Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the way the schnitzel crumbles...

a teaser post; I cannot help myself.

Friday NRL game night, at an undisclosed European bar and grill located in the vicinity of the Entertainment Quarter:

"We're going to get raped..." he whispers to himself, visibly trembling. I just started on Tuesday and the week has been pretty dead so far; but it is the weekend.

"We're going to get raped..." the chicken schnitzel chef repeats to himself (there is one chef for each kind of schnitzel); agitating to sort out his mis en place (means 'put in place'; everything a chef prepares to get ready for service). I've met crazy, but this guy has lost it.

He comes over to my garde manger (salad) section; still speaking in hushed tones.

"The boss doesn't like us doing it, but I'm going to start precooking off some now..."

It's 30 minutes before the restaurant opens; how many are you going to cook off?

"maybe I start with 10 kilos" *runs away*

what. the. F.

The Footy Rush. 3000 covers in about 2 hours. The docket machine starts chiming away; Schnitzel. 4 Schnitzel, table of 16 all schnitzels; pork, veal, chicken - I leave my section to help out my poor chicken friend trying to fit gigantic portions of beaten, crumbed fillets into a bratt pan that at most can fit 6 in one go. The dockets keep reeling, all over the floor; a bit more than a meter long. Someone pauses to replace the paper in the machine; it's out. *uck me it's only 10 minutes into service. I'm going to vomit.

The coolroom that keeps these schnitzel is the size of half a tennis court. By the end of the night, it's empty.

Lasted a month in that place.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I've got my rock moves

Being a chef is not glamorous.

12 hour split shifts (if you can call an hour break between 3pm to 4pm a split), no weekends out, constant exposure to cuts, burns and deadlines - all for close to minimum wage.

So why do I do it?

Love for food? No; I could have just cooked at home, without the pressure, on my day off (which would be a Saturday for normal people).

The rockstar image? Thanks to the many celebrity chefs out there (whom should I add many of them spend very little time in their own kitchen; but I have the highest respects for those who do) - I do admit there is a certain charm with the look someone gives you when you say you are a chef - but at what cost?

For me? It is because I am accepted. There is a culture in the kitchen that no one can understand - the etiquette of normal society do not apply in the kitchen; you get a kind of team atmosphere that you see with team sports on ESPN (which, honestly, if I had the talent would have been my preferred profession), with more vulgarity (amongst other things that can happen behind closed doors). But yet, a certain respect and discipline when it comes to the food.

And I get to play with some very expensive, exclusive ingredients. For free.

And in this line of work, the beer tastes better than you can ever imagine.

Welcome to Vue de Cuisinier - the foodie that will put up with rubbish for pay and a soul-draining lifestyle, just to be around food all the time, for God knows what reason.

I hope that revelation comes soon.

Official Blog launches on the 2nd August 09 - Stay Tuned