So yesterday I staged at a Spanish tapas restaurant in Bucktown. I got there at four, talked to the chef for a few minutes and got a tour of the place and was then put to work, the highlight of which was assembling a cured salmon crostini.
While assembling these the chef “quizzed” me on how to make a beurre blanc, which I passed reasonably well (they make two – one is a tomato beurre blanc while the other is shrimp). After completing the crostinis I performed some pretty basic functions like prepping tomatoes to roast, chopping shallots, slicing serrano, etc.
After a few hours and with the party winding down the chef & sous chef talked with me about extending the externship position to me (yeah) and we also talked about me coming on board before that as a line cook. I should know some time next week about that as they have a few people coming in over the weekend, but they did say that I was better than the people who had already staged.
I’m not sure how I could be better than other people at pretty menial tasks, but they were impressed that I knew the line (either from Clerk’s or Mallrats): “What’s up bitches, what’s up sluts”. It’s pretty amazing how one funny line from a movie could possibly land you a job, and it just further illustrates how different (and better in my opinion) the kitchen is than an office.
After that I took my jacket off and was served some really fucking good food at the bar. The chef had told me that they make everything in house, including garnishes like pickled ginger and all the ice creams they serve. This pride in their work was evident in the two dishes I tasted, plus the few tastes I’d had in the kitchen. I was also introduced to the owner (incidentally by the woman hosting the party that I’d worked on) and we chatted for a bit.
Ultimately, things sounded pretty positive, the food and atmosphere was good, but most important was the pride that everyone had in their work and in putting out a really good product.