Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2 weeks down as Pantry Cook!

Well, it's been 2 whole weeks since I started training as Pantry Cook at Long Boat Key Club and I've learned so much about how the kitchen actually operates behind the scenes!

<-- pic of my station set up

So much goes into manning your station (especially when it's just you)!
I am solely in charge of making sure all of my prep (making sauces, dressings, gazpacho, roasted pears, peas, fried leeks, dips, and other salad accompaniments) are fresh and tasty each day! Along with that, I am responsible for letting management know of any ingredient we've run out of (or preferably are running low on). I'm in charge of reordering all pastries for both lunch and dinner the following day as well as checking on our supply of gelato and sorbets! It's a lot of work especially when I have to come up with a unique amuse Bouche every night, prepare lunch and pool-side meals during my prep time (2:30-4), and help out with prep for specials (which change every 3 days), not to mention memorizing all the various ways to plate each item and which plate to use!! Plus room service, keeping my section of the fridge/pantry clean and cleaning / sanitizing my entire station before I leave each night.
Ha! I keep thinking of other stuff...

To the right is a pic of my pantry station in its entirety, yep, this is where I spend my days! -->

It is a lot to keep on top of and if you forget something you definitely pay for it the following day! All in all a great experience.

And for those who are curious- you definitely need real behind the line time - just taking culinary courses will NOT prepare you for this kind of work! It's great to have that knowledge, especially as they rotate you through the different stations, assign you specials to come up with, ask you to do fancy knife cuts for the Chef Table dinners, or make anything you can think of "on the fly", etc.

Time management and being well-organized are probably the most needed traits one should have working in any kitchen. Plus the sense to know when you need to remake any of the elements of a dish, and being able to order the necessary ingredients (if needed) and remake the product before it turns.

All of this responsibility does make for a fast-paced day, and the employee lunches are pretty awesome.

I am nervous for "season" when more and more guests will start coming for dinner! I've got about a month to get all my kinks worked out before the madness begins!

<--To end, a pic of last night's amuse bouche: purple fingerling potato chip (fried in duck fat), topped with sea salt, chorizo slice, gouda cheese, cilantro and avocado oil!


Margaret Stoney said...

Your new job looks super awesome! Glad you are learning a lot and getting some good experience. I was a pantry/saute cook in college. I was no pro, but it was a LOT of work, especially on the weekends. This might be a dumb question, but...what's a "amuse Bouche"?

kdemay14 said...

Yeah! That's awesome Lauren. Next time I come down there I'm going to go to your restaurant! You'll do great.

Daphers said...

That is so crazy! thanks for posting this insight into your life. I can't wait until you're on Top Chef one day! heheee

Lauren McElroy said...

@Margo - great question, and the answer is just a scroll downwards, to my post about exactly that from 9/15/12