Tonight I came into work totally refreshed from my midday break and got a surprise. Luca was exhausted from all the manual labor he had done during his time off (fixing up his house, lugging big slabs of steel for construction) so I was put into command up until dinner service started.
I was put behind the helm of the entire station and had to prepare an eggplant cream for later, an eggplant tomato sauce for family meal, i had to cook the pasta for family meal perfectly and make a separate dish of fariccello e asparagi for the Chef. Chef usually doesn't eat what the rest of us eat for family meal because he is on a strict no salt/no fat diet after he had a heart attack a year ago. During all this I also had to help set the table and make sure bread squares that were toasting in a hot pan weren't getting burned. All the while I have no help from Luca who keeps yelling things out at me like: "The eggplant is burning" and "don't forget the unsalted water for the boss" and "watch out! the bread is burning! turn the fire! turn the fire!" (Turn the fire is his Italian way of saying turn down/turn off the flame) Granted he's saying all these things right behind me, easily within distance to lend a helping hand. But that's the point i guess. He knows I could do his job, now he's making me do it and he's giving me pointers so that I move better, think faster.
It was pretty cool to be honest. I hadn't actually cooked anything since I had been here. I plated, sure, and that's always fun for me, its like painting but with food. Cooking is different because it comes with responsibility. I was responsible for making a meal for my fellows here at Villa Maiella. People who eat pasta every day and know how they like it. I also had to cook for the boss man himself Chef Peppino Tinari. I was very nervous about that one but he enjoyed it, as did everyone else. There was not one piece of my pasta still left in that pan after family meal. I had a little warm bubbling of pride about it.
Luca and I also got to talking about restaurant ideas while were stuck sorting through garlic for a while. He asked me if I knew what I wanted my place to be like and I honestly didn't know where to start, from concept to location to design. He told me that "you need to start at the begining. What is your menu going to look like." I knew all along the menu would need to be made but my idea seemed such a dream that I wasn't thinking about that sort of thing in the present. That was an idea for down the road.
But even so, I have a few ideas.
I want the place to be called L'Orto or Il Giardino (they both mean garden, well...Orto means specifically vegetable garden)
I want a bright feel about the place, windows, a see-in kitchen where my customers can watch the magic happen.
The menu would be italian influenced but i want to use other flavors from the mediterranean,
there will be full sized menu items and then can be items on the menu that you can order as a tapas. certain dishes can be made into tapas and vice versa depending on how hungry you are.
I have tons and tons of ideas for this place th atI really need to start putting down on paper but first I have to graduate from culinary school. So, school now, big dreams after. But I'm going for it!