My first experience as a prep cook was accidental. I was going to work during my summer off from being a media specialist with 3rd and 4th graders to be a bar cashier at an entertainment venue. Weeks went by and I hadn't even been put on one shift. Necessity outweighed common sense so I accepted a job working in the cafe kitchen with my husband, his boss and the rest of the crew. Now this kitchen not only put out a dinner buffet every night for it's paying guests but we also fed and cooked for the artists and their staff.
I was really nervous and excited about this at the same time. Occasionally an artist would bring in their own catering crew. This was so with a particular event for a major country star. I was excited and got to work backstage with her personal chefs and had grown accustomed to working at a frantic pace and getting a lot done in little time. When backstage you see everything from the tour buses, to the families, sound checks, costumes you name it, it all happens there. It was amazing to see fridges stocked full of food you only see on food network.
I must have cut three cases of tri-colored cauliflower that day. Within our U-shaped working stations each cook two others and myself we prepped, cooked and served lunch and dinner to about 140 people. Finally one of the chefs asked me if I had eaten yet to which I replied "Well, no, but i have to finish cutting this first." After being given the hairy eyeball I got a plate sat at one of the tables to find myself sitting three feet away from the well-known country singer, her children and their nannies. Needless to say I was a little starstruck, starstruck dumb. My mouth must have been hanging open because when she turned and looked at me with her very bright blue eyes, I snapped my gaping mouth shut and looked down very intently at my plate of food studying the shapes and texture of what I was eating. Forget that... I was staring at my food thinking "I am an idiot I just got caught gawking at a country star."
After finishing the meal I very stealthily got up, took care of my plate and tripped over the leg of the table. Yep, grace at its finest. The rest of dinner prep consisted of me stuffing almonds into dates and wrapping them in bacon. It was a triumph when I was told that the crew was stuffing sandwich bags with dates to eat on the bus trip later.
This was a memorable day and story sometimes filled with tears when I relay it because at the very end of this eventful day.... I was offered a job by the head of the catering crew....Me.... I have no experience doing this.. It was like a friend asking you to come out and play and saying, sorry I have homework or sorry I'm grounded. In this case it was sorry, I'm married and have a son and I'm really a librarian. If this had been three years ago I would jump on that bus as fast as a kid would run away with the circus. With the chef's business card in hand I triumphantly waved it under my chef's nose and relayed to him the events of the day. After telling my chef and the exec chef everything I very smugly turned on my heel leaving them with their mouth hitting the floor and finished it off with a quick "Yes" and a fist pump.