Key West, FL - I come in between eleven and twelve, the trashcans are pulled from the sidewalks, the gate is closed and cleaned, through the kitchen window I notice several tickets hanging from the board. Hispanic and non-Hispanic cooks have their heads down and execute the same dishes the same way they have been instructed. I organize the reach in refrigerator and make sure all the refrigerators are COLD. Inventory the food in the kitchen and dry storage and check the produce delivery against my order from last night, the strawberries and raspberries are plump and juicy, the bananas free of brown spots and the snow peas, sweet.
The fish order arrives and the tuna is colored a deep dark red with no bloodline, the scallops smell sweet and Fish Busters (our fish monger) sent us some fresh Wahoo. I sign for the orders and write the checks, make sure there are clean rags for the kitchen crew and make sure we have everything we need for the nights service. I help the guys bang out whatever prep we need and start to organize a fun plate of food that will help make service go smoothly for a special that night.
I take an hour break, grab some wonderful carne asada tacos from Bad Boy Burrito with Megan and go get ready for dinner service. When I return I notice one of the cooks, the hardest worker in the whole place, cleaning the lettuce the hard way, the stupid way, even though there’s a hundred other shortcuts he could take but won’t because it’s not the “right” way. The special looks and tastes amazing, is ridiculously cheap, and makes my life on sauté a peach. Tickets come in fast enough to keep the kitchen busy but not so fast we loose focus on each dish.
The kitchen closes. I grab some beers for the guys, check the fish and produce orders and help clean EVERYTHING. On the bike ride home the wind is at my back and all the lights are green.
Note: that happens about twice a month, kinda like payday. Merry Christmas All.