Final Update Foursquare

Sorry for my absence! Family in town, and I was working the evening shift waiting tables so I got home really late.

Anyway, working in the front of the house was a very different experience. Running back and forth, trying to watch a bunch of tables for checks or empty water glasses or plates to be bussed. A lot of fun though.

Final reflection: as I stated last week, I didn’t go into this looking for deep life lessons. But as before, there were a few things to learn. The wait staff emphasizes teamwork above all else. When your table runs out of water, refill everyone else’s too. Help carry out the meals. If you’re not busy, clean glasses so everyone else can leave sooner. It was a friendly environment filled with camaraderie.

Four Square Weekend Wrapup

Wow, Saturday evening was crazy busy. I hadn’t even walked through door when I was sent out to the garden to pick some herbs. The atmosphere was tense, although Raphael alone seemed unconcerned. The breadth of his knowledge on both Spanish pop and Broadway musicals is impressive, but as far as I could tell he only knew about one verse deep in all of them. I had a great deal of fun watching the pros in the front of the kitchen create dozens of dishes with machine-like efficiency while at the same time taking care to make sure each plate was pleasantly presented. Alas, I was in the back when some corn “exploded” while being cooked in oil. As the evening went on and guests got served, the staff was able to relax and I was able to ask questions about how the waitstaff and chefs coordinate the meals.

I think that I am supposed to list some deep philosophical insights at the end of the week. Don’t have any- it’s a restaurant, not a monastery. Still, I was impressed with two things: first, the independence given to the cooking staff. They were given tasks and timetables, and held to very high standards, but it was up to them how to get their food out there. Perhaps I was given the wrong impression by ‘reality’ TV, but I had imagined that Shane or Kyle (the man in charge of the cooking when Shane is out) would constantly be stalking through the kitchen, looking for mistakes and laying on the metaphorical last. The second thing that I noticed was the lack of conflict between the staffs. The chefs gave food to the waiters who joked with the dishwashers who mocked the chefs. No one seemed to be above the others in how they treated one another.

 

…and a nice chianti (Four Square update three)

Nothing too amazing or exciting these last couple days, which is probably good because it is a restaurant after all. Chief chef Shane is visiting a friend, so the atmosphere is a little less jovial. Lots of slicing, dicing, frying, boiling, and fetching. I learned a pretty cool tip for baking bread: if you put some ice in the oven, the steam that is formed will ensure that the crust is thin yet crunchy. I also worked in the garden and helped make some lemonade for the kitchen staff.

This evening I’m switching things up a little bit. I’m going to work with the serving staff, learning how they handle orders and divide up tasks. Should be fun!

Ah, the title. I’ve been preparing a whole lot of fava beans recently, and, well, that’s what I was thinking of the whole time.

Four Square: Entry Two

Hi there loyal reader(s)! In the last couple days working at the restaurant, chief chef Shane has recognized my numerous talents and increased my responsibilities accordingly. It was I whom he entrusted with the vital task of going out to buy apples, and I did it without getting lost once! And my slow-but-steady prep work provided mountains of garlic and peas for the more experienced chefs.

Today was even bigger. I scrambled three (3) entire eggs. \Those were used in some delicious wontons, which I folded. Shane gave me the recipe, promising that it was guaranteed to impress the ladies. I also minded the risotto, Had I failed at my post, the entire dish would have been ruined.

And I did it all without further injuries (well I cut my finger again but that was while trying to pull my keys out of my jean pocket in the parking lot).

Four Square Restaurant: Day 1

For my senior project, I am working at Four Square restaurant, a local purveyor of fine cuisine.

Today I arrived, put on my spiffy uniform, and got to down to business. It was primarili mundane tasks, simple jobs so that I would get to know the layout and rules of the kitchen (such as shouting “Behind!” or “On your six!” whenever moving through the aisles). I have to say, walk-in freezers can be quite scary; there’s always that moment when you think the door is stuck and you’ll be trapped. Or maybe it’s just me. Anyways, back to what I did. I shelled and braised many, many peas. My knife skills improved drastically over the course of only a couple hours. I was quite proud the extremely small pieces of garlic I created. Who has poor fine motor skills now, mom? Among other accomplishments, I peeled and sliced potatoes, boiled eggs, made soup stock, and prepped yellow beans. Finally, I learned how to make steak tartare.

Injury total so far: two burns, one knife nick.