Being in charge of the bottom of the totem pole

I was lead intern this week, which was good and bad. As lead, I was responsible for all grocery deliveries, daily inventory, and the point person for any kitchen questions. We were also in the middle of a transition, with new interns arriving this week, and filming going on. Needless to say, it was a challenging week.

The job of lead intern isn’t difficult, by any means, if you’re organized and detail oriented: check stuff in, make a note if something didn’t arrive or the wrong item arrived, be helpful and answer questions. Easy. The stressful part of the job was due to time constraints — I had the lead intern duties in addition to mising and cooking my assigned recipes, which pushed me into overtime a few days.

My days were constantly interrupted with new intern questions, questions from chefs looking for food items that didn’t arrive or were stored in the wrong area in error, and having to stop to take inventory in the early afternoons. It was a constant balancing act of time management, which I finally got the hang of by Wednesday…and then Thursday came along.

Thursday was filming day in the test kitchen, and not just the quick videos typically filmed in the kitchen during any given weekday. This was a full on, three camera shoot. When filming happens in the kitchen, we all have to be as quiet as mice – no chopping, talking, sauteing, running the faucet or equipment. I had onions to cut – lots of onions. For the record, trying to cut onions while being quiet makes you look like you don’t know how to cut onions. I was in the background during the filming, and hopefully far enough in the background that no one can see my “trying to be quiet” cutting techniques – yikes.

Filming put us all behind schedule, and left us in cramped quarters since half of the kitchen was taken up by cameras, talent and production. Then the groceries arrived in the middle of filming. With a tasting going on in the library, we lost our “plan B” location for the grocery delivery. We had to unload in the hall attached to the kitchen, while being as quiet as possible, so the microphones wouldn’t pick up our voices or bustling. And oh, the new interns. Bless their culinary hearts for wanting to dive in and be helpful, but the hallway, on Thursday was not the place or time to be a hero. I still have bite marks in my tongue from almost losing my cool with one of them.

As much as this week pushed me to my limits and tried my patience, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was screaming on the inside, but held it together and made it through the week. It was a true test of leadership, time management, and team work. And I get to do it all again next week — we’re on a two-week rotation. Bring it!