Sticking with one, staying committed for several months can be hard, but it has its advantages. Initially, it is fresh, exciting, you learn something new about them every day. There are a few difficulties, but you work together and learn how to acheive some synergy. As time goes on you get comfortable, ease into a routine. Days can be stressful, but when night falls, you know that you’re going someplace where you know every line, each curve, all the knobs. But then you might get bored. Same old shit. Occassionally you’ll still get surprised, but a bird is a bird, right? You look around, see something you’d like to try, like to get to know. But you can’t have it.
So wouldn’t it be better if you got to do something different every day?
Isn’t making jokes about cheating funny?
But seriously, I’m talking about work. Last I mentioned it, I worked Middle station. But I moved to Fish station in Februrary of this year (just before the last Restaurant Week). Cooking fish was (and is) awesome. Station is fast paced, fast plates, and you control the entrée line. You call the times, manage the pace, guide the other two (middle and meat) on timing. It is a thrill. And moving to fish was probably the smoothest transition I’ve ever had. Cold apps, hot apps, and middle, all took a little time before I was comfortable. And while I had been the most anxious about moving to fish, it couldn’t have been better.
Then a few months ago, our sous chef, Michele, announced that she was leaving No 9 and taking the post of chef de cuisine at The Butcher Shop. She left a week later. A few weeks later, Stef, the rounds cook, and my best friend, was offered the position of sous chef. The next day, Chef made me rounds cook. After a year and a half, I had become the lead line cook, and Stef was sous. Perfect.
The job of the rounds cook is to fill in for whoever has the day off and work that station. Every day something new. You may not have worked that station in weeks, cooked those dishes since the menu change, or know where all the mise en place is. Some people don’t label their mise properly, or put it in obvious places. They leave rotten food for you to find. They forget to order something they are out of, leaving you to figure it out at the last minute and fix it. A thrill every day.
Also, the rounds cook is the lead line cook. You can’t ever be in the weeds, since everyone else is sure to fall into them at times, and you should be there to pull them out. You have to be everywhere always, keeping an eye on each station, thereby giving the chefs more time to focus on plating, expediting, and running the line. You teach, give pointers, and also learn more from all the other cooks, so when your turn to cook that station comes around, you’re ready. It is a great job. I love it. I haven’t had this much fun yet. And currently, we don’t have a fish cook, so I still get to spend some decent time on fish.
In other news, Ben and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in June. Being with him is even more exciting than being rounds cook.