Today was different. I knew Chef M and A would not be here, and that I'd be working with the sous chef D. Which was fine.
I got to the prep kitchen late - I'd missed the express bus and had to take the trains. It didn't matter - the kitchen was locked. So, I went across the street to the café, thinking that D would be there. Nope. In fact, almost no one was there (not too surprising - the cafeé opens for brunch at 10AM and it was just past 9.) Turns out, D wasn't expected until eleven. Meanwhile, things were very slow, so they didn't need me to do anything (I suspect I'm more trouble than help anyway, but it was true - they never had more than one table at a time.)
At eleven, they called D again. And he was stuck in traffic. So, eventually, I got a bagel and some coffee (I got the very last of the regular and, in fact, filled it in with decaf, and told F, the cashier. We make our coffee using thermal containers (coffee drips there directly). I took the empty one off, put it correctly (nozzle hanging off) on the counter, took the fresh one and put it in place.) And then D showed up. He did some inventory, got his own coffee and a bottle of vitamin water, and we went across the street. This was at 12:20. Yeah.
He told me to set up a station, so after I got into my coat and apron, I got out a cutting board and knife. And then he told me to pick beans - to top and tail string beans. Okay. He started cuttting onions, and then another young guy came in, and he and his friend chatted as they demolished half a bag of them - friend had to keep changing gloves because he had to wipe his eyes. He didn't take my advice about the vinegar, but D sharpened his knife, and that helped a lot.
I finished the green beans, and then started filleting tomatoes - I cut off the top (and any soft spots or other nastiness) and quartered them. Then I sliced off the seeds, leaving a layer of pulp over skin. This was julienned.
That done, I cut laffa bread. Laffa bread is a form of pita - in this case, very large and usually cooked on the side of a round over, or tambour. We're using this instead of baking pizza crusts. The idea was that I'd cut around an 8" diameter cardboard cake base, and cut or tear apart the resulting ring to be made into pita chips.
I dulled three chef knives doing this. Then I started using a serrated steak knife. And that worked beautifully and quickly. The second bag went very quickly. D wrapped large stacks of pita with plastic as I cut, and then I tore apart the rings and put them into a 5 gallon tub. Then I cleaned up and left. At 4:15PM.
Notes not in the blog:
D is *adorable* - skinny boy with long dark curls. His friend? The same. Like puppies.
I've been listening to rap music (and Steve Harvey's misogyny and homophobia) for weeks now. D put his own music in the iPod port. And what was his music? Rush.
This is music I love, but I have to admit - I spent a lot of the time wondering who this very familiar voice singing (occasionally) very familar songs was. Finally (when D went across the street for some reason - and brought me back an iced coffee after he asked if I wanted something, which was so very nice), I checked his iTouch. And there it was. Rush. And it all made sense. And when the Rush albums ran out? There were Rolling Stones. To which I sang. And so did he. HEE!
(And, yes, I did imagine Adam singing the Stones songs, because he sang Stones so very well.)