CULINARY: My fourteenth night at Pigall’s

After commencement ceremonies at school, I changed into my chef whites (behind my car!) and went down to Jean-Robert at Pigall’s restaurant to work for the evening. I think I’ve been remiss in documenting all of my visits to the restaurant; I’m nearly convinced that I’ve worked there much more than fourteen times.
I am always gratified to hear Todd’s welcome when I arrive (which is usually a surprise for him) — he always says, “Hey! Are you here all night?”, which makes me feel appreciated. It’s good to see the guys in the kitchen, who greet me warmly as well. I spent time this evening picking spinach (Todd saw me up to my elbows in picked and yet-to-be-picked spinach and asked how I was doing. I told him, “Three years of culinary school, and I really think it’s starting to come together”), cutting and baking bread into long thin croutons, working on the amuse bouche for the evening (three layers of buttered filo dough rolled around some cream cheese, a carrot and fennel slaw (that I made), and watercress), all rolled up sushi-style, baked, then cut and served as the welcome from the chef. I also worked on some items to assist Richard, the grill man. For him, I tied asparagus with green onions to be served on one of the beef dishes. I also stuffed zuchini blossoms with a lobster salad that Jeremy made, and later stuffed a few remaining blossoms with peppernata for Jill to serve to vegetarians. During the first turn, I worked on an orange juice reduction for Todd.

I appreciate that they’re so welcoming when I go there. Even though I don’t get to do anything ‘glamorous’, I am glad to be helpful and feel like I get to work on a variety of skills while there. Plus, working at the restaurant is my chance to be with foodies who are at least as serious as I am (and in many cases, much more so). While I took last summer ‘off’ from working at the restaurant, I don’t think I’ll do that this year. Chef told me again last night that I am welcome any time, and I hope to take him up on it this summer.

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