My first professional kitchen shift since 2003 starts this Saturday!

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by le plongeur, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. le plongeur

    le plongeur

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    So I’m friends (more acquaintances) with a chef de cuisine at an up and coming restaurant in London, UK. I’ve had him around for dinner and our wives are good friends. Exploiting this tenuous link and driven by my desire to turn a vicarious passion for kitchen life into something more substantial, I’ve finally worn him down into submission. He’s given me a shift at his restaurant this Saturday.

    I shan’t be as naïve to think he has faith in my abilities and is willing to take a punt. It’s probably more that it’s Valentine’s Day service and he has a brand new sous so he could do with any additional support.

    This will be my first “proper” commercial kitchen. My six and a half years as a manager in various McDonalds branches meant that I’ve used clamshell grills and burger bun toasters rather than gas ranges and salamanders. So how can I possibly prep for something like this?

    I’m anticipating a torrid day. The standards are extremely high. They’re chasing their first Michelin star having missed out last September. I won’t mention the restaurant’s name but the exec has worked under Pierre Kaufmann and Gordon Ramsay to name but two whereas I’ve worked under, well,…Ronald McDonald.

    I’ve soaked up as much information as possible in recent years. I know a remi from a demi, a brunoise from a chinoise and a tamale from a tomalley. However, I know as the “new guy”, it’s best to show humility, keep my head down and work as hard as the next man.

    I’m thinking as pragmatically as I can so that I give myself a fair shot at this. On the day, I’ll have on me: chef shoes, white jacket, black trousers, torchons, knife roll, knives, Sharpie, Biro, notepad, peeler, Microplane, rubber spatula, melon baller and a tasting spoon. I’ve memorised the Valentine’s Day menu, the a la carte and I also dined there last year.

    I’m working what’s effectively a half day (8am – 6pm) before leaving (I know I know!) to meet the wife for our own Valentine’s dinner in Mayfair. My intentions are pure in that I just want to build up a semblance of knowledge and experience. If all goes well, I’m hoping to grab the odd Saturday shift. I’m not getting paid and I’m extremely grateful for this chance because I know if I were a classic stagiere/extern, they’d expect a proper commitment and it’d be impossible to keep my office job.

    Do you guys have any advice for me in this situation? Any words of wisdom will be much appreciated!
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    Le Plongeur.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
    kuan likes this.
  2. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    On the list of equipment that you will be bringing along, you might consider adding two more items that I find to be invaluable. Ears and a blank mind. Leave your knowledge at home, You can pull up the knowledge as needed using remote access, but odds are that chef has it covered already.
     
  3. le plongeur

    le plongeur

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    Thanks, cheflayne! I'll keep my mouth in check and listen to what I'm told. I'm preparing to get a hard time and keeping my cool.
     
  4. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    That is a good idea as well.
     
  5. chefjasonb

    chefjasonb

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    Great advice from ChefLayne.  I'm guessing you'll just be doing odd jobs, especially on V-Day.  Enjoy yourself and of course, learn a few things.  Good luck.
     
  6. le plongeur

    le plongeur

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    I think you're right, chef. Being "Le Plongeur" for real!
     
  7. fablesable

    fablesable

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    Good on ya @Le Plongeur!! As Cheflayne covered it well, I will wish you a ton of fun, knowledge and minimal (hopefully none) injuries as tokens of pride on an amazing day.

    Cheers!
     
  8. le plongeur

    le plongeur

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    Thanks, Fablesable. If I survive, I'll post how it went.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  9. frankie007

    frankie007

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    So you didn't survive I take it.......
     
  10. le plongeur

    le plongeur

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    I did and I wrote something on it. Just seeing with admin if I can post it as an article maybe. Else I'll post it here.
     
  11. le plongeur

    le plongeur

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    Link to article
     
    lyndonb likes this.