I love the environment of the kitchen, especially a commercial one. Albeit very small, my headquarters allows me to do a job that I love and run it how I see fit. All chefs have their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Here’s a glimpse into my world.
1. On the days I bake, I arrive at 4:15am. After turning on the lights, the coffee extractor and checking the credit card report, I plug in the iPod. One of my favorite albums to turn up loud is John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. I think its the juxtaposition of styles. As a baker I have to follow a regimen, much like a musician following sheet music. But Coltrane’s improv solos allows my mind to wander off from the written notes.
2. I constantly check fridge doors to see if they are closed all the way. I can’t tell you how many times I arrive in the morning to find a door cracked open due to an inattentive kitchen guy cramming a container in that won’t allow the door to shut properly.
3. My staff knows that the best way to suck up to me is to clean something. I am not ashamed of this arrangement.
4. My kitchen floors bug me. If I had it to do over again, I would have done something different to them.
5. I was naive to think that if an appliance was labeled “Pro” or “ProLine” that it means it is professional quality. Sorry to say that’s not the case. Its just a way to fool the home consumer into thinking they are buying something of higher quality.
6. I need a clean, uncluttered work station in order to get things done. I will spend 20 min tidying up before I can get started it the work space was left a mess. If I don’t, I will obsess on mess rather than the food I am making.
7. My favorite bread to make is ciabatta. Years ago when I discovered the use of a couche, I was fascinated at how it created those long striations on the crust. I still love seeing those loaves lined up in the basket on the wall.
8. The potato has surpassed the onion in the race for product used most in my kitchen. We are going through about 75 – 100lbs of potatoes a week with our gnocchi, soups and starch for weekend entrees.
9. I can usually tell if someone is visiting the restaurant for the first time. Follow the eyes and see where they go. Most new eyes are drawn upward to the lights, open space and the quote on the wall.
10. Besides a chef knife, the utensil that has acheived Most Favored Tool status is the immersion blender, affectionately known as the Boat Motor. It is the size of a trolling motor and could probably serve the same function if it had a proper mounting device. It creates the smoothest soup directly in the stock pot.