I walked into Carls’ Restaurant at 11 am, my mom had just driven me nearly 2 hours to begin my first day of work. I asked for Chef Don , when he arrived I didn’t understand his impatience or ignorance as I introduced myself and informed him that Carlos “told me to show up at 11 and ask for [you].” Today as I look back at that moment I imagine the conversation that must have pursued between chef and Carlos included a lot of swears!
Regardless, Chef returned minutes later and lead me upstairs to the pastry kitchen introduced me to Celeste, the pastry chef, he showed me the chef coats, check pants and aprons and told me to change and get downstairs.
At 15 I remember drowning in every coat I tried on but finally found a small, the pants I tried to tie up as I tightened my apron around them. Though they started to fall with each stair as I returned to the kitchen below. After I found Chef again, he lead me into the walk-in, grabbed a bag of thyme, turned then brought me to a steel table but down a cutting board, then instructed me to pluck each leaf from the vine, ensuring no leaves were connected at the base. He then handed me a small ramekin and told me to fill it.
As I stood there and began my Herculean task my head was spinning. The “walkin” refrigerator was racing through my mind. I had only been in there a moment, but it was enough to fill my thoughts as I tried to remember each ingredient I saw. It was a virtual supermarket of produce, poultry, beef, fish, and dairy. There were raw ingredients, dishes in various stages of prep. Chef had set up my “station” just outside this food paradise and my thyme picking only slowed as more people passed behind me getting the bits and pieces they needed to complete their ”prep”.
After admittedly a good while Chef returned to inspect my work; not only was he disappointed with my progress, I had committed the ultimate sin of having 2-3 leaves connected. To this day, I remember the force he slammed the ramekin...
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