Thursday, August 21, 2014

Second week at the new job!

Welp, almost through my second week at the new job.  I'm getting to know the cast of characters and trying to get into the routine of what I'm expected to do. 

There are four other people on the team who create the Korean menu.  I'm the only non-Korean.  I'm the only one who doesn't speak Korean.  I have been taught how to say 'hello' in Korean, but that's all I've got!  One of the men I work with speaks four languages and has a daughter finishing up her doctorate at MIT.  One of the other women and I both have daughters around the same age, we joke around a lot.  There's an older Korean man, probably in his eighties, who is always cheerful.  The head chef for the Korean station is a Korean woman who is shorter than me and a real sweetie.  She tends to be motherly towards me, she'll put her arm around me or give me a side hug sometimes. 

I'm going to interject here that the executive chef, who runs the whole kitchen, is from Hawaii and has a wonderful, mellow vibe about him.  

I'm doing straight prep work.  I've been allowed to stir things while the chef seasons things.  I've blanched spinach and made rice in the rice cooker.  (I had to make a batch and it had to be tasted before I was allowed to make rice for service.)  Mostly, I help with the lunch service and I fill the rice bowls. 

We serve very authentic Korean meals.  The rice is served in small metal bowls and there is a very specific way they are supposed to be filled.  In the days I've been in my new gig, I've filled 1600 rice bowls and I still don't have the hang of it.  The bowl needs to be full, but not packed, with no space to be seen around the edges.  It should be lightly rounded on the top and there should be no rice on the outside of the bowl.  Then a lid is put on, which the rice should not touch.  When you lift off the lid, there should be no rice on the inside of the lid. 

And I have to do this as quickly as I can because the rice cools down, meaning we can't hold it at the hotter temperature, meaning it's cooler when we serve it, meaning the customers don't like it.  My short term goal in life right now is to get the hang of filling the rice bowls properly. 

So far, I arrive at work and receive instructions.  I'll cut green onions, put the side dishes into the serving trays and put them in the cooler at our counter, or whatever else the chef has for me to do.  Then I start to fill rice bowls.  I do this until it's time for the kitchen staff to have a quick meeting, then I have a ten minute break. 

When I get back I help set up for lunch service.  We serve lunch from eleven to one and we regularly serve 200 plates.  The menu is set with sides, an entree, rice and soup.  It's a big meal.  I try everything we serve.  I'm not a massive fan of radish kimchee, but I've liked almost everything.

After service, I close up the front counter then I have my lunch.  There is a very small fee taken from my paycheck that covers my meal every day.  This can be anything I want.  I have soup and cobb salad a lot.  Then I'll have a couple of cookies, because, you know, cookies. 

That brings me to 2 hours before the end of my shift and I'll chop onions, cut other vegetables, help the chef with whatever she's doing and then clean up my station before I head home. 

I'm still in my probationary period, but I haven't been pulled aside, sat down, spoken to or anything of that nature. 

I really want this to work out. Just keep chopping. Just keep chopping. Just keep chopping.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you have blemish prone skin, use hydrogen peroxide as a toner.

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