15 is my new lucky number

11 May

Today, I worked 15.5 hours, with a 15 minute break. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal, even in Spain. But, the good news is I still have 5 toes on each foot and 5 fingers on each hand, even if my fingernails and fingers, in general, have not been this stained and filthy since I was a kid. Think: cleaning/stabbing yourself with shrimp head shells and then cleaning cuttlefish (essentially, like baby calamari) that bleeds black into the cuts and fingernails. Then, cleaning the blood out of eel. I always said black was my color!

It’s 3:22 a.m. Barcelona time and I just took a shower and I’m doing some laundry so I have clean clothes for Saturday’s work. Since it takes 2 days to air dry my chef’s coats and pants, and I only brought 3 of each (stupid!), I’m waiting for the washer to finish.

Luckily, this is “kind of” another short week for me. I went in on Tuesday and then had to leave after 1.5 hours. I barfed while putting the chicken pieces on the palillos (small sticks = skewers, or in the case of “dos palillos” 2 chopsticks) for the chicken yakitori. I was feeling queazy that morning at breakfast and convinced myself I was just tired, which I was and am. Very tired would be a bit of an understatement. Anyway, obviously, something in my system was unhappy and I started to dry heave and all of a sudden…. well, yes. I went home. No one likes a barfer around food. I slept the rest of the afternoon and all was fine the next day.

My love was in town for the weekend. After flying I don’t know, around 16 hours, to get to me after a long week, he came to eat at Dos Palillos and Takeshi, the Chef de Cuisine, made up a 17 course tasting menu for him from the selections of the evening. The menu is at top. Carnet took pictures and keeps threatening to do a guest blog, but he just flew 24 hours to India and is a wreck, so I’ll forgive him 😉 I’ll leave the food assessment for another time.  Maybe he’ll even tell you about all the wine and cava he drank, courtesy of Chef Albert Raurich – ha!

Speaking of food… the Paki is sneaking me tastes of everything and so is Borja. Borja is the grill master, and the one I get along with the best. One would think that it has a lot to do with the fact that he speaks spectacular English, but you’d be surprised at how little language you need in common to laugh with someone, to understand their body language, and to have a full on conversation for quite a while. Borja is 25, has worked for some of the best chefs in the world, is very talented, is irreverent like all young chefs, and knows that he should be deferential to someone older (me). Surprising to me, he has given me good advice, and he also tries to help me as much as possible to see what I don’t see in the kitchen. And, that’s the key about running a kitchen… to see what you wouldn’t normally see. That comes from experience, yes, but like every profession, there’s a rhythm one must find to make the orchestra sound like more than just it’s different instruments.

Unfortunately, this instrument has a zit on her chin the size of Manhatten. Since I’m working pastry, there’s lots of sugar around, and of course, I have to taste everything I make, every day, and sometimes then some.

I need to exercise, I need to sleep, I need to ice my feet, I need to tell my friends and family I love them more. As to the last part, please accept this as another form of me thinking about you all and sending you loving thoughts.

Hopefully, this weekend, I’ll get around to uploading more pics from the awesomest (yes, I know that’s not a word) camera in the world that C bought me. Until then, happy eating. Laundry and bed are calling me. I only have 6 more hours before another 15.5 hour day (if I’m lucky) starts again.

Quick pic of the “japo burger” aka slider that Borja snuck me (indeed, it’s a very good burger, with pickled cucumbers, homemade ketchup and shiso leaves on top):

2 Responses to “15 is my new lucky number”

  1. Bev May 11, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    Love you too!

  2. Shannon May 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    wow. So this 15.5 hour work day is your schedule 5 days a week??!! Well, we’ll make light of this over a good rioja soon, and repeatedly again when you have that fabulously successful food truck down the road :o)

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