Market Garden Brewery Journal
May 16, 2011
I had a smashing interview with the Chef and GM of Bar Cento. I come to understand at that time the Market Garden Brewery and Bar Cento are all under the same management which is very encouraging to me as I have a great amount of respect for Cento. We chatted about cooking style, management style, and my previous places of employment. Personally I can get really uptight and nervous during an interview, but this was very relaxed as if I just met two new guys at a bar. Oh wait, I did! I was asked back for a cooking interview.
One week and a day went by before I came back to cook at Cento as part of my interview. Little did I know the Chef d’Cuisine was the man working next to me. As par course I kept things chilled, my area small, clean, and was polite. I was given a box with a few things in it as well as free range to any other ingredients that interested me. It turned out like this:
Mussel App; Mussel pizza with black olive-orange tapenade, arugula and parmesan cheese next to fennel and Hoggarden braised mussels.
Chicken entrée; Half Chicken three ways….Oregano marinated chicken breast over cauliflower-fingerling potato puree studded with black olives topped with caramelized ramps, pimento esppelite encrusted chicken thighs over black eye and English peas topped with jalapeno-almond brown butter, lastly frenched chicken wings drenched in olive oil and chili flakes.
It went well. We walked through a construction zone that was a restaurant only in ones daydreams. I was offered the job. Accepted it, and explained my situation to my current employer who was more than understanding, even supportive of my opportunity. It was a five star day.
June 6, 2011
Today was my first day on the job. I was instructed to be In ‘around noon’. Cool! I thought I was on time as it takes about 8 minutes to get to Ohio City. What I didn’t plan for was the ten minutes you drive around looking for a safe place to park and the resulting 5 minute walk. So I was about 15 minutes late on my first day. WTF was I thinking. I couldn’t embarrass myself anymore could I?
Yes is the answer. Turns out a management meeting was planned for noon. After walking around the block to where it was I was drenched in sweat, and late. Throw out that first impression, “Hello my name is Michael, I’m late, and now completely soaking wet.” Meeting 7 new people at one time is no easy task add on myself inflicted drama. But I was damn happy to be in a management meeting with a group of people getting organized by a leader and the matter of getting things done most efficiently was conquer and divide.
At this point we walked through a construction zone that only looked faintly more like a restaurant than 2 weeks ago.
I helped a bit on the line at Cento that night aka did some ‘bitch work’ which was, in retrospect, a cool way to ease into things. If it wasn’t 110 degrees with 101 percent humidity that is. The guys seemed cool, everyone was pleasant. Monday night is “Happy Hour all Night” day. It was crazy busy to me, but the crew thought it was kind of slow. The griddle guy had like 11 burgers going on at once with a fryer chocked full of fries all the while the other feller has like 6 pizzas to go into the over. And it’s not even 5 o’clock!
Oh, I forgot the stairs that I thought for sure were going to be my death. I must have gone up and down those fucking stairs 30 times, and about 24 of them I was only centimeters away from breaking my neck.
June 7, 20011
Early in the afternoon we walked through MGB and labeled where we want everything to go. A very interesting task looking at an empty, dark, dusty room and trying to invasion where tables, racks, sinks and shelves should be. Lucky for me most of this was prepared in advance and we just had to apply the tape. At the time of writing this all our equipment will be in position on Friday, it’s Tuesday today.
I got to actually work the line at Cento tonight. Much more satisfying than peeling beets watching other guys cook. Now, today I will say was slow. Compared to last night a real sleeper. Everyone was really cool with showing me what to do, and how to do it to their speck. It’s not my kitchen so it’s just right that I prepare everything the way they want it done. They have a very successful operation.