Nothing went right. Got stuck in traffic behind an accident that luckily didn't involve me. Usually I arrive with half an hour to spare so I can pound a liter of black coffee in the EDR (employee dining room). Got to work four minutes late, which means I've added 1/2 point to my demerit total -- which up until this day was perfect. Oh well. Luckily nothing happens until I reach six points.
On the way to the kitchen where I work (there are dozens of kitchens, with hundreds of chefs, cooks and helpers working at any given time). I walk through a hallway as long as a football field, with hundreds of Alto-Shaams along the wall. Along the way, I see the rigging crews setting up stages for the conventions, and the country western concert scheduled later this week. The bakeshop is close to the dressing rooms, and you can often see celebrities filching muffins from the bakeshop queen marys. (10-20 queen marys plus at least 20 speed racks full of baked goods leave the bake shop every shift, three times a day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)
The day started traying up pepper-crusted maple bacon. How much bacon? One stacked pallet of 15-pound boxes. Roughly 600 standard baking trays of thick-cut bacon. Driving home, all I could smell was maple. I've washed my hands 20 times today. They still smell like maple. Maybe I'll make some pancakes tonight. Looked up at the clock and it was 1 p.m. The day is just FLYING by.
In the background, two cooks are arguing who was the best Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger. What decade is this, anyway?
I go grab some lunch in the EDR. I get a chili relleno, a tamale, and a couple pieces of chicken and wash that down with more coffee. A guy sits down next to me and says, "A meal fit for a king. [Slaps his lap and whistles.] C'mere King. Here boy!"
Nothing good in the dessert display today, so I skip that. I don't need dessert anyway. A quick mile walk back to the kitchen.
The whole kitchen smells like beef. Cooks are searing off a few hundred NY Strips, and there's always a few hundred gallons of demi going at any given time. Our demi is from scratch. Makes a world of difference. We use it all over the place. It gets bagged in 5 gallon "chubs" on a machine that will take your fingers off if you're not careful. Worst day I had was when the machine nearly got me, and I ended up spilling 5 gallons of hot demi all over myself. I got it good from the kitchen that day.
But next it's sandwiches. 400 at a clip. Line up five stainless tables, slap plastic wrap on them, and then it's "Deal A Meal." One person throws slices of bread like playing cards onto the tables. Another follows with meat, then cheese, then garnish, then spread and top. Most people speak Spanish in the kitchen -- it's the lingua franca. Chinese cooks yell at Haitians in Spanish, because it's the language most people speak. Mexican "circus music" blares in the background. Sounds like a German oom-pah band on speed. But today the only thing coming in was the classic rock station. Thank God. I hate circus music. Could be worse. The night shift usually listens to Top 40. I didn't know who Katy Perry was before I started. Now I know the lyrics to "California Gurls" by heart. That's not something I'm particularly proud of, by the way.
The chefs are talking amongst themselves about possible sandwich combinations. I yell out "brie and proscuitto on sourdough."
"Mmmmmm... food cost!" is the reply. "Pepper jack and carmelized onions. Same as the rest, 400 count." (The chefs count EVERYTHING.)
Actually, we have a ton of sliced proscuitto in the walk-in. Literally, one ton. All pre-sliced and cryo'd. I can't even imagine the food cost. That will go to another kitchen and get used for a special of some sort. I imagine garmo (garde mange) will get that pork.
Finally it's quitting time. I say goodbye to the COD -- Chef on Duty. I change, and throw my checks and whites into the laundry chute. It will be clean and pressed when I come back. And then I drive home. As slow as the drive in was, it was the opposite on the way home. Didn't even see a red light. Made it home from the Strip in 15 minutes. Which is probably a personal best.
Next installment... sometime.
Edited by ScoopKW, 10 September 2011 - 06:33 PM.