I wasn’t going to write tonight. I’m truly so tired that it hurts to think. But then I remembered all of those times that I searched for a blog from the Culinary Program and came up almost empty. People have good intentions but then they get here and they get busy and they get tired and the blog slips away. I won’t let that happen… not yet anyway.
Today was my first day in the kitchen. I dressed out in my chef whites and headed to Port Orleans Riverside. Upon arrival, I met one of the chefs and was told that I would be working on the salad/sandwich/soup/carving station with Shannon. I was then issued an instant read thermometer, a box cutter and a cutting glove and sent to my station. Shannon was great. She is a culinary student from New Jersey and is headed back there soon. The salad/soup/sandwich stations are action stations so prep basically involved getting everything ready to go. We loaded up the salad station items, grilled off 10 flank steaks (for the wonderful Beef n’ Bleu sandwich), grilled about 2 dozen chicken breasts, made turkey pinwheels, cut ciabatta bread and caramelized a rondeau full of onions. Then we got our first break of the day.
Breaks here are interesting in that you don’t clock out. Am I getting paid for them? I don’t know. I find it weird that we have an hour of on the clock breaks. Not what I’m used to. After break we loaded up our station and headed out to spend the next 5 hours making guests happy. At this point, I was mostly slicing beef, dicing chicken, making sandwiches, etc. Nothing difficult or stressful and within a couple of hours, I felt comfortable. I did really love getting to be out with the guests and hearing about the fun they were having. By the end of my shift, I was taking orders, filling them and even occasionally chatting with my coworkers.
Speaking of coworkers, I have some wonderful ones. Several are LCB students. My favorite so far is Victoria – a lady who is older than me and from LCB in Austin. Sadly, she leaves soon and I will miss her. She lives in the same apartment complex as me and I’m certain that we will become fast friends. And she has a car. This means I don’t have to take the 90 minute bus ride home as long as we’re working the same shift. This is a VERY good thing.
When I start a job, what always amazes me is how tired you are for the first couple of weeks. Eventually, you get used to it and the fatigue doesn’t get you but at first, well… I almost feel sick after just one day. My arm is aching from slicing beef, my feet are killing me and my legs and back…… oofta.
I also need to figure out my eating. I run in the early mornings and then have a banana or something before I leave. Our first break is at 10:00 a.m. and I’m not really hungry. Today I had an orange. But then, we don’t get another break until 4:00 p.m. By then I’m starving. We actually take our second 30 minute break 30 minutes before we clock out. This gives us a chance to go to Cast Services, use our daily meal ticket to get a snack and change our dirty uniforms in for clean ones before we stop getting paid. Not terrible.. but wow those 6 hours in the middle seem long.