in the oven, how to know when it is cooked just right to be served, etc., all for 6 different fish main courses that are on the menu this week. I was in heaven. It was a good move from the chef to make me start at lunch service, that gave me and the chef de partie enough time for explanations and training, as we had only a couple of covers.
Then before returning for dinner service tonight I got really nervous about whether I could manage the dinner quantity without messing up everything. But it was no problem, on the contrary, the more orders came in simultaneously, and the busier we got, the more excited I was and the more fun I had sizzling. I think I was really in some exstatic state of mind. I cooked ALL the fish of tonight's dinner service. I still can't believe it.
Now I do love my second stage...