A Day in the Life

     I wrote this 7 years ago, I sure don’t miss days like this now. It’s funny, at the end of this blog I wrote,” I wouldn’t want it any other way”. It’s crazy how different you think and feel when you are 7 years older!

Thought it would be interesting to do a day in the life of. I decided last Saturday to take notes about the day, thoughts, etc. and let everyone have small glimpse into a day in the kitchen. Before we go into the details of Saturday, lets put the week in context. It was a busy week, already sitting at about 60 hours since Tuesday. Friday was very busy, but I was able to get home by 10:00 p.m. Knowing I had to be up at 5:00 a.m. I did what any cook would do, open a bottle of wine and watch house hunters on t.v.! Well by 12:30 a.m., halfway through the show”Location, Location, Location” I realized I had better get to bed before I regretted this! And that brings us to Saturday:

4:50 a.m. I always seem to wake up before the alarm. Works out well as I can start getting my day organized. Today I have a breakfast delivery, two lunch deliveries, an appetizer pick up, and dinner service to organize. Today though, I realize the wine the night before perhaps wasn’t the best idea.

5:15 a.m. Washed and out of the house, heading to work. This early I need some high energy music to get me going; some Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Yes, I know it weird, but it works for me!

5:25 a.m. At the restaurant, put on the coffee, take some back pills, and get to work

5:30 a.m. Ovens on, flat top on; need to bake of muffins and scones (already set up for me by the pastry chef). For breakfast I am going to make a potato-asparagus hash, top it with some duck eggs from 6 Masters Farm. To finish I make a cream sauce and finish it with Agassiz Farm House brie cheese. A couple of fruit platters, load the van, and off I go!

6:45 Arrive at Thunderbird Show park, unload breakfast, load up yesterdays lunch dishes, and head back to restaurant. Oh how I love day old dishes. The way everything is caked on, requiring scrubbing, soaking, and more scrubbing. Oh well, living the dream!

7:30 a.m. back at the restaurant, time to prepare for the lunch delivery. But first need to make some red onion marmalade for an afternoon delivery. As everyone who works long days knows, the hands start to go-and so did 20lbs jullienned red onions-all over the floor. No 3 second rule here, time to quickly cut some more. Onions cut, need some oil. Oh nice, spilled that on the floor. The only worse than cleaning up oil of the floor is cleaning up broken eggs! Oh well, living the dream!

9:00 a.m. Prep cook arrives, second pot of coffee brewing, and few more back pills. First lunch delivery leaves at 11:00 a.m. making sandwiches, broccoli soup with Agassiz cheddar. Excited to use some of the marinated and smoked pork sirloin I made earlier in the week. Have some roasted JD Farms turkey out of the oven to use as well. Meanwhile time to start reducing the stocks for tonights dinner menu. Have some lamb stock and roasted chicken stock that will be reduced till very concentrated, then finished with a little butter at service.

11:00 a.m. Shannon goes off with the lunch delivery, now to start working on second lunch delivery. Prep cook is scrubbing mussels, hate it when people serves mussels that haven’t been cleaned properly! I start assembling platter for second lunch delivery. We are doing platters of house rosted meats, local cheeses, and homemade mayo for sandwiches. All the meats are from local animals we butcher ourselves-no preservatives or nitrates here! I’m still feeling the effects of last nights wine, feet are aching now, legs starting to go numb-living the dream! Shannon returns from delivery to tell me tomorrows cocktail party has gone from 30 to 57 people, time to start scrounging around to make this happen(It will eventually end up being for 75 people!)

12:00 p.m. Time to sit down for lunch and enjoy my new guilty pleasure on busy days  – a triple O burger and milk shake. This is heaven, I mean you have no idea how much happiness this brings on a busy stressful day.

12:30 p.m. Lunch over, help pack up the 1:00 delivery. Time to change the music station as we are now hearing the same songs repeat themselves. The lack of sleep is making it hard to look at the big picture. It’s at this point I have to start really breaking my day down to 2 hour increments, organizing my prep sheet accordingly. It looks like a nice day outside-people must be enjoying themselves. Oh well, I am here-living the dream.

1:00 p.m. Shannon leaves with second lunch delivery. Now just an appetizer pick up and dinner to go. Before I get going on this though I need to place some orders with farms for next week. I quickly scan next weeks catering and email off a few orders. Time for another pot of coffee (I kid you not). The appetizers are pretty much prepped and ready to go. Just need some final assembly and write out reheating and plating instructions.

2:30 p.m. Appetizers gone, time to get home for a couple of hours and rest up. This is something I would not have done a few years ago, but have come to realize that this business is a marathon and not a sprint. To all the young cooks out there, take time to rest when you can. I used to “man up” and let the kitchen ego take over, work ungodly hours to show everyone that I was a kitchen stud. Now I have a shelf full of muscle relaxants, anti inflamitories, and joint care medication. So GO HOME when you can, work smarter NOT longer!

4:30 p.m. Nap is over. Back in the van on the way to work. Not a pretty sight, naps make me a foul and miserable person to be around. Cooks draw straws to see who is going to wake me up from naps. That poor sacrificial cook, he knows his career here could be cut short if now done just right. It needs to be a nice, gentle awakening, a quiet whisper”chef, its time to get up” not a “hey dude, let’s get going, the dining rooms about to rock”.

5:00 p.m. Open for dinner. Looking slow tonight, but we do have a chef’s table. A new couple, first time at the restaurant-found us through groupon. The first couple of orders come in. Man 4 people felt like 40 people, but their happy. Chef table arrives. Most bills are cleared by the time they begin eating. As I serve them their meals their enthusiasm begins to show. This is the best thing about the chefs table, I get to see first hand the customers reactions. As the meal progresses I learn more about them, and they about me. A connection is formed that not many chefs get to share with their customers. We talk about families, past food experiences, what we all cook at home, food likes and dislikes. By the time this chef’s table leaves, like so many before, a food relationship is born. It really is a high having an experience like that with a chef’s table. When people leave here, having shared my love and enthusiasm for food, I soon forget about the spilled onions and vegetable oil, the aches and pains, and the steadily growing cocktail party tomorrow. Yes, this is living the dream.

10:00 p.m. Dishwasher quite last night (It was her first night!)so my Son is finishing the dishes while I scrub down the line. Floors need to be swept and mopped, sinks cleaned, garbage run out.

10:30 p.m. In the van and heading home. Will get some sleep tonight and be back at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow to do it all over again. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.