Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Exhaustion

I have limited time right now, because I am headed to The Restaurant at 1:00. I have decided to get the full experience, and instead of my hours being the whimpy 2:00pm-10:00pm, I am keeping the hours that the other chefs keep. They work from 1:00pm-1:00am.

Yes. That is 12 hours. Prepping, chopping, creating, cooking, cleaning, and planning the menu for the next day. Repeat.

And the other 12 hours away from the kitchen? They are spent eating, socializing, drinking, and sleeping.

You literally live and breathe cooking. I am exhausted, and I love it.

I have so many more stories. Some good, some bad. I was definitely not on my game yesterday. I had stayed out too late the night before, and the adrenaline high I was riding on ran out of gas. I struggled yesterday to keep up the energy and enthusiasm.

I also cut my left thumb. Really bad. Which was not only embarrassing, but painful. It was bound to happen, I just didn't realize it would be so soon.

I had to wear a little blue condom-like cover over my thumb the whole night. It was a proclamation of my worthlessness that said, "Look at me! Look at me! I am the doofus that cut my thumb!" It was also a reminder that I am in a world that I totally do not feel comfortable in.

But, today is a new day. After my amazing 10 hours of sleep, I feel refreshed and ready to learn.

Now, off to The Restaurant. On the agenda today: knife skills, braising the "right" way, and handmade tortellini pasta.


  1. It is really thrilling to be in a restaurant kitchen (and terrifying when everyone else knows what they are doing and you're learning on the fly). There seem to be two schools of thought: a) you will cut and burn yourself a lot, no matter what, and b) you shouldn't be cutting or burning yourself, once you know what you're doing.

    If you haven't read Heat, you should definitely check it out (if you have time to read with all the cooking and writing you are doing now). Part of it is Bill Buford's chronicle of his time as kitchen bitch in one of Mario Batali's restaurants. He did that for a while, and then decided to go to Italy and do stages there, as well as, if I remember correctly, apprenticing to a master butcher.

  2. Kari, I just discovered this. Wow, what a ride! I am so excited for you, so frightened, so ... anticipatory! I really look forward to reading about your journey this summer. You got balls, girl.