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Brix Externship Blog Week Four– July 31, 2011

Did we tell you, that it is hot in the kitchen? Well summer with temperatures 100 degrees
and over make you realize, that there is heat and there is heat. Well we are here to tell
you that the kitchen last week was hotter than the weeks before, but at the same time the
human body does at certain times like these not act as a thermometer, it just screams hot.
We returned from a vacation week back in Norfolk, where temperatures were even higher
and stayed mostly cool inside all week, not even cooking that week as it was restaurant
week. This Wednesday we found Chef Nathan in a scrubbing mode with parts of the
kitchen strewn around him, not what you call a kitchen ready to open in three hours. Chef
told us about a few disasters that happened during our week off: first and most
importantly – the freezer had stopped working and opening the freezer door welcomed
him with a stench of indescribable force. So we were waiting for new deliveries and the
restaurant would not open till dinner time. Also a shelf in the kitchen came out of the
wall when he wanted to take equipment down. Because we were closed for the week all
fresh food had to be prepped for the coming week and all meats also when they
eventually arrived later that day.

Bread and pasta normally takes up the morning hours before opening for lunch. We now needed to multi task also carrot and turnip prepping as well as pre-preparing the dishes that are featured on the menu up to the finishing stage of our cooking during dining hours. That Wednesday turned out to be a hectic day and because there were few customers that night we could keep on working on thepreparation of dishes that we would feature in the days to follow, as well as prepare food to be frozen for future use.Believe us an empty freezer is not a good thing in a restaurant, because normally its content saves us from having to tell customers we are out of something.

This was also the week in which we changed stations from Sandee cooking
the past three weeks at the back station, where pastas, soups and salads etc. are prepared
for service going now to the front station for the coming three weeks, where the other
half of the menu is being cooked. So this week both of us depended on each others
advice on how to cook the now “new” dishes at these different stations. What chef wants
is to have us leave his kitchen having cooked each menu item sufficiently long, so that we
will always remember how to do it again. Phrases like: “Have the green beans hit the
screaming hot pan and not a second earlier?” will always stay with us just like “Carbonara
needs to completely mix in raw egg not cooked egg so flip, flip, flip the pan like crazy”.
That means to you, loyal readers that live close by and want to visit us while we are
cooking your meal: our last day in the kitchen will be Saturday August13. The following
two last weeks of our externship will be: one week visiting farms that supply the
restaurant and work and learn there about biological farming and one week helping in the
dining room with the serving staff and learn more about pairing the wines of the
restaurant with the dishes that come from the kitchen.
Till next week: Sandee and Erik