Saturday, August 23, 2008

Exit wounds.

I read something somewhere that when it comes to kitchen injuries, burns are sexy, cuts are when something stupid goes wrong. It was probably Tony Bourdain.

I was sitting in front of an endless pot of chocolate pastry cream one day (guest chef insisted that the recipe could not be increased and so to feed the event I had to make the same batch 16 times). Event cook of reasonable aptitude totally gets me with the oil he's using to pan sear his tuna. I flinch (I've named the scar after him) and keep stirring. "Oh did I get you?" he inquires. I flash the blistered skin. "Yeah, you pastry cooks don't know about burns."

Ahem, what?

When I interviewed for this job, as things were winding down we noticed that all three of us - owner, manager, and me, had identical marks. I told them of the wisdom of hot side event cooks. There was laughter. Sheet pans are hot. Pastry cream is hot. Water baths suck and I hate them. Anyone who suggests that pastry cooks don't know from injuries can go suck an egg. Just not the farm ones because those are expensive and better for the custards and Oh you don't know how to tell them apart? Snort.

I have a knife cut on my hand. Our butter comes in beautiful 44 pound blocks and my croissant detrempe does not need quite that much. So in cutting it down with the machete my hand slipped across the top edge the wrong way. Yes that is right I cut myself cutting butter, and I did it with the non-sharp side of a machete.

Tony Bourdain may have been right.

1 comment:

Madeline said...

Sad but true...the only time I ever cut myself is either cutting butter, cleaning my knife, or when someone was dicking around and screamed on the other side of the kitchen. When I looked up to see what happened (nothing) I went right through my thumb...had to get stitches and buy superglue to keep the damn thing closed until it healed. Oh and unlike some weaker kitchen staff, I showed up right after I got the stitches to keep on working. Haha! Stupid hot side.