Friday, October 9, 2009

Hot Food Porn’s Ten Scenarios of The Kitchen Life Vs. The Office Life

I thought it’d be fun to identify some of the more common affairs of working in a kitchen versus working in an office. There aren’t that many people that can normally identify with both aspects at the same time, but I oddly had the fortunate/unfortunate opportunity to do so for a good string of time.

Philosophically and literally, these jobs are night and day. I’d just like to point out that I’m not glorifying kitchen work and I am definitely not redeeming the office job. I just figure this would be kind of funny to let you in on some truthful exchanges and scenarios as told from my experiences or those of other close friends over the years...here goes.

Ten Scenarios of Office Vs. Kitchen Life:

1. What to do when you have a conflict with a dick employee:

Office: You bitch to other coworkers and friends within your office circle about how incompetent the other employee is. They agree, you feel better, but no one ever knows or cares who might be a dick, so he’ll never get fired.

Kitchen: You bitch the other person out, in the middle of service because they keep fucking up. He bitches back at you, you both feel shitty during service. He’s an asshole, but you end up drinking at the end of the night together and everything’s fine until the next night.

2. What to do when you have a conflict with your dick boss:

Office: You try to avoid him at all circumstances and get through all your work without dealing with him. You make it through the day without getting annoyed with his bullshit, but you realize you need to deal with this EVERYDAY. You feel shitty everyday pretty much because most of the time, you’re too much of a pussy to quit.

Kitchen: You keep your mouth shut and take the punishment up the ass for the entire night, it’s unavoidable. But if you want, you can tell him to go fuck himself and walk out on service. You screw everyone, but hey, this shit happens – deal with it. You feel immediately better because you know you can cook somewhere else for $15 an hour.

3. What to do when you have a conflict with other departments:

Office: Another department or vendor is seriously fucking you over with their shitty work. You start blind cc-ing your boss, their boss, administration and every Harry, Dick and Bob because you think they might back you. Everyone already knows the other guy is an idiot, but they don’t have to work with him, so ultimately they don’t care and they’re more likely to blame you anyways.

Kitchen: The waitstaff is fucking up orders all night long and sending food to the wrong tables. Forget the weeds, you’re in the fucking jungle and backed up with a ton of tickets. The chef is livid, so you get your ass chewed out, but at the same time, the chef is going to chew out the retards working the floor. You feel good when that happens, but at the end of the night, they’re flashing a wad of green in front of you.

4. What to do when drinking with fellow employees:

Office: Unless you’re living the lifestyle of Dom Draper, you drink with coworkers on happy hour once in a blue moon. It’s cool because when you do, you try to talk about anything but work. Inevitably, you talk about work, but you feel good about confiding to fellow employees. Martini, Vodka/Gin Tonic or a Heineken is what you drink.

Kitchen: You drink at the end of the night almost every other night and definitely every weekend night. You celebrate your burns, your problems and your successes that night. Every good service is an accomplishment and every bad service is a relief. Tequila, Fernet, Jameson, Bourbon and PBR is probably what you drink.

5. What to do when you hook up with a fellow employee:

Office: Nobody hears or knows about it at first. Then you tell your friend in the office and inevitably everyone knows by the end of the day.

Kitchen: Everyone knows because they were watching you two make out or leave together. They were wasted and so were you, but they weren’t blind. Nobody talks about it until you or she makes out with someone else in the near future.

6. What to do when you’ve got a mild cold or headache:

Office: You tell your boss you need to take a sick day and go home or you stay at home and watch 4 hours of shitty TV.

Kitchen: Your ass is at work. Unless you’re in a coma, in the hospital or in a funeral, you better be at work that day.

7. What do do when you’re late to work:

Office: Nobody cares unless you’re coming in late everyday. You make up your late time at the end of the day or you don’t. All is well.

Kitchen: You better call and let your chef know. Even then, you’re in the weeds with prep. This service is going to be shitty, you know it.

8. What to do when you have free time?

Office: You browse the internet and update your blog about Kitchen vs. Office life.

Kitchen: Anything except for stand around, lean or doing nothing. Wipe and clean something dumbass.

9. What to do for lunch/meal time?

Office: You go the cafeteria and you got a lot of time, but the food sucks and you pay $7 for it because you’re too lazy to drive 5 minutes for something else.

Kitchen: You inhale your family meal in 3 minutes if you have the time and appetite to eat it. The food rocks (normally), but if it doesn’t, you can eat almost anything left over at the end of service.

10. At the end of the day, what do you feel like you learned?

Office: Most days, almost nothing.

Kitchen: Most days, always something.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday Test Kitchen – Double Edition: Quince & Gold Cayenne, Oct 8th

I was thinking of doing quince desserts and shortbread cookies, but frankly I feel like I’m already getting sick of quince.   The flavor, normally known to be exquisite, is becoming rather mundane after having to taste so much of it in such a short time span.  This happened last year as well, so maybe I’m just not much of a syrupy flavor guy.  That, and my whole apartment smelled like quince on that Sunday night. 

The two dishes with quince had two separate but common underlying issues, which can be directly attributed to what I call, component assertiveness.  One of them was very correctable, the other – not so much.     

For the other segment of Test Kitchen, I cooked a bunch of fresh gold cayenne.  The gold cayenne was mainly just used to make hot sauce because for some stupid reason, I thought hot sauce making would be fun.  Don’t be mistaken - hot sauce making is still fun, but it’s the hot sauce tasting that was torturous.  I mindlessly thought I need something at home beside the casual sriracha to kick up dishes a notch, but now I’m in fear of my own creations.  Figures.

 

Onto the menu baby!

Gold Cayenne Sambal w/ sante fe chiles (for additional flavor), garlic, shallots, belacan

Smoked Gold Cayenne and Fig Jam w/ Mirasol chipotle, Cabernet reduction

Sonoma Duck with Quince Puree and Gold Beets

Smoked Bison Tataki in Muscat Poached Quince Cups w/ Pickled Watermelon Radish

 

Onto the pics:  Gold Cayenne

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I took out most of the chili insides for the sambal, but it was still spicy as all hell.  The smoked fig jam had most of the seeds and membrane, so it ended up burning like an inferno.  This was probably also because smoking the chilies seem to intensify everything.  I went through half a bag of english muffins and 3 quarts of milk that night just to hold off the heat.  I also tried to taste sriracha and classic sambal in the middle of my tasting, but at that point those sauces tasted like apple juice.  Smoky fig hot pepper jam was dangerously good – literally.

 

Quince:

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The quince cup was an utter failure despite the execution being completely flawless.  The quince was overpowering, and while, the bison stood out – it didn’t come together at all.  There were also issues with texture and flavor concentration between ingredients; it was like a war of competing flavors that should have worked, but didn’t.  This really sucked considering all the work hours needed to get such a dish done.  The duck dish was very good because the puree had the proper texture to pair with the duck and the beets added a very distinctive sweetness and necessary hint of earthiness.  If I had to do it again, I’d make the duck more assertive likely with smoking.  So the best dish to come out of both these dishes is probably a smoked duck with quince puree and a beet medley of some sort.