Instant Replay

208 Covers. I did 170 Flawlessly. I COOKED 130 without a problem.

Where did it go wrong? I have asked myself this 900 times the past day. I dreamed about it. Im almost sure I cried in my sleep.

At what point in the service did it go from Good to Terrible, Horrible and disgusting. I have never walked out of a place with my head so low.

It was everyone, everything. We went down in flames. While our Chef/owner was watching the whole thing.

It doesn’t matter that at the end of the night, the super famous chef singled me out and told “me good job, it’s difficult to keep the momentum when service was so bad. You held it together and made it happen even when it wasn’t working. That there are some design elements that are flawed. But you did a great Job.”

It doesn’t matter. It should. That would have put me on cloud nine before.

Was it the crazy dish we decided to put on the last second? Were we not prepped enough? I swear I prepped. My Mise Looked good- I had enough. It was my second day on Hot Apps, and it still looked good.

Was it the sous who decided to change the game plan at the last second and spend 45 minutes on tomato foam instead of prepping OUR station? Was it this person who was pulling tickets out of my perfectly capable hands and trying to expo and cook at the same time?

Was it the disturbing Text from my Real Life that I received in the middle of service?

When? Was it when the Sous was pulling tickets out of my hand and telling me to help on Garde Manger that I lost track of the board-the board that I wasn’t supposed to be running? Was it when he decided to change the game plan on me?

I wanted to cry.

My soul did. While I was sweeping floors and prepping Crema. My heart hurt from putting out food I wasn’t proud of. Food that I wouldn’t pay for. While the chef was watching.

My heart hurt because sometimes, people make Awful awful decisions that hurt everyone in the end. Because they think it’s easier, because they think it will minimize their pain.

What they don’t realize is that sometimes, a little extra work, a little extra time, and putting away your ego might just help everyone.

Posted in Philisophical Musings | 4 Comments

Lemon Rosemary roasted Chicken, Creamy Fava Puree, Carrot and Fennel Paysanne

I recently Moved. I sold my house and have moved in with my family to save some dinero and to do a little soul searching before I set off to see the world. So far, its been pretty nice. I’m never home as I’m always working, day off= sleep and laundry.

There is something to be said about going back “home” as it were.

Like waking up to your 7 year old nephew at 8 AM clapping in your face to show you his new converse all stars before sprinting out of the room like nothing ever happened.

Not a word. Just a clap, a point, and I’m pretty sure he threw me the deuces sign-

Ee-ee, Look at my kicks- DEUCES!

To show my appreciation for their patience, kindness and love- I decided to cook them dinner on my day off.

(You know you’re a true cook when you can’t wait for your day off to just be creative and take your time, and have fun with plating )

Here was the Menu-

Lemon Roasted chicken Thighs scented with Rosemary

4 Bone on Skin on Chicken thighs

1/4 C. Lemon Zest

2 tbsp minced garlic

Salt

Pepper

Rosemary stems

Olive oil

Set your Oven to 325

Mix Lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper, and EVO together, rub inside the chicken skin and whatever is left, rub on the outside. Put in a glass baking dish. NEXT to the chicken, lay the rosemary. This will infuse the chicken with its essense without overpowering it. Bake in the preheated oven until internal temp reaches 165F. About 30-45 minutes.

Creamy Lemon Fava Bean Puree

I used Dried Fava beans because they are much less expensive than fresh. Make SURE to soak those suckers for at least a day, it will make peeling the skins Much easier.

.5 lb of peeled soaked fava beans

Half of an onion- don’t cut it

Half a carrot-dont cut it

.5 Cup minced onion

1 tbsp butter

Stock, wine, or Sherry vinegar (to deglaze)

1 tbsp Heavy cream

Lemon juice

Salt pepper

Cook Fava beans with half the onion and half the carrot  in pressure cooker for about 15 -20 minutes. when done, remove the onion and carrot. While Fava is working, in another pan sautee onion in Butter until dry, season, add liquid of choice- I used stock because it’s what I had. Reduce till sec again, then add lemon juice. By this time (about 10 minutes) your fava’s should be done. combine the mixture cook on low for about 10 minutes, season, taste and add the cream. Pull of the heat, and puree if you want it super smooth. You could also just use a hand masher here.

Carrot and Fennel Paysanne-

Paysanne is just a fancy name for 1/8″ squared carrots.

Carrots cut in Paysanne

Fennel Fronds

Butter

salt

Pepper

sautee Carrots in a bit of butter, season, and add fennel fronds at the end. Cook carrots until they are JUST done- don’t over cook.

Chive Oil-

In a blender combine chives and Olive or Canola oil. let it go for a few minutes. Pull, let sit for about 20 minutes then strain with a cheese cloth and use as a garnish, reserve to use as a dressing later.

Posted in Recipes, Spring | 2 Comments

Confessions 1.2

Confessions of an aspiring chef 1.2

1. I HATE frisee. I cry on the inside every time one of my chefs makes me taste it before sending it out.

2. I’m obsessed with British Period dramas/romances. At this point, I am \convinced that I could make it through a 24 course meal with the finest of British aristocracy and none would be the wiser of my peasant status.

That is of course assuming the dinner is set sometime between the 1750’s and 1920’s.

3. 2 of my besties are in Spain right now living it up. I am with them in spirit and cannot believe that vino is only 2 euro..that’s like, almost free!

4. I can not get enough of Mumford and Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Iron and Wine.

5. Zuzana always has a way to keep me motivated to work out, Which I need as a cook in a Fine dining establishment that involves lots of butter, cream, and duck fat. NOM NOM NOM.

6. Can’t wait to make this Quinoa Salad…food baby here I come. On my next day off. One day. Some day.

7. I once went on a cruise and ate Lox at every meal. for 5 days. I did not get tired of it. This little lady has the right idea.

8. I cooked last night for the first time in a month. It was amazing. I might have developed some Mad skillz, Y’all~

 Meal will be posted next…..

Posted in Philisophical Musings | 3 Comments

Puh Puh Puh Poker Face

Instead of makeup, that is what I wear to work on a daily basis- a poker face.

Goodbye MAC Penultimate Liner,

Hello air of Humble Confidence. 

I am sporting a fake it till you make it mentality- and it seems to be working for me.

After working a month and a half as a prep cook I was moved to Garde Manger (unheard of moving up so quickly with such a lack of experience) – and have been on this station for 10 days. The first 8, prepping my mise en place did not click. I was a disaster, messy, unorganized, had poor time management skills, was inefficient. I got my plates out, but they weren’t beautiful. They weren’t done with Finesse-

Then, after I had my Rump Roasted , my sous chef came up and showed me how HE would work this station. That 15 minutes messed up my prep and had everyone running to help me in time for service, but that’s why we’re a team. I would have done the same for any one of those boys.

That 15 minutes changed how I work, how I think and how I organize myself.

That 15 minutes has changed how I am doing everything in my life- but most importantly in the kitchen.

If one is running around the kitchen too fast they look unorganized and people assume one is in the shits. If one moves too slow, then they are not working hard enough and are going to be in the shits. The whole goal is to avoid being in the shits- or weeds. Or, for the layperson, ill-prepared  and busy/slammed.

Not a good combination.

I had an amazing service that night. With my poker face on. Humble confidence- its a look that is working for me.

I come in the next day, 100 covers on the board, poker face on ready to start prepping my station for service and get told I’m cooking tonight.

COOKING. On hot Apps. This is huge. It took my chef a year and a half on Garde Manger before he was allowed to cook on Hot Apps.

He is giving me a chance to do it after 10 days. I have only watched and help plate, I have not really felt the weight of the pans in my hands, learned the timing of when to drop what, the order of things. But when I showed an ounce of doubt, or even surprise- my chef questioned if I was ready for it. Poker face back on, I geared up told him I was just surprised and helped prep for the station.

100 covers on Hot Apps- my first night on garde was 34. Busy night. But I did it.  I’m feeling the heat, and loving every second of it. 

 

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Latest dish…rump roast de Moi

as in, My a@@ on a platter. Todos los dias.

I am overwhelmed by the idea that as soon as I learn something new, I realize how much I really DON’T know. On one hand, it is the ideal situation, on the other the most frustrating. I am at peace with this dichotomy. Because in it, I know that I will never have a monotonous day. I know that I will learn something new every day for the rest of my working life.

This career is shaping me into a different person, and for now I am allowing it. Its reshaping my body, my soul, my mind, and my spirit, my palate, my social life.

so far, 6 days on the line. Some of which have been successful, yesterday however, not so much. All it takes is one look or a rhetorical question from a particular chef to bring me back to my knees. The question that I should have known the answer to, or I should have freaking asked the question myself if I didn’t immediately know the answer.

The look sends me reeling into this pit of disappointment, in myself and for disappointing chef.

I take these knocks hard- and I think that is good. It means I take it seriously.

I take a lot of pride in what I do every day. and I need to realize that I’m at the point now in my career that what little ego I do have should be put to the side if I’m not sure about something..

Now is the time to learn to walk, now is the time to ask for help and to do something right. Even if it is a dumb question.

At this point, ego is kind of like a shiny new knife- put it away when you don’t need to use it because in the end, you could be carving your own “rump roast”. Unless that ego is going to get me through the rush, or help me own my station, it is not necessary right now.

and I’ve had enough Meat this week.

Posted in Philisophical Musings | 1 Comment

The worst type of injury…

Lots of changes since I’ve last blogged, but what’s new? 1 day in the kitchen feels like a week in the real world.

I don’t know if its because one is confined to a such a small space with people under what eventually becomes a “high stress” condition (read: service), but bonds form. These people turn into a close knit second family. Truth be told, I am with them more than I am with my actual family. And I’m learning that we Mostly have each others backs, just like a real family.

Which is why it was so difficult when my Chef announced that she was leaving. I know it was hard for her. I’ve been there, deciding that you actually might know what is best for your soul, or at least taking a stab at it. So while I was afraid (literally, for my job- my skills are not as savvy as the guys I cook with) I was also proud of her, as a woman and as a friend that she was taking the steps she felt needed to be taken. The best steps are often the hardest ones.

and, with that being said, we’ve gained 2 new sous chefs. One who is phenominally younger than I am (eeks, I’m getting up there!), and the other not so much. But here is what I love about this industry-

AGE isn’t as much a factor as skill, drive, talent, and heart.  These guys have it from what I can tell. and they can see that I have it too, skill….not so much, yet 🙂

When we all went out for my chef’s last service, I was able to have heart to hearts with two of these guys. They manage in completely different ways, but they are both extremely talented in their own. I shared with them my background, my strengths and the fact that I KNOW I have a long way to go. and I love that they have no qualms with letting me know my knife cuts need some work. But I trust them, and I believe they are learning to trust me. This is where the team part comes in. I’m “new” to cooking, they are skilled.  They are new to Managment, I know how to motivate, teach, and delegate. We all have the ability to learn from each other every single day

I love that.

I told them I don’t want them to go easy on me. Trust me when I tell you, they haven’t.

I was lighting the grill this afternoon, about to make 1 of 5 sauces I had to get done before service, when my sous chef looked at me and said

Chef Jet Li-” Be careful Ange- that could blow up in your face. and that would be the second lamest in jury you could ever have.”

Me-“really? What’s the first?”

Chef Jet Li- “A wrist injury from typing.”

 

I believe that was part of my manifesto for changing my life.

and with this eerie sense of being web stalked,

I knew I belonged. I was born for this.

 

 

 

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The “it” Girl…

I’m not sure exactly what that means or implies…but I was called “it” today.

as in “Angelina, I’ve been thinking, and I want you to clean up all this shit.”

Me-“Pardon chef?”

Chef Jet Li- “I want it sparkling in here. I know you’re by yourself today, and you have a ton to do, but I don’t care. I want it perfect. I want you to be perfect. I want you to work cleaner than all of us. Clean means you’re organized. Organized means you can think. Being able to think means you’ll never get behind, never get in the weeds. I want you better. and you need to tell this to the other cook. You’re the “It” girl. Remember that.”

Me. “heard chef. Thanks chef.”

I’ll work on “it”.

 

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