Tonight the boys learned the hard way why not everyone is cut out to cook in a professional kitchen. It was HOT! We cleared out the restaurant and sat everyone outside because the dinning room was much to warm to enjoy dinner; which left us, in a scorcher of a closet we call a kitchen. The temperature probably hit 120ish, and for my Northern Michigan cooking crew, that was a new experience. The hottest kitchen I've ever cooked in was my last one and we once clocked it at around 135 degrees. To help put this into perspective, the holding temperature if you want to keep food hot is 150 degrees; a mere 15 degree more.
Cooking in those temperatures takes on a whole different meaning. It's no longer cooking, it's survival, and if you don't watch yourself it can get dangerous. Over the years I have learned to tell when someone is nearing border-line danger zone. I spend a lot of time during nights likes these admonishing my guys to drink their water.
"I am", they often reply.
"You're not drinking enough", is my usual retort.
You see, at those temperatures there is a danger one will quit sweating, and then it gets serious. Water is what keeps that sweat pouring out. On nights like we had tonight, we will drink 1 to 1.5 gallons water. I tell the guys they cannot drink to much, and they need to drink more. It becomes repetitious and they almost become annoyed with me, but tough titties. The last thing I need is one of them passing out on me. They pass out and they are worthless to us at that point. They fall down in the kitchen and we have to walk over or around them, and in a kitchen as small as ours that could be a real problem. Plus, a couple of the guys are pretty young and if they pass out I would have some pretty upset moms and who wants to deal with that. So, I make them drink their water, it just works out better for all of us that way.
What they are all feeling right now is something you can only understand when you make it through a night like tonight. Earlier in the evening, not a one of them thought they would make it out aliv. I knew they would and I kept urging them onward. Now they know they have more in them then they ever knew. The kitchen can do that to you. It can take you to your limit and show you how much more you can do.
You see, no matter how bad it gets. No matter how hard the rush is. No matter how far in the shits you find yourself. No matter how hot you get, the one thing to always keep in mind is this: The last ticket will eventually come; 11:00 have to come sometime. That one thought has gotten me through some of my worst dinner services. No matter what is happening now, it cannot last forever.
Tonight was rough. Not rough service wise. They did great in that area. Rough in the sense they tackled more than they thought they could and came out on top. Tomorrow, I have a more confident crew. Tomorrow they come in different than when they came in today.