Adventures in food service

In typical fashion, I juggled not one, but two internships at the same time, which left little time for blogging.

The Restaurant
The restaurant was ridiculously fun. I was expecting a brigade of foul-mouthed, testosterone-filled cooks, and instead I worked with the nicest, most respectful guys I’ve ever met. We’ve become quite the posse, despite my not working there anymore. The past three months have somehow disappeared in a blur of over-eating, over-drinking and staying up way too late, but I have no regrets whatsoever.

My last night there was really fun – neither of executive chefs were there, and it was just the brigade joking around and having fun. I brought in homemade apple pie for everyone. Instead of the crap staff meal that we usually eat with the waitstaff, Paul made homemade pasta with giant prawns and shitake mushrooms, and it was Delicious. The brigade sat in the kitchen and ate and laughed, and it was wonderful.

Restaurant life itself has its pros and cons:
PRO: I start work at 3 pm.
CON: I finish work at 11 pm, often midnight.

PRO: Every night is different from the last, meaning that I’m never bored.
CON: Sometimes it’s hard to prepare for a service, which drives me crazy.

PRO: The guys on the line give me all the leftovers – foie gras, venison, duck, pork, potatoes, artichokes, lobster, etc.
CON: The guys on the line give me all the leftovers (see above).

Overall, I had a blast. Chef is super-cool, often comes dancing/drinking with us, and is usually good for a round or two of drinks. He has also asked me to come back periodically when they’re short-staffed, which is a compliment to say the least.

The Chocolate Shoppe
While I was working five days a week at the restaurant, I also worked one day a week at the chocolate shop(pe). I got to see the Valentine’s Day sappiness (chocolate hearts galore, decorated with red marzipan, gold dragees, elegant chocolate script…you get the idea), which was silly but kind of fun. Since finishing at the restaurant, I’ve been three days a week at the shop.

And I’ve had it up to here with chocolate bunny rabbits.

However, I’ve gotten way more comfortable with chocolate, and I have more leeway to be creative here. I’ve made some cool chocolate sculptures (a bunny rabbit pastry chef, easter castles, truffle trees for marzipan chickens), and got a chance to practice making fancy bonbons, which is harder than you might think.

Strangely enough, the staff at the chocolate shop – being mostly women, with one guy – are way raunchier and ruder than at the restaurant. Counter-intuitive.

ANNOUNCEMENT: I have reached my pastry/chocolate/rich french food limit. I just can’t eat it anymore. This makes me sad, but is probably a good thing in the long run.

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