Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lessons learned so far

I am completely in awe of the daring feats I've witnessed in the kitchens these past few weeks, the hoisting of molten hot stockpots, wresting of hotel pans, the incessant prepping and cleaning followed by bursts of cooking then more cleaning.

As a diner/critic, I always appreciated the effort that goes into turning raw ingredients into something that takes your breath away. But being part of the process -- a very small, inadequate part -- has only deepened that admiration.

I know I'm mostly in the way. That it's a pain to have someone so green in the mix. Still, I try to make up for my inadequacies by being willing to do anything, trying to jump in and be helpful when I can.

Here's the Top 5 things I've learned so far:

The best way to dice an onion/shallot.

The importance of having a sharp knife (see above) and bringing those knives to work.

How to use a fork to quickly strip cilantro/parsley leaves from stems.

The finer points of kitchen talk: Comin' through hot/sharp! Behind you. Family meal's up! (Do not be shy because when it's gone, it's gone.)

To overcome my fear of flour, thanks to the nurturing and crazy talented bread department.

There's so much more, but that's a start. Would it be too dramatic to say my brief stint in the kitchen has forever changed me? Well, it has. I hope for the better. In a perfect world, every restaurant critic should spend some time on the other side. Or should they?

1 comment:

Heidi on Vashon said...

Cilantro with a fork--duh why didn't I think of that before?! Yeah! Now I can tell my chef husband that Leslie taught me a new trick. Seriously! I dont know how many times he's watching me painstakingly pluck off leaf after leaf. Thank you, lady.