I don't expect anyone to believe this – because I barely believe it myself– but I've been moved to the viande (meat) station at the 3-star restaurant I cook at in Paris, to work solely with the Chef de Viande. There have been a few stagiers who have asked to work with Chef de Viande and have only lasted a day or two at the most.
Jean, Me, Damien, Cyril, Kevin
Maybe that will be me too, but I'm pinching myself right now, because it's such an honor to be given the chance to learn in such a demanding environment. Currently the Chef has an apprentice who he has mentored for the last year, but in September that position will be open. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that perhaps I might fill that role.
The Chef de Cuisine who I absolutely adore, Laurent, has been very generous to me so far in allowing me to be part of service (and not just prep food) so I guess we'll see. I kinda think they like having a woman around to balance out the energy.
Today was my first day and I mostly did a lot of watching and assisting. I watched Damien, (Chef de Viande) and Cyril his apprentice butcher the veal and lamb, prepare pigeon, section poulet, make different jus for all the meats and stocks, and cook everything to perfection. Luckily the restaurant was almost empty with so many Parisians leaving for vacation, so they had the time to really show me.
I can't tell you how hot that part of the kitchen is. By the end of the shift I was a little sweaty cherry tomato. They obviously don't have the same kitchen heat regulations in Paris that they do in San Francisco. Although there are vents above the burners, they are not the kind that suck out hot air. Instead they just recirculate it.
It also didn't help that today is a record breaking hot day of 93˚F (37˚C). Oh well, there goes my fresh & cool Amuse Bouche station look. Whatevah – I'm not there to look good, I'm there to cook!
I have a two hour break and then it's back to the viande station for the evening shift...hope it goes well...