Oops didn't think anyone noticed.
So yesterday I find in my basket:
boneless/skinless chix - Woohoo! the roulade is on and I don't even have to dissect the beast (save 5 minutes) ...no pork butt which a colleague of mine once got..... do you know what it takes to break down the collagen in a butt? Not one hour that's for sure, not without a pressure cooker anyway.
portobello mushroom - didn't I mention risotto yesterday? Did someone hear me?
purple kale - okay we'll still do a salad albeit one of an entirely different nature
endive - ditto - workable
cottage cheese.... wait COTTAGE CHEESE...... COTTAGE FUCKING CHEESE???????? I think - "I'm fucked".
The kitchen is tiny, they carve me out a sliver of a work space, there were literally 5 workstations in what would be one at my kitchen and people are tripping over each other. My spot was right in front of the rotisserie which was constantly being filled/emptied the whole time I'm there which made it so I couldn't get to the walk in, to the dry goods, to the utensils or platters without walking behind 4 other people and in front of the fryer, the range, the oven and tilt skillet. I said "behind you" more times in one hour than I normally say in a month and in rapid succession,to boot. First thing Chef says to me is "you guys are fucking interfering with my fucking production" (verbatim)..... I feel welcomed. I do as much mise en place as I can carry, although I made many more trips that I cared to count throughout the hour.
There is nothing in the pantry, I wanted to do a mushroom farro risotto, there's no farro, there's not even any arborio, I wanted to an apple/kale salad with an apple vinegarette, no apple cider vinegar, no apple juice, nada. I wanted to do oven roasted caramelized asparagus simple with parmesan, sea salt and pepper, no asparagus. I wanted to do a roulade, no mallet. No fresh herbs, only dried. No whisk. I want to sanitize my knife after butterflying the chix, no sanitizer (thankfully I was gifted a second chef knife not too long ago and had the foresight to pack it with me).
So I pounded the chix with a bottle of sirracha stuffed it with a spinach, garlic, feta, oregano and cottage cheese (I had to something with the shit) filling. I made the risotto out of long grain rice (WTF the only other grain in the house was some quinoa). the salad was finely shredded kale, miniature dices of apple, grilled endive, candied pecans in a balsamic/agave(no honey) vingarette. The kitchen was a bear, there was only one burner open at any given time. I heated my stock (thank god they had that!) and put it on the grill to keep warm (which I would have used had it not been chock full of veggies being grilled), I sauted my garlic/spinach filling, pulled that, started my risotto, pulled the risotto off to pan sear the roulades (luckily I found a free shelf in one of the ovens to finish them) put the risotto back on, still not done but I had to get my pan gravy done so I pulled it again, got risotto back on with 15 minutes left and just barely got the risotto done. Oh, at some point I sliced, thymed and roasted the portobello. At another point I had to give up my broth space on the grill so I put it on top of the oven, problem was it was so high I could not safely lift the ladle out of it so every time I needed to add more I had to pull the thing down, awkward, at best.
The other candidate was one of the cooks there (big disadvantage for me) and she was a half hour ahead of me in the staggered process. She also had the advantage of being at the end of the line and right in front of the ovens/range. What I saw of her dish was simple grilled chix (way to put yourself out there, girl) with some sort of white sauce (cottage cheese.... yummm) and a salad, I didn't see what she did for a starch. I passed her while she was plating and commented that it looked awesome, which it did (she was doing all sorts of squiggles and dots on a black platter).
I walk the green mile from kitchen to meeting room, some young busgirls comment how nice it was for me to bring them lunch....I tell them "not now, I'm about to get chopped" and they laugh and say "save us some either way" (thanks girls, for the confidence boost). I made it to the interview just as she was walking out, we wished each other luck and I presented my dish and bumbled my way through the interview. To the question of what do you consider your greatest asset I replied, resourcefulness..... and then someone bought up that they had seem me pounding my chicken with the sirracha bottle and illustrated the point for me.
I suck at interviews, I'm fine one on one but put me before a group of people (panel of five) and I clam up or just start randomly muttering totally unrelated gibberish. I was grateful for the whole basket thing (my kitchen doesn't do them) because it kept my mind off how much I suck at interviewing in the days leading up to the interview (rescheduled 4 times) which would have made it even worse. I'm asked where I could be reached and dismissed at 2:30.
I run through the inteview a thousand times in my head.... FUCK! I forgot to add parmesan to the risotto... and just how to you get creamy out of long grain rice?...did I forget I made a killer pilaf?....damn, I should have said this or that..... I come up with six different examples of my mentoring when I couldn't come up with one during the interview. In the ensuing hours I check my cell every 15 minutes just to make sure I didn't not hear the ring....at 5PM I get the call.
It starts " Hi Sic (defaultia equivalent), this is Jill, from Name Withheld" (like I didn't know who she was, why she was calling and wasn't waiting with baited breath and sweaty nuts to hear from her).
"Ummmm" (oh no, I think to myself)... "Chef and I agree you bring an awful lot to the table and would like to offer you the position".
I start in two weeks, the first thing I'm going to do is grab that bottle of sirracha and probably have it bronzed. Oh and I'm glad the other candidate and I were cordial since I'm now her boss.
"Enjoy every sandwich" - W. Zevon