I feel that it goes without saying that if you want to perform accurate and with speed in a kitchen, you should know your way around one and where everything goes.Well, apparently some people at my school just didn’t get that memo.
It wasn’t until my second trimester at JWU that I started my first lab.Nervous that not knowing the kitchen very well would be difficult, I came to class early on my first day and gave everything a quick once-over.When we had the customary meet and greet with out teacher and fellow classmates, our Chef gave the rhetorical question of, “you all know your way around this lab right?”No one stepped up to say, no, maybe we could have used a short tour.But, alas class went on without it and the first day seemed to go off without a hitch.
As the week went on I started to get a sense of what my fellow classmates were like in the kitchen.There were people ranging from barely even knowing how to make a box of macaroni and cheese, to the people like me who have had some experience in a commercial kitchen.
Everyday went the same; lecture, prep time, production, and then clean-up.We were normally expected to take care of as many dishes as we could during class, and than whatever was left over what hastily shoved in the small dish pit for one group to clean.Our class was divided into groups by our tables, and were rotated each day to according jobs.One team on floors, one on bins, the walk-in, and dish pit.
Calming My Frustration
I have a leader personality; lead, follow, or get out of the way, my mother would always say.And, I have always kept this as a personal motto.In class, I would try my hardest not to try to step in when someone at my table was having difficulty, or get angry when someone was making what I thought was a simple mistake.Sometimes, this was VERY hard to control.
The six-week lab was almost over, and we were getting into longer and more demanding days.You would think by now that simple mistakes like putting a circle cutter in with all of the square cutters would have been figured out, but I guess not.
One afternoon, I was particularity tired and frustrated from something not turning out well at our table.Once again, our group was on dish pit.For some reason we seemed to always be sent there, usually 50% of the class. At the end of class this day, dishes were coming out of no where and were piling up behind me like mating rabbits!I didn’t know how they got there and how we used so much in one class!Trying to keep up with the huge pile behind me, I enlisted the help of some of the…umm….not so productive members of the class.
Some Bruises and Flying Pans
Other students kept adding dirty dishes to the pile on the floor, adding them precariously to the top, backing away slowly with their arms outstretched as to coax them not to topple over.I guess I should have seen it coming, someone picked up a dish to hand to me for washing and the whole pile fell over…right on top of my feet.Trying to to fall over in pain from 60 heavy sheet pans and cast iron pots now crushing my toes, I looked down to see broken glass all over the floor.The pans fell on a glass bowl and shattered everywhere.I just took a big sigh and started to pick it up, trying not to get angry or cry as my chef yelled at me from breaking the bowl.
A moment later, and my feet now throbbing, I heard our sous chef yell out that we only had 10 more minuets before class was over.We started furiously washing the dishes, and shoving them into the hand of the rest of the class to put them away.
Finally, we were done, sweating and in pain, we were done.I was now able to turn around from my post and come out of the cave that is our dish pit and go back to my dorm.As I turn around, I barley nudged the drying rack that held all of the metal bowls, china-caps, and utensils.Someone had lazily shoved a sheet pan in there, instead of taking the three steps more to put it in its rightful place.It fell, rather quickly, on to my head and onto the floor.
I let out a sort of angry roar, and made everyone turn around and stare.
“Don’t you *#$%@%@ know where this goes?!”
I shouted, shaking the pan in my hand and checking my head for blood with the other.
Even my teacher seemed stunned to hear this coming from my mouth.I let out another frustrated growl and stomped over and put the pan down where it belonged.
“Look, its really not that difficult!” Pointing to the stack of pans where my assaulter now sat.
Well, Its Funny Now
Writing this now, I am laughing to myself, remembering the looks on everyones face.And, how my teacher never said anything about me swearing in class, forgetting that it ever happened.The next day, it seemed that everyone shaped up a bit and there wasn’t quite as much dishes out of place, or mistakes that were made.
I had a lump on my head for about 3 weeks after that.
I hope by telling this story it will help you to realize that things are placed a certain way in a kitchen for safety, not just because.Its very important for EVERYONE to know where things go, and how everything is supposed to work, that way no one gets hurt.