Written by Rae
This past Saturday Ben and I staged at The Beastro in Hongdae. Shit got real when Executive Chef Matthew Chung told us we were going to be working from 10:00am-12:00am. But guess what, that’s what the other chefs have been pulling the past three weeks Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays – so mad respect goes out there to anyone busting their ass in a kitchen all day long.
Neither of us had ever worked in a kitchen before, so we were anxious to see what it was like behind the scenes at The Beastro. We arrived at exactly 10:00am and were immediately given uniforms and shoes to wear in the kitchen.
Here’s a list of some of the stuff we did:
– chop parsley and cilantro for chimmichurri sauce
– peel, cut, and cooked mashed potatoes for potato bread
– made vinaigrette
– made bagna cauda
– butchered and vacuum packed a shit load of hanger steaks
– butchered and vacuum packed chickens (learning experience because I screwed one up, so that went in “Family Meal”)
– made biscuit dough
– peeled and chopped onions, probably around 50L
– chopped watermelon for Jungle Juice
– grated a shit load of cheese
– helped clean up the kitchen at the end of service
The thing that surprised us the most was how much stuff is prepared in advance. I mean obviously kitchens have to prep for their service, but we never knew what kind of planning, quantity, and physical labor went into that. It’s a lot!
For example, even when you decide to order a salad, someone has chopped the kale, made the cheese, made the vinaigrette, butchered, sous vide and cooked the chicken; and not just for your salad, for hundreds of other peoples’ salads, too. To most eaters, it might just look like a simple, refreshing salad, that they think they can make at home – but it’s the huge quantities of prepping that makes the job arduous, even if the task is as simple as cutting tails off garlic or cutting onions. Not to mention the long hours, which is mentally exhausting; and we weren’t even cooking anything! Shit is intense!!!
Overall, Ben and I really enjoyed our experience at The Beastro, and by enjoyed I don’t mean to glamorize the hard work of a chef – again, mad props to anyone who does this for a living. It was an experience where we both learned a lot. It was super intense, but we both tried our best during the double shift. Afterwards there was a Back to School Party on the rooftop (saw a lot of old faces). I honestly don’t even know how anyone after working that long in a kitchen could go and socialize with other human beings, but Ben’s Jungle Juice and my glass of red wine helped as we celebrated our first time busting ass in a kitchen. We hope to be able to do this again in other kitchens or bakeries to learn more about food and cuisine, and for me it settled some qualms about whether or not I could handle the kitchen. I think I could.
Thanks to The Beastro and all the employees who helped us during the day!