My three month apprenticeship at the 3-star restaurant I cook at is coming to an end with only two weeks left. They've offered me a job as Comis to the Chef de Viande, and I'm still trying to figure out my work visa which is proving challenging. So right now my permanent status is up in the air. Working at the restaurant as much as I do, it has become a second home for me.
Everyday's a long day – sometimes over 12 hours, but we do manage to have some fun because our team is FUN! We just hired a new girl to the garnish station so now I'm not a lone female. She's young and super talented and we have a lot of fun working together. We've bonded in our need to brave the constant teasing – yesterday we were caught chatting in the hallway and when we returned to our respective stations our bosses asked if we had fun shopping together and if we would like any coffee to go with our afternoon brioches. "Thees eez not holidays!" Nonetheless, I know our femininity is a welcome relief.
In fact I think our team has become the envy of the rest of the kitchen because there are two women now in the meat and garnish section. What a novel idea! Can you imagine not working around the opposite sex every day – 12 hours a day? I know that not all chef's are particularly happy about our being included on the line, but too bad. The Chef de Parti's of the meat and garnish stations seem to think that a co-ed work environment is a good thing. Perhaps France is changing slowly but surely!?!
Chef Johh Baptiste, Chef Francois, and Chef Damien (soon to be Executive Chef at the new Moscow restaurant). Take a good look at these faces, because these guys are young and have been cooking since the age of 17 – they are sure to be the upcoming talents gracing the pages of foodie mags in future years. They already have ten years of professional cooking experience thanks to the trade school university programs in France. Sometimes I feel so behind...
Some new dishes were added this week. One beef dish, one chicken breast cooked in a pigs bladder that is popped tableside for extra entertainment, a new crab entrée, and a raw mushroom salad. The pigs bladder one is the weirdest and I don't know how I feel about it. The bladder is popped at the tableside to reveal a stuffed chicken breast. Kinda cool, I guess, but kinda weird too...
I like the new beef one that has fillet with a melted pieces of bone marrow on top served alongside a beef and carrot medley that is sauced with different mustards and jus. It's a little retro – okay it's very 1980's, but it's tasty anyway.
Only other major happenings include Auralee, the new girl, slicing off the tip of her finger with a mandoline into our staff lunch. The carrot salad was extra crunchy. Oh well, we all ate it anyway. She came to me with finger spurting blood asking for a bandaid. We had to send her to the pharmacy to have it professionally wrapped (thank God for the pharmacy's here!).
How she made it through the rest of the day I will never know. Her job includes garnishing all the meat dishes and she's constantly putting plates under the hot broiler which I'm sure her thumb didn't appreciate. I'm surprised the finger condom didn't melt into the wound. She's a tough cookie!
I've progressed into slicing chicken and pigeon at the meat station for presentation and not stressing out so much when I have to cut ris de veau into exact 35g pieces without wasting any of it. I've noticed that my speed in hacking apart chickens to order is increasing and so is my oragami pappiotte dish. Life is good.
That's all for now, from the land of 3-star cuisine... there's no place like home...