For a short while

Monday, 4th of July

In a state between fear, amazement and curiosity, I sit inside the bus on the way to Favone,  a paper block in my hands. The person next to me glances at it, perhaps wondering why am I studying such things. The block contains names and their translation, names I will now not ever forget. Entonnoir, louche, seau, spatule, planche, casserole, fuet. Exquisitely functional shapes float into my mind; they are somehow poetic when the language is not yours.
Then I flip the page, looking, peut-etre, even more silly, staring at a picture of a cow cut into pieces, each with its own name, trying to remember which one is the entre-cote and which one the cote. Crevettes, echalottes, framboises. Concombre, pasteque, poireaux. I think I remember them all; so far so good. Every bit of self confidence helps. I get off the bus and look around. The place is right next to the stop. Trying not so look completely lost (and definitely failing at it) I walk along the neatly polished wood beams.

Days go by. I begin by astonishing everybody with my abysmal knife skills, then with my ignorance and finally with a sloth like slowness, a special ability that allows me to open a can of tomatoes in the same amount of time that it takes one of them to cook a rôti de boeuf and dress it all the while brunoiseing an onion with the other hand and keeping an eye on me all the while, because otherwise I’d probably lose a finger or two and smear blood all over the kitchen. Mind you, it takes an awful lot of patience to be a cook, and they were some of
the nicest people I ever met. As a matter of fact, they didn’t try to kill me when I put in the oven the fruit tartelettes instead of the tomato ones, nor when I opened the fridge  and made half a box of croquant de chevre, which we had patiently assembled the week before, fall irrietrevably on the floor, nor when I opened the same fridge the following day and and dropped the shrimps on the floor.
They even went ahead (well, after I had re-made what I had undone..) and told me how they, as beginners, had dropped not a box, but a whole fridge shelf unto another shelf, squashing the owner’s valuable cheese deposit into oblivion, to
which a stranglement attempt on the chef’s part ensued.
And that was that.
There’s more to it, but in the end, I didn’t manage. I left (well, I was thrown out.. amicably, I guess). What is to know is that attempting to learn such a job while in full season was not certainly a good idea, especially not for a slow learner like me. I will try again, that’s for sure. The others even encouraged me to study or apprentissage in France, and that was really kind. So, until next time.

(and am really sorry for bothering the staff over there.. I doubt they will be ever reading this, but I hope they’re having a good time, despite the eternal cat and mouse struggle between kitchen and service, personnel and management)

Oh, and the place? It was supposedly mid-high brow, but in the end some of the most popular dishes were: french fries, menu enfant (well, chicken) and the 25€, saucy, absolutely not fitting into your mouth in a single piece, 10 inch tall burger.
As I suspected, it’s no use hiding behind your foie gras; even if you got a porsche or two, tastier things will always be the same.


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