Off The Menu

A few days ago I had the pleasure of walking into work and finding out we had reservations for a 31 top and a 75 top. For those of you not familiar with what that is, its tables and the amount of people ordering. Now I love a good challenge, but we had already lost Dan on the line due to illness, so it was just Chef Joe Bae and I to work the line. We frantically tried to call in the lunch guys to cover, knowing full well that even if they were to come in, they still weren’t as good or experienced at a rush as Dan.

As Charlie and Matt showed up we were knee deep in prep work, time kept ticking away till the two parties and all I could feel was this sense of dread overwhelm me. I began to question my own abilities, wondering if I had enough strength to carry an entire side of the line by myself. Then, all my worries flew away, as one of the owners, Joe, stepped onto the line and threw down. The owner of Encore was a former cook, so seeing him re lit the pilot under all of us. We stepped up the prep, we were determined not to fail.

Then, the rush comes. Only a few short moments after 5 PM, whole packs of people started appearing in the main hall. Our 31 and 75 tops had arrived, we braced ourselves for the worst. Steaks, salmons, and scallops flew in, orders upon orders of specials. We fell into the weeds early, I nearly lost my composure. Just as I felt myself slipping, I felt a hand upon my shoulder. It was Chef Joe Bae, reassuring me without saying a word. Sometimes thats all it takes in this business is a pat on the back or a simple good job to boost morale. Well, it worked. We finished strong, pumping out orders like an assembly line. Then, thats when I got yet another tap on the shoulder. It was the owner Dale, and he requested I make something off the menu. I looked at him like he just called my mother a whore. Then he pointed out the window, to which I turned and who did I see? Former Team USA Goalie and NHL All-Star Ryan Miller. I was exhausted, mentally blown, and still I wanted to impress such a famous star.

Chef Joe Bae and I decided to have a mini competition on the line, as whose stir fry would be better and we used Ryan Miller as out test subject. I went a sweet and sour route, mixing crisp veggies with sweet fruit in a sour hoisin sauce, where Chef Joe turned up the heat with a Gochujan sauce over duck breast stir fry. While both were delicious, mine triumphed in the end. My little moral? The small things matter in a kitchen, even if they are meaningless.

Featured Culinary Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
            • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
            • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
            • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
            • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses