Friday, May 30, 2008
What you should know about Restaurant's kitchens
Recently I worked at a Kitchen's restaurant. Actually it was the first time I stepped into a such big Kitchen's restaurant. It was a great opportunity for me, to work with a great chef, to learn about some techniques. OK, OK you go to a restaurant and you prize the Chef for its Cuisine. But I have to tell you, yes of course Chefs are in the kitchen and cook. But the hard work is around them.
The guys who wash dishes have a huge job, the china, glasses are put in a automatic dishwasher, but the huge pants, pots, you are using are washed by hand. During some days the guys are really in front of a huge mountains of pots. They are sweating a lot , they do not stop.
And depending on their shift, at the end of the day / the night they clean up the floor, all the sinks, they empty the fryer oil.... The 2 guys I worked with were really, nice, helpful and always in a good mood to cheer you up.
Then you have people who do everything : they clean the mussels, they peel the potatoes, they dice the onions, they do all the preparation for the chef and the Cooks. Even if the Cooks do also all the major preparations. This is a big job too. When you crack eggs you crack 60 eggs, when you clean and cut the parsley you are talking about 50-60 bunches, when you clean the salad same thing you have a ton of salad in front of you. All the quantities are huge. Another thing I learn you prepare everything far in advance 1,2 3 days before using it. This way you are ready to cook on demand where the orders are coming. The Chef and its Cooks have their own stations and everything is used upon orders coming.
Cooks are doing also a tremendous job, they second the Chef, and they are the ones in front of all the ovens ( we had 3), the open grill, the stove and the open fryer. When orders arrive they do not breath, they provide and provide like automatic robots. They can't even go to the bathroom!
Safety first. Not sure about that. First you need to wear special slip-resistant shoes. Then be prepared to cut yourself many times and more often to burn yourself.
Each cook is in charge of its own station ( cold) or(hot), the Chef is the one who does both when necessary.
The menus? We had 4 different... so you need to learn what is in every dish. All the different sauce, dressings...
FOH - Front of house they are the waiters/ waitresses. Same here they do a big job.
They handle huge weight, plates and everything need to arrive still nice in front of the customers. First you need to learn what is in the menu and what ingredients are in, then you need to learn how to use the computer to pass the order, this is not that simple. Because when people order something this is like " When Harry meets Sally" every thing on the side... so complicated. At the end some people want to split everything, they split the price of the bottle of wine in two, they want to use 2 different credit cards. So when you have a huge table ....this is really hard work. Next time you go with friends try to use an easy way of payment!
Overall it was a good experience at every level, but this is a very hard business and job. You standing for 8 hours on your legs, you take only 30 minutes of break ( not paid) so you really work 8 hours straight, in very hard conditions.
The best time is when you are in a the Kitchen behind you station and when you see the busboys coming back with empty and cleaned plates : you know that the customer liked what you cooked for him!