A Demi Chef de Partie
I started 2 years ago on the Vegetables section in The Wolseley’s kitchens. I am now on the sauce section which is one of the busiest and largest sections with a different Plat du Jour every day ranging from Vijay’s Chicken Curry to Coq Au Vin which takes a lot of prep.
Today is a Friday. My first job as soon as I enter the kitchen eagerly is to check the pending jobs and handover from last night so that I can plan for the day’s prep. There are only two of us on for each service so we need to be organised, and think of the next day as well. I check my fridge, count the meat, and start setting up the fridge for service. I then tend to my stocks which are very important. I ask my colleague if there is anything important he needs help with. It is very important to have a good relationship with your team and colleagues.
After I have finished setting up I begin with the dish of the day. I prep around 16 whole black leg chickens, which takes me around an hour. First I remove the neck and feet, then I proceed to remove the legs, separating the thigh meat from the leg, then I remove the breast meat and wings, keeping all carcasses to make the sauce, which will become Coq au Vin. The meat is then marinated with red wine and vegetables (carrots, onion, celery and leeks) for 24 hours, and will be cooked the next day. After prepping the chicken I clean down and it is now around 9.30am, 2 hours until service starts and I am on time and ready!
Next job is to slice the veal escalopes for schnitzel, which always needs 3 people, one to flour, one to dip in egg and the third to coat with breadcrumb. It takes around 20 minutes, depending on the amount, which can be fifty or sixty as they sell very well! After this I take 10 minutes to grab a coffee. My mind is now on service: I seal my meats, rib-eyes, fillets, burgers, fillet au poivre and chickens. As I am on the grill, the first check comes through, my adrenaline starts to flow and we’ve been told it will be a busy start. Checks start to flow thick and fast but it is organised, we all come to the pass together. This is essential because in a 3 ½ hour service we do around 350 covers. Organisation and communication is vital and keeps the high standards and consistency for which The Wolseley is known, and which I have come to enjoy.
Service is over in the blink of an eye.
It’s now 2.30pm, and the evening shift arrives. You tell them how service was and they continue to carry on with the sauces and any job that needs finishing. My day is over and it feels as if the restaurant’s day hasn’t even started.
By Andrzej Sanecki