Kitchen Meats Fun
A couple of words have already been written about the kitchen in a 160-seat restaurant we had a chance to work in for a week. Each of us was challenged in a different way; for some it was the prepping, for some the serving, for some the language and for me, it was definitely the amount of meat the kitchen was handling. From the very first day, I got the impression that the most of the dishes were meat-based. Later, the folks at the restaurant admitted to their soft spot for meat quite openly. The menu heavily relies on fish, ham and steaks, which, naturally, means a lot of pains had to be put to prepping the meat.
Luckily, and I would say thanks to the merciful head of the kitchen, I didn’t have to dismember a huge chunk of cow with a saw. What I got from him, however, was an extremely funny theatre scene of him carrying the half of a cow. To pepper his daily routine probably, he caught my attention, slowed his pace as if under the burden of the load, accompanying the scene with a sneer. Very funny indeed. The same applies to the enactment of beastly carnivorous behaviour over raw ham. For me, the stunts got simply older, just like they had been even before he started. But, in a tough environment like a kitchen you can never show weakness, so I only shrugged it off.
On the second day, we were distributed to different stations and this time, my luck shone bright. I was placed under the supervision of a chef garde manger, i.e. the cook in charge of hors d’oeuvres, starters, salads, pates and what not that needs to be kept in a fridge before serving. Chopping greens, with pleasure. Arranging a plate of appetizers, putting little oily fish in a bowl, easy enough.
Steak tartare or raw beef. A delicacy for every gourmet, I hear. Not only did I not fully understand the sense of someone eating raw meat, I was also not teeming with joy, when I had to stand up to the task of dicing frozen slices of raw beef. And very raw and pink at that. I decided to think of it as strawberry ice cream. And, the ice cream was melting damn fast, so with my few and very newly-acquired professional cutting experiences, the dicing became impossible. The chef who observed me, fortunately, lost his patience and actually saved me by taking over from there on.
Hand me in a loaf of roasted meat, send me to the cutter to cut it into ham and the high spirits for the rest of the evening are guaranteed. As it was a rare meat, there was no way I could picture something else, so I just shut up and went on with the job, fuming.
It would be utterly unfair to say that there were no vegetarian options or the people are not tolerant. After all, I was granted a big, sort of relieving hug from the head of the kitchen. I still am not keen on tasting any of the delicacies I was made to prep. Neither do I want to have them under my nails (yuck!). What I learned from the day is the importance of numbness, which can help one accept the work in the kitchen like it is. But, it also helped me figure out that I don’t want to be numb.
For some reason, there is a commonly shared and deeply rooted fear of meat eaters that we strive to emotionally blackmail and eventually change them. Well, we would like to see the world go more pro-vegetarian, true. And mostly, there is a complex of reasons why. Do you think that by poking fun at somebody you actually would miraculously change someone’s mind? And for those that still find it a funny way to “knock some sense into us”, I have a message: It doesn’t work.TAGS: kitchen, kristina, meat, raw beef, steak tartare, vegetarians