Friday, April 15, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Professional Cook Continues...

...Continued from previous post.

First things first. I quickly whip up a timeline. Like any good cook who has worked long enough in restaurant kitchens, I know that spending a few minutes getting organized and planning out the work will save me an eternity of chaos and disarray. Besides, knowing that I know what needs to be done and when also puts me at ease. The last thing I want to do is run around the kitchen like a headless chicken at crunch time.

A prep list is also quickly conjured up. Although it seems incredibly long, that feeling of being able to tick tasks off as they are completed is almost therapeutic.

Now onto the work itself. I start with the things that take the longest to get done. This seems obvious enough but if I pay no heed to this simple principle, it will bite me in the ass later.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Professional Line Cook


Shit! It's 9:30 a.m. and I have just about half an hour to make it to work. Mustering up the little energy I have left after last night's rush, I convince myself to get out of bed. However, the task of waking up is only half complete; my mind is still predominantly asleep. A hot cup of coffee can do wonders for a sleepy soul and I quickly brew myself one. Off into the loo I go, grabbing the morning paper on the way.

This has become something of a ritual over the years as it must be for millions of people all over the world, I presume. Any deviation to this plan--say, if I run out of milk or the newspaper isn't delivered on time--and my day suddenly feels like it's been turned upside down.

It's winter in New York City and painfully cold at that. I slip into my only piece of warm clothing, a thick black leather jacket, and step outside. The restaurant is only six blocks away, a brisk ten minute walk, but I have only 12 minutes to get my butt inside the kitchen in full uniform. So I haul a cab and go the expensive route, which has lately become something of a habit that I'm not very proud of.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ten Ingredients I Couldn't Live Without

Picture Tom Hanks in the movie 'Castaway' except I, Tom Zac, play the lead, and it's real life.

It is highly unlikely that I'd be stranded on a deserted island in my short lifetime. Considering the irratic climatic changes and economic hurdles that plague the world today, the chances of drastic food shortage in the near future appear to be much greater. But let's imagine that I do get marooned somehow.

I'm a lot fatter than Tom was at the start of the movie but I hopefully will go through the same weight loss program he did. I wake up not remembering how I got washed ashore this rather strange looking land. All I know is that I'm alone, I see no signs of civilization anywhere around, and my iPhone doesn't work. Uh oh.