My time at Brule Bistro is coming to a close. I started working at the local eatery one year ago after my dad and I had discovered it two years prior, initially as a lunch spot. They were known then as Brule Gourmet Market & Wine Bar where an island of large couches sat in the middle. It's the kind of place were you can see the pipes and ductwork run through the ceiling and the floor is covered with an assortment colorful rugs. A lot has changed since my dad and I first discovered this hidden gem some three years ago. Brule has blossomed into a full time restaurant, the market coolers replaced with a bustling wine bar. I started this job with the intention of only working a few days a week. That idea quickly evolved into 4-5 days a week, straight from school, 3-11pm and past midnight on Friday and Saturdays. You might ask why I practically gave up a high school senior's social life? To be honest I'm not the “wild and crazy”party kid, although hanging with friends does matter to me. In the beginning the no "party life" crossed my mind but work grew on me and as my boss and co-workers pushed me harder I became obsessed with improving and learning something new each day. What's different about Brule is that the kitchen functions as team and a family. You certainly won't find that type of kinship in professional kitchens across the country (if not the world). My boss, chef and co-owner, doesn't liked to be talked about so much and I completely respect that of her. However, to some extent I have bragging rights. Chef Suzanne Perotto is one of the most talented, passionate, and dedicated chefs I have ever known. To me she's become that teacher that you never forget, the one that actually teaches you things you can't learn from a book.
Working in a professional restaurant kitchen isn't just " oh!, look at me in front of this roaring fire as I flip the stuff in this pan!". No, it's much more than that. Its all about timing, leadership, communication, pace, cleanliness, organization, and most importantly common sense. A few months in a real kitchen and you realize just how inadequate your street smarts are. To be honest, no one can or will tell you these things. I've been fortunate enough to work in professional kitchens since I was thirteen and I'm still making mistakes. No chef can know everything and not everyday is perfect but you can certainly strive to make it that way. That's the lesson I'm trying to teach here, you'll get back what you put in. Closing at the end of the night has become a priority to me. Making sure everything is wiped down, flipped, stocked, dated, sanitized and spotless is crucial. Leaving work and knowing everything is in order for a new crew and a new day is a good feeling. Its an even greater feeling knowing its going to make a difference to the morning shifts production and that will make a better dining experience for our customers. It creates a sense of pride.
OK, I'm slowly but surely bringing myself to tears here so to wrap things up lets just say that I've learned a lot more then just how to make a perfect risotto or a rich veal stock. I'm taking away something that can't be dated, labeled and shelved. It's a valuable asset to my future and the next chapter in my life.
Keep on cooking!!!!