Those of us who have been in kitchens a long time and especially those of us who have been confined by the four walls of the same kitchen for years tend to become very jaded. It's just really tough to bring excitement and enthusiasm to the kitchen day after day, which is in part why I change the menu daily and why I am always bringing new ingredients into the kitchen, ones that we've never worked with before.
It also helps to have fresh blood in the kitchen. This week we were fortunate to have two young cooks in our kitchen, one visiting during her break between culinary schools and one testing for a cook's position with us. Fresh blood helps remind us that things that we do daily and that are actually quite boring for us, such as making risotto, are still new and exciting to others. It helps us reach back and remember the first few times we made risotto (rather than the first few times this week).
I want to thank our culinary student Carlyn, shown at right here finishing the garnish on a couple of fall salads, for spending time with us and for working my station last evening. It was so slow that she and our sous chef ran the show and I went home and cooked dinner for my family, a real treat if there ever were one. I cannot remember the last Friday that I was at home.
Carlyn, good luck to you in cooking school in Florence (we all envy you the opportunity) and when you're back, I expect both an appetizer and an entrée contribution for our menu! As they say in Florence, "In bocca al lupo!"