Under Fire: No punchas hoy!

¿Ya punchas?

No vato. No hoy.

Yeah, it's different not actually clocking into work. Not counting hours is both a little nerve racking and suspiciously liberating. You kinda just focus on tasks, and time just disappears; it's over when the last mop is wrung out.

But how I do or don't punch in greatly pales to the real tasks at hand. There's this final goal in sight (to essentially run a kitchen) that makes me antsy like Bobby Flay when he's separated from blue corn if I focus on it alone.

It's all about the baby steps; today, chef and I went through a meat order for the weekend. These are the things you can't learn in culinary school, a book or anywhere else besides that specific kitchen.

And maybe I failed trig in high school, but there is some advanced pseudo-math when I'm staring at eight burgers in the walk-in and thinking, "So I have eight here. There's another eight out on the station which will leave us good. And it's a slow weekend, so we'll be alright. But if the burgers go on a run, then we're caught with our pants down..."

We decide on five more pounds of beef, along with about 25 steaks (if we sell out on Saturday, we sell out) and some samples to play around with. We're a smaller restaurant with a smaller menu, so ordering slightly too much is better than having to 86 something early in the night. We're set, at least meat-wise, for the weekend.

What isn't set yet is the skill set I need to work the saute. I can grab a pan, heat the oil, salt and pepper the chicken easily; it's just doing that and haricot verts and oh-yeah-re-fire-this and two-more-risottos NOW that I'm anxious about.

Tomorrow will be an important day, because if we can get a big hit, I plan on getting through my pantry tickets like I'm on some sort of amphetamine, then jumping over to saute to actually feel some volume.

It's just like driving a car for the first time; you can think about it and read about it and prepare all you want, but you just gotta fucking do it to actually get it.

Here we go.

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