A few weeks ago, I did something that I’d been thinking about doing for a while. I emailed my favorite restaurant in D.C. and asked if I could work in their kitchen.
Well, “work” in the sense that I would do whatever they asked me to do, not in the sense of getting paid. For the past two Saturdays, I’ve reported to the kitchen as a stage and fumbled my way through prep and service. The second time was only slightly less nerve-wracking than the first. Luckily, most of the anxiety has faded as soon as I walk through the back door because I’m too busy trying to pay attention to everything, work quickly, keep busy, and not drop anything or cut/burn myself in the process. I’ve been mostly successful so far.
The afternoons have been all about basic prep. I picked herbs, sliced garlic on a mandolin, grilled bread, and generally helped get things in order before the Saturday-night rush. I helped one of the line cooks during service and eventually could (mostly) confidently assemble a few of the dishes to-order.
It’s been thrilling and crazy and totally different. It almost doesn’t seem real because it’s so out of context from my day-to-day life. The people have been fantastic, the work exciting, and the food delicious. I have a ton of thoughts and questions, but all I know is that I’m going back this weekend.
And back to our scheduled programming…
I picked up a tube of almond paste when it was on sale at the grocery store a few months ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf tempting me ever since. I love marzipan and almond croissants — anything with that intense almond flavor. I thought about almond sweet rolls but in the end decided on making a larger twist. The rolling-cutting-twisting process is much easier than it might look. The ribbons of almond filling twisting through the soft, yeasted bread are punctuated with bursts of fresh raspberries, because it’s spring and anything with fruit qualifies as breakfast in my book.