Blue Plate Special

A discussion of good food from all sorts of sources-- home, restaurants, friends' homes, street festivals and anywhere else that good food can be found.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What Working in a Top Restaurant is REALLY Like News Chefs Rule! (Page 5) 2005-07-07

Oh, so true! Every word. When I cut my hand, requiring seven stitches, I was asked two questions: "Do you really NEED stitches?" and, "Did you get any blood on the chicken you were cutting?" The answers were yes and then no. I was told to get a fresh napkin, wrap the wound with pressure, sit on the stairs and wait until a busboy could take me to the urgent care center. This was the most polite and considerate chef in the restaurant, too.

I was in the ninth hour of my ninth consecutive day of work when I slipped and cut my hand. I was lucky because I had the next three days in a row off, a regular vacation by kitchen standards. When I went back, I had to wear a rubber glove over my gauze covered hand, which got very sweaty and certainly wasn't kept dry as the doctor had instructed. I could barely grasp a potato to peel it, and couldn't lift anything heavy enough to require two hands (which is only EVERYTHING in a professional kitchen) and still had the executive chef standing a couple of inches behind my right shoulder yelling, "Faster, faster, FASTER!!!" in my ear as I worked.

About a month later I found that at three o'clock in the morning, my stomach would turn over because I had to be at work in twelve hours. When I found myself driving to work contemplating the merits of wrapping my car around a telephone pole rather than actually going to work, I gave my two-weeks notice.

I went on to a more responsible position in a smaller restaurant, with another jerk chef, and then becoming head chef at a private club. The private club was the best gig I ever had. I miss it tremendously.