Edit ModuleShow Tags

Technique Welcomes a New Team Today


Published:

Monday, 12 weeks ago, was a hard day. A new batch of five student cooks walked into Technique Restaurant—the restaurant I help run at Le Cordon Bleu in Mendota Heights. None of them had ever worked in a restaurant before, and customers were coming. I started the way I always do when I get a new batch, telling them that we were going to be a team for the next few months, that they needed to show up for work or the team would suffer and they might lose their job, and that their job, in a restaurant kitchen, is important.

Technique, a student-intern run restaurant, resets every 12 weeks. The old team goes out to get jobs in the real world, and the next day brings in the new batch. This last group, at first glance, was not untypical with young high school grads, a career-changer, and an ex-millitary. One settled his nerves by asking questions like how the final plating and presentation would go even before he had prepped any of the food to be plated. Another burnt his arm while fumbling to pull his plates out of a hot oven, and continued his work with shaky hands. Projects started and stopped as the new interns frantically remembered other tasks needing attention. Messes piled up around them as they shot glances at the clock hands always moving toward service time.

My first line-cooking job wasn’t so different. I started most mornings sitting in the shower, letting the water run over my head until the hot water ran cold, and I knew I had to go. Sleep felt like work, with dreams of tickets, ticking out of the kitchen printer onto the floor in an endless stream, unable to catch up. A tight-knotted stomach filled most days before and after work, and while in retrospect I loved it and would eventually crave the excitement, at the time, I never knew how I would get through each day.

I worked at a respectable restaurant called Christer’s in New York’s Broadway District. Ruth Reichel from The New York Times came in to eat one night. At the time, I didn’t know who she was, but I knew I hated her. I resented the extra pressure she added to my life, as the chef grew ever more hostile to my inexperience. On the day she came to eat, he returned a tray of over-seasoned food to my station, and asked me if I thought our customers were "deer" and, if not, perhaps I should stop trying to serve them salt licks.

Yesterday, the latest batch of our interns left. Like the last day of high school, there were hugs, and a few tears as they said their goodbyes to each other. I told them, as I always do, that they know where to find me, back here in the kitchen at Technique—that I wish they could stick around.

Today, a new batch begins.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Grilled Walleye Tacos with Mango Salsa Recipe

Combine fresh Minnesota fish with a taste of the tropics in a quick-and-easy meal you can make at home or the cabin

Pizza Lovers' Camp for Grown-Ups

Overnight pizza-centric camp on July 7 combines pizza amore with classic outdoor camp activities

3 Things to Eat This Week: Pride Edition

Pride weekend is also one of your last chances to eat at wonderful restaurants before they close

Ask Jason: Best Ramen, Shrimp, Dinner Date, and More

Your food questions answered

Stout-Marinated Grilled Tri-Tip Recipe

Treat dad or any lucky guest to flavorful, juicy beef with a splash of beer in the mix with this recipe from meat expert Bruce Aidells

6 Foods to Pack for the Cabin

Don't head north to the cabin without these delicious necessities

The Driscoll’s Difference

Driscoll’s goes to great lengths to ensure every clamshell on the shelves is packed with only the most flavorful, deliciously ripe berries.

Meet the Joy Makers

Meet the Joy Makers

Back to School Prep! Bento boxes are Easy Breakfasts that can be Prepped Ahead

The strategy for conquering the crazy weekday mornings is the all important prep.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags