Under Fire: Mopping up and more rules for the sous

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. What is a sous chef, anyway? The job can look like it's one short step from the exec -- but it can also look like the opposite end of the spectrum, the bitchest of the kitchen bitches. Above all, it's a rite of passage that you must navigate if you are ever to go from mere cook to sous chefdom.

I walked into the kitchen yesterday to encouraging words from Chef, words pertaining to our owner's happiness with the kitchen. So we're on the right track. But questions remain, including: When is it going to get really busy? Because last night the place was again slower than it should've been, and a large party saved our tails.

We simply want to be (and believe we deserve to be) busy.

But there's not much I can do to make that wish a reality besides continue to plug away; over time, maybe word of mouth about our quality will bring people through the door.

Quality is a close cousin to dedication, something that I just got a big lesson in, as I mopped the floor to close up. I urged Chef to leave (a former sous once told me that the main job of the sous was to get the exec out the door for the night), and then the dishwasher urged me to let him go, as there was dancing to be done.

As I worked my way through the kitchen, I got to the dish pit, where I noticed that our often-clogging-to-overflow drain had, you guessed it, overflowed! There is nothing fun about putting a mop down in a puddle and letting it soak up liquid about ten seconds; the only thing less fun is doing it for the fifteenth time. But finally the floor was mopped, so I dumped the mop water into the sink (about a quarter of the bucket at a time, to give the drain a break), and headed to the room where we store the the mop bucket.

One final walk through the kitchen and I'd be out the do -- oh, wait. Was that?...yes. It was. Lake Dishpit was now full of the mop water I'd poured down the sink minutes before. Nothing like polishing off my day by polishing up the floor, again.

A server walked by and suggested I just leave, but I knew that this was a time where I could prove my dedication to myself.

Besides, otherwise I'd just have to mop the lake today.

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Tyler Nemkov
Contact: Tyler Nemkov