It's sooooo good to not be new employee anymore. Seems like most of the chefs have gotten used to me and I hardly hear any yelling anymore (well, not at me – at least for now). They've discovered that I have a sense of humor and seem to prefer joking around with me. I've managed to hang on to my position at the Amuse Bouche station which makes me happy because it's the beginning of the line.
The last few stagiers (apprentices) have been cycled through quickly and now are stuck doing prep work throughout service, which includes carrying stacks of heavy dishes up one flight of stairs, shelling mountains of sweet peas for hours on end, shucking oysters, and cleaning up after service – glad I'm only responsible for my own station right now.
The Amuse Bouche station is like a miniature meal. We use uniquely designed petit cups that are filled with a seasonal soup and then removed by the server at the table to reveal a little treat underneath. They are beautiful, elegant, feminine and delicious. Of course there's other stuff I do too at my station: seared foies gras, ris de veau, poached eggs, the signature artichoke soup, but the part I like the most are the little tasty surprises that awaken the palate...
When I first began work at the restaurant our amuse bouche's were served hot, but now with summer clearly on it's way we are serving little cold soups. In the afternoon we serve a cold zucchini soup emulsified with citron olive oil and a sliver of battered zucchini flower. In the soup cup itself is a ratatouille of brunoised fennel, tomato, zucchini, and onion. Underneath the soup bowl is a hot duxelles crisp with a tiny zucchini slice on top with parmesan (sorry, no pic). Looks easy, but it takes so much time to prepare.
For lunch we serve tomato gaspacho with a vegetable tabouleh and five spice. Underneath is a little cherry tomato stuffed with herbed chevre and topped with chive oil. Yummy!
The biggest highlight of the week was getting invited to a photo shoot Friday afternoon. I got to help the Chef set up numerous plates for a French food magazine. I'm not quite sure why I was asked to go, but it was a lot of fun. I watched him create beautiful plates, drank champagne with the photographers, and washed a few dishes. More importantly I got the afternoon off – what a novelty from the 11 hour work day. Whew-hoo!
It's been a good week all and all. I also asked the Chef if perhaps there might be room for me on the fish, meat, or garnish line when some of the apprentices leave...he seemed to like the idea, so I'll guess I'll see....