Thursday, September 2, 2010

Indian wedding part five

So it is the day before the wedding and we have a lot of prep to do.  The reinforcements arrived (my boss, the F&B and an Italian chef from another Hyatt) and I greeted them in the lobby to take them to the kitchen and show them around.  I have been anticipating the look on their faces when they see this god awful, disgusting operation much like you are looking forward to seeing someone's expression when you buy them a really nice birthday gift they would not expect.  They just have no idea what they are in store for.  As I was walking them through the kitchen they were dumbfounded and I was enjoying watching the look on their faces.  My boss told me that even though I texted him to tell him how bad it was he had no idea it would be like this.

After their shock had worn off we all took duties and started prepping.  The Italian chef took the risotto course, my sous chef took one course, I took one course and my boss helped where needed.  We quickly learned that if we were going to get our work done we had better hoard all the containers, knives, cutting boards and whatever else we could find.  In any kitchen cooks hoard and hide kitchen towels.  I think I have only worked in one or two kitchens in my career where we always had enough of them.  You can't pick up hot pans with your bare hands and can't clean without a towel.  Give a cook nice kitchen towels and it will always put a smile on their face.  Since that chef wasn't being supportive and we couldn't get any towels I went up to my room and took my bath towels and cut them up so we all had nice, new, clean towels to work with.  You should have seen the smiles on their faces. My boss asked me where I got the towels and when I told him my room he simply said, "well, I don't like the idea of cutting up guest towels but bearing in mind the circumstances, you gotta do what you gotta do."

While we were all working, the disgusting kitchen was naturally the topic of conversation.  "Curt, have you ever seen a kitchen like this?  What kind of chef allows this?  He is no fucking chef!" The Italian chef exclaimed.
I told him after a day I am just now coming out of shock so he should give it a day as well.

Every now and again someone, somewhere in the kitchen would yell some obscenities.
"Crap man!"
"Jesus Christ!"
"What the hell is this shit?"

Even the simplest thing like finding a towel or spoon was like pulling teeth.  There was not a shortage of profanity during those couple of days.  I think we even created some new words. It is enough of a challenge going to work in someone else's kitchen that you are not familiar with, not knowing the hot spots in the ovens, idiosyncrasies of that kitchen, where things are kept and so on, but worse is not knowing what state the kitchen will be in.

As I said previously, things always seem to work out but this time I was rightly concerned as to how on earth we were going to get this party out.  We were storing food in whatever we could find.   Large bowls, small bowls, water pitchers, sheet pans, trash cans that had new liners in them and so on.  What happens in situations like this is you basically have to compromise your standards big time.  We didn't have enough big pots for me to saute the onions properly so I put all the chopped onions on sheet pans and baked them in the oven.  Do what you have to and make sure the party goes out.

So the day has progressed and most of the prep is done.  Somebody mentioned aloud the thought of going to the bar and getting a drink and we all just nodded our heads with the utmost approval and called it a day.

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