It was Saturday night and at just gone 7 pm I announced to Jo that I could not keep my eyes open and required a sleep. I suggested that I should be woken up in an hour/hour and a half so that a nap wouldn’t mean that I could not go to sleep later on. I shouldn’t have worried as about 20 minutes after I dozed off, I woke up with a start and that was my nap well and truly over. Needless to say, it was another long week in the kitchen, or should I say out front cooking directly for customers. Only one out of my five days has been doing prep.
Wednesday was my longest day – it ended up being a ‘split shift’. I had planned to get in for 6.30 am to get a head start, but with Jo away I took longer than expected to get into work. With a 6.50 am start, and a last minute change to the planned tart and salad for the day as the Head Chef left instruction that I needed to use up courgette flowers, beetroot, roasted tomatoes and olives, I felt a little on the back foot from the start. Despite this, I was mostly prepared for lunch service, bar making the side salad for the courgette flower tart. Thanks to the helpful front of house team, we managed to get everything up on time. However, with the morning preparations and a busy lunch service, I didn’t manage to complete the mis en plas that the Head Chef had left for me before the manager needed to shut up shop for the day. Determined to start Thursday on a better footing, I decided to go back to work at 7 pm (after relieving my poor dog who had been home alone all day, bar a walk with the dog walker) for a second ‘shift’. Despite being tired, it was quite pleasant pottering around the kitchen, getting things done, without the fear of hearing the words ‘check on’.
Back home by 10 pm, I had time for a quick shower and decaffeinated coffee
and then it was off to bed for me in preparation for another early start. On Thursday, I managed to get in for 6.30 am as planned. Despite a busy breakfast service, I managed to get my salad and spanikopita ‘puffs’ ready before lunch service. Unfortunately, it was a peculiar lunch service and there were only a few takers for my ‘puffs’. This meant that I had a couple of ‘puffs’ for supper when I got home – warmed up they were quite tasty, even if I say so myself.
Friday was much of a muchness, albeit that we had a stand in chef in to do the weekend preparation as the Head Chef was preparing for a big event on the Saturday. I largely did service on my own with the assistance of the stand in chef when the ‘shit started to hit the fan’. To be honest, I didn’t understand the meaning of ‘shit hitting the fan’ until Saturday lunch. Having had the stand in chef in the background again in the morning as the Head Chef was still preparing for the event with another ‘kitchen assistant’, we were just heading into lunch service when the stand in chef announced he was leaving and the Head Chef and his assistant announced that they were going to the venue. I, on the other hand was left holding the fort by myself. I need to be careful about what I say next. Let’s just say that it was a difficult service with me trying to serve a rush of customers in a short space of time, with multiple dietary requirements and very little support (my only support came from a few front of house staff chipping in from time to time). I got through service, but not without making a couple of stupid errors and being reduced to tears out of frustration. Embarrassed by my reaction to the situation, my situation was made worse by being left to clean up the mess that everyone else had created in the preparation kitchen as everyone else, except for the ‘kitchen assistant’ made their way to the event. I should mention that I did not have a problem doing any of what I had to do in principal, but the lack of acknowledgement was a little difficult to take. I left the shift seriously wondering whether I was in the right job/working in the right place.
After a lot of soul searching and my tail between my legs, I mustered up enough courage to go into work on Sunday – I was not quite ready to give up yet. A relatively uneventful service later, with little reference made to Saturday’s events, I went home, happy in the knowledge that I had two days off work.