One of the most beautiful things about a successful kitchen is the ability to perform as a single, cohesive unit. Unfortunately, for me, last Saturday didn’t quite work out as much. It started off rather slow, we all did our prep as usual. We even had a moment to catch the end of the start of college football on the television. Then the orders started rolling in almost as soon as the dinner customers did. We took our positions on the line and embraced ourselves for the battle forthcoming.
I took my position as saute and plating, Chef Joe Bae floated in between me and the other Dan who sweated it out in front of the grill. Normally, I’d be on garde mange, making out salads but I’m trying to learn all parts of this new restaurant of ours. The rush started easy, we popped out meals like the best of them, no matter the amount of tickets that replaced the ones we pushed out. The heat continued to rise in the kitchen, and that’s the moment when things took a turn for the worse. Some schmuck waiter, who no one, and I seriously mean no one liked, and had a history of being impeccably ignorant with food and customers alike, decided to start ordering multiple tables at once. He called for one, then decided to call for another, then 86′d the first call only to re-call it again.
Now, I’m not going to admit I’m easily confused, but this slag would have confused Thomas Keller. I quickly hit the weeds, trying desperately to keep track of the insane amount of proteins being placed in front of me, all while having sides going on all eight burners. Joe looked at me with fear, and called for me to switch places with me. There is nothing more demoralizing then being demoted mid dinner-rush, but I bit my ego down, along with my lip and resumed my place on garde. Joe finished all the orders and put them out, only for the biggest bomb to drop the moment the owners sent us word that we sent THEM the wrong food. All hell had broke loose. We had done the unspeakable, sent out the wrong food to the wrong people. Especially the worst of the wrong people.
The scolding we all got was structured as constructive criticism, and we took it like men. We realized what wrong we had done and how badly things could have gotten if we screwed up even worse. I learned a valuable lesson that only experience will teach: Learn from your mistakes, and do everything you can to prevent repeating them.