Apologies to my school for not updating daily this week – it’s been an exhausting couple of days! As I mentioned, I started work at a new restaurant in Couëron on Tuesday. It’s a small family-run operation called “Osmoz”, with the Chef, one other cook, and myself in the kitchen, and the chef’s girlfriend and a waiter in front. The capacity is 34 (I believe) and the restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner service Tuesday through Saturday. I work every morning/afternoon from 9am until about 3pm or so, and I also work evenings on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from about 5:30pm until the end of service, somewhere around 10pm.
Despite the restaurant’s small size – or actually, because of it – the kitchen has more than enough to do during service. The Chef is very particular and keeps a clean, orderly kitchen. He’s more than enthusiastic in teaching me both patisserie/plating and the french language. He enjoys having me take part in the entire dessert process, from mise en place (beginning) to dressage (plating), and would like me to very quickly become independent in the kitchen, primarily for my benefit but probably also for his.
I genuinely appreciate the opportunity for a more thorough learning experience. It is, however, exhausting. I am required to not only memorize all of the recipes right away (in Celsius and metric systems), but also truly learn French while simultaneously adjusting to new procedures and plates. The Chef is insistent on my learning French – yes, this will definitely benefit me in the future, and you cannot believe how much my vocabulary and understanding of the language has grown even over the past seven weeks. And yet, my brain doesn’t currently want to retain both techniques and more new language at the same time. And because everyone at Osmoz is so incredibly kind, humor is nearly constant and everyone wants me to truly understand each joke. My head is struggling to keep up with all of the new vocabulary and phrasing.
For example, I can’t for the life of me remember the particular sentence the Chef wants me to call out when the dessert plates are ready to be served. If only I could get someone to say them a litttttllleee bit slower… Instead, every time the phrase is thrown at me, I only think of a lyric in French from a song on the radio, “Remets nous les glaçons”. This isn’t helpful.
Anyway, I have only three weeks at Osmoz, but I can already see that I will, out of necessity, vastly improve in plating both in speed and creativity. Ingredients are limited in small family-run operations, so I foresee reusing many of the same plating components in various combinations in the future. The Chef already challenges me to come up with my own plate ideas, and maybe one day I’ll create one to his liking. In the meantime, I will do my best to learn on all fronts. Everything happens very quickly at Osmoz and I have little time to pause and take pictures, but I will post what I can. But not tonight, because I’m tired and have to research plating to discuss with the Chef tomorrow. Wish me luck!