Under Fire: I made it through the first week!

Our former Cafe Society intern just decided to chuck college in favor of a real education: as a sous chef. In Under Fire, he chronicles his daily trials and tribulations in the kitchen. Saturday was the day of reckoning -- but fortunately, no lives were lost.

It was a long day, starting with the farmers' market at 8 a.m. But you're not NOT going to buy Honeycrisp apples the second you see them. (They are the most delicious apples ever. Obviously the one Eve must've eaten.)

I finally ambled into the restaurant at around 11:30, and was the only one there for over three hours. This was strange, cool and eerie. I prepped away, working hard as my feet took the brunt of my soreness. I'm still getting used to 55+ hour weeks. (And this is a light week for the average kitchen person, I realize).

But all that was a minor note in the symphony focusing on my first night on saute. While we weren't slammed, it wasn't dead -- luckily, I didn't fuck up so horribly that the restaurant would have to close forever. My biggest misstep was that I forgot to fire a chicken at the right time. So I'm calling saute a success and leaving it at that.

We started cleaning for the days off (we closed on Labor Day!), which led to an awkward revelation. The crew was breaking down and I was doing the same. I ran into the walk-in to wrap up something, and when I came out, both mops were being used -- leaving me watching the crew as they worked. It doesn't sound like much, but in a split-second I realized that as sous, I could begin doing other things (working on a prep list, a final walk through the walk-in), and people wouldn't think I was dodging responsibility. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.

The first week is now history and I'm still standing. And what is it that I'm feeling? Satisfaction? Yeah. I'm feeling good. Holy shit, I made it through the first week.

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Tyler Nemkov
Contact: Tyler Nemkov