Sunday, January 15, 2012

Martin Berasategui: First Impressions

I’ve just finished a Sunday lunch shift at MB, preceeded by lunch and dinner shifts on Saturday. Since the restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, I find myself with some time to reflect on my new job and my role here.

The first thing I noticed about this kitchen: the sheer number of people working here. Numbers-wise, we would be very close to a football team: offense and defense, special teams, kickers, coaches, coordinators and trainers. Once everyone is in motion, it can be difficult to find your way through the tangle of people. However, the good thing is: there is always someone to ask if you need a hand with a task, or if you don’t know where something is.

I chose to start on the fish station; previous BasqueStage Marco Bahena had told me the Chef de Partida there was the most demanding. I figured if I could make it on the fish station, I would be able to make it on the other stations as well. This logic of starting with the toughest boss may or may not work out. I have seen more than a few serious tongue-lashings for offenses ranging from talking too much to improperly chopped parsley. 

Yesica concentrates on the raviolis.
For the past two days, I have worked with Igor (from Bilbao) and Yesica (from Argentina), on the Squid Ink Raviolis. To assemble this pouch of shaved squid filled with tinta de calamar, you need steady hands, a miniature offset spatula, and the patience of an origami professional. Intricate and frustrating, while also imaginative and beautiful, these ravioli probably will remain my task for the next week; after seven straight hours of folding these packets, I’m starting to get the hang of it.

En total, it’s a whole new world here. Elisha and I are used to skeleton crews in shoebox kitchens in labor-cost-conscious New York City. I think next week we’ll really get a feel for the ebb and flow of service here. While it’s taxing and at times intimidating, it’s exciting to be in a completely new environment.

Now I’m going to eat pintxos and drink txakoli- tomorrow is my day off!

No comments:

Post a Comment