The Cast of Characters & Quick Guide to the Story

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Somewhere in Hell's Kitchen

Elephant garlic pate with pretzels and veggies.
Part of me feels like I'm not being quite truthful by writing under the guise of "sea cookery" when I'm no longer at sea (not in the physical sense, anyway), but I am applying for positions on tall ships and hoping one will work out. In the meantime, I've been enjoying NYC. Because I know it's temporary, that I am not confined to an apartment in a block in the middle of a gridlocked city, I'm able to relax and see it as a kind of vacation.

In my spare time I've been eating at all my old haunts. Franny's had a dish on the menu I fell in love with called Agrodolce. They have since taken it off the menu, so I gave it shot and replicated it at home - baked butternut squash, purple fingerling potatoes and golden potatoes, tossed in a vermouth-vinegar-maple sauce with currants, then broiled for another 15 minutes and topped with toasted pecans. It wasn't exactly like theirs, but was a good enough substitute to feed me for three days.

I've also been having a lot of fun working at Somewhere - (my stage name for my friend Al's new restaurant in Hell's Kitchen). Famous people like Doogie Howser, Meredith from The Office, and a certain infamous ex-governor and his family have all eaten within our walls. We're reviewed pretty highly on Open Table, so people are finding us!

As far as my work goes, there's never a dull moment. I've worked as host, runner, server-in-training, prep cook, and dun-dat-a-dun! - this week I started as Garde Manger - essentially the cold foods part of the line. I was prepared for some of the responsibilities beforehand, since it's an easy position to watch from the "pass," the place in the kitchen where the wait staff picks up dishes. It's my job to assemble  dishes like the caviar plate, the carrot timbale, and the beet and horseradish salad. On my first day I made the candied nuts with garlic chips and the chef said my plating of the garlic pate was one of the best she'd seen yet.

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