Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Wrath of Chef

I've finally witnessed it.
It happened at the end of week 4 of LudoBites 007. 
And it was scary.
Someone almost got fired.
Something was wrong with the Mayo (missing ingredient? I have no idea)
It was soooo wrong that Chef grabbed the container of it, slammed it down, and it went flying everywhere... even on the ceiling.
See those 2 glops of stuff just above the edge of the light?

Thankfully, I wasn't the instigator.
Nor was I even a culprit in any of it!
Though I am one of his favorite "whipping boys" and a frequent target of his stern, vocal admonitions... probably because i'm so sensitive, and he always gets a reaction out of me.

Everything that could go wrong was going wrong on Friday - and most of it was outside of any of our control.  This is not Ludo's kitchen either.  It belongs to a restaurant called Gram & Papa's... and the faulty equipment maintenance, which heretofore was a running joke (this is not working? ah yes, welcome to gram & papa's...) was no longer funny.  Elodie had a running list, most of which I forgot, but here are some of the highlights, errrr, lowlights:

Heat wave in L.A. (circumstance)
Broken Air Conditioner (G&P)
Freezer that never stays cold enough to let the ice cream harden (G&P)
Ice machine not cranking out enough ice (G&P)
One employee almost fainted (combo of stress and the heat) (circumstance)
Dish washers who are not the smartest and don't quite know how to keep a kitchen clean (G&P)

But when the fault lays squarely on a member of the team, and becomes apparent during dinner service - watch out!

One guy wasn't prepared with his "Mise en Place" and rather than sending an intern to do what he forgot, he left his station to fix his mistake... (wrong move).
And this was followed by the discovery of the messed up mayo. 

I had just run one of my tarts to the front, for service, so I didn't see how the mayo went flying and how some of it ended up on the ceiling.  I heard it all going on, but my role was to smile, and hand the appetizer to the server, as though nothing was going on at all.  Acting!

Upon returning to my station, all I could think was "just do your job, and don't fuck up".  Joon, Elodie, Erika and I all exchanged knowing glances that this was Chef being mad for real.  He was ranting in French - most of which I didn't quite get...

But this anger diffused when he was in the process of making a new batch of mayo at Elodie's station, and I heard a crash followed by Elodie and Ludo laughing, and Elodie was on the floor, having slipped on something.  Thankfully it wasn't a bad fall, because they were laughing - and I guess that was a reminder of what's important... you don't want anyone getting hurt in the kitchen... and you can't (or shouldn't) cook while mad. 

Still - the mood of the night: don't fuck up because Chef was on fire. 

Notice the temp on the freezer thermometer?  It should be about 20 degrees colder.
Oh - and then around 8pm, right before the second seating - we ran out of ice.  Krissy came up to me asking if I had a car - gave me cash and sent me off to get ice... as much as could fit in my car.  hurry.

Off I went to Ralph's, during dinner service, leaving my tarts behind, to get ice for the restaurant.  It was when I was walking through the parking structure of the grocery store that I realized how sweaty, and icky, and smelly I was... 9 hours in an extra hot kitchen, after kneading & rolling out 33 pieces of dough, whipping the creme patisserie over a hot stove, stirring the caramelized onions over the hot stove, and getting the onion tarts in & out of the oven - I was a hot mess!

I returned with the ice to everyone's relief, returned to my station, continued firing out those tarts as the orders came through...

Chef:  Sharon, you've been doing a good job today
Me: (relieved) thank you, chef

Yay! some recognition and praise from the Chef! 
How did I follow that up?
Yep, I promptly messed up.
In a row.
Luckily for me, this was the end of week 4 and I was prepared with back up plans, and unless Chef reads this, he'll be none the wiser.  shhhhh - don't tell him.

About the mayo on the ceiling... Chef only discovered it about an hour after it happened.  He told us not to clean it up.  He wanted to see if anyone at G&P's would notice it and clean it sometime before we return on Tuesday.  We are all guessing it will still be there. 

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