Thursday, April 06, 2006

Knives: 1 Teammate: 0


We had our first class injury yesterday when my team partner did something extraordinarily stupid with her knife. Note to self and others out there, never ever jab your extremely sharp paring knife into a container of solidified somethingorother and try to dig it out. The knife will get angry and jab you in that tender place where your thumb meets your hand. Because knives are not to be used in that manner, and you just insulted it. There will blood, and you will be left wondering how the hell you are going to go to your actual job and do work that will require you to use that hand.

Lucky for my teammate, Chef did not see exactly what she did (he probably knows that it was something stupid). I was concentrating on how to measure out my own mise en place for sauce on Monday, so I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to her except for that crucial moment when I thought to myself, "self, what she's doing is guaranteed to end in disaster." I tried to open my mouth, but too late. The damage was done. I was torn between feeling remorse because I had some unkind thoughts about her earlier that day/the day before and sympathy because she cut herself and that was gonna be painful. If Chef had seen her do the stupid thing, he would have lectured her and the rest of us on it, ad nauseum. He speaks a lot about using common sense, and here was a clear lack of it. But this chick seems to always be putting her common sense in the closet when she comes to class. And, she seems to turn off the hearing center of her brain as well as some other useful functions. It's as if she has a built-in dimmer switch that she uses constantly to dial down her intelligence before she walks into class. I'm constantly amazed at the questions she begins asking a split second after we're given some sort of instructions. It makes me wonder if I heard correctly, or if that little Wrath of Khan worm in my skull is distorting everything so that I just think I know what is going on...

I know it's not really me and my worm, because this same chick is in my dining room management class, and when we had a quiz on Tuesday, she didn't turn the test paper over and complete questions 15-25 on the back of the page. Honestly, who thinks an instructor is going to give a 14-question quiz? How exactly is that going to divide into a score of 100 in a neat and workable manner? Please. We hand in our answer bubble sheets, and then the instructor begins to go over the questions so we can discuss ones that we may have had difficulty with during the actual test. We go around the group, round robin style, and read a question and give what we put down as the answer and discuss. After question 14, we all flip our quiz papers over and the next person up to bat begins to read question 15. Dimmer Switch blurts out "Wait! There were questions on the back?!" You can actually hear the collective eye rolls rattling around in all our skulls like so many marbles. We all looked at her as one, and you could literally see the thought bubbles above our head, which consisted of: "DUH!" (There were a few with some very colorful expletives, but I'm saving your tender eyes from those.)

I can tell that the instructor is periliously close to losing that last nerve that Dimmer Switch continually trods on, and he fishes out her answer sheet from the pile and tells her to go back in the kitchen and finish the test. Personally, I would have said sink or swim baby, as would the chef instructor we had last quarter. This instructor is already working around her work schedule so that she take this class by allowing her to come on our Tuesday and the other class group's Thursday. He had already pointed out to her that since she was being allowed to do it that way, she was the oddball, and it was up to her to conform to us (by finding out class and homework assignments, etc.) and not the other way around. Plus, she gets to avoid the whole tableside cooking issue in both class by virtue of this schedule, which makes me inclined to not cut her any slack, since she doesn't seem to appreciate the exception that was made for her. Man, I am getting mean in my old age, aren't i? Or, we could blame it on the sinus crap and the giant shot I got in my ass yesterday to cure it.

Also, one of our number dropped out of the Principles class. She's been an exemplary student to this point, but she is feeling very frustrated about the way our instructors treat us. On a somewhat intellectual level, we understand the mind game of treating everyone the same, but at the gut level, it's a real pisser. This woman is a supervisor over several people in a food industry-related job, and she resents being made to feel inconsequential or that her experience doesn't mean a thing once she crosses over the kitchen threshold. I totally understand where she's coming from; it's not like most of us haven't been cooking in some form or fashion for years, and we've managed not to poison or maim anyone too badly in the process.

Anyway, she's going to take the quarter off and re-evaluate her goals, and she may or may not come back. Part of me is slightly jealous, because it would be nice not to get up at the asscrack of dawn; part of me longs for the regular paycheck along with sleeping a tad bit later; and the other part of me hopes she does come back, because she was a valuable member of our little family.

We also had our family meeting for the quarter yesterday so we could look at all the newbies and give them words of wisdom. There they were, bright shining faces, clean and crisp uniforms, looking at us with that deer in the headlights look. Hee. And then I listened to all the old timers, myself included, tell them what a wonderful opportunity this was, how great it was, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yep, why should they be forewarned? It's more fun when it's a surprise, don't you think? Bwahhhahhhha!!

1 comment:

Belinda said...

You got me. I have a new blog addiction. Alex and I are total junkies of the competitive chef shows on cable, and watched every episode of "Hell's Kitchen" last year with bated breath. I even blogged about it. We also love that show where the pri--er, chef from HK went around trying to save restaurants from doom, and would just SCREAM at the TV when they would go back for the follow-up, and the people were doing NONE of his suggestions that helped their business, and then of course were doomed to failure. MADDENING.

Chefs are the new rocks stars. Rock on, Baby.