Luckily, Ludo Lefebvre, the Georgia sports teams happy holidays abbey road signatures shirt it is in the first place but handsome, tattooed, Michelin-starred chef who owns the Petit Trois restaurants in Los Angeles, didn’t know that. At noon on a Thursday I walked through the swinging kitchen door of Chez Maggy, Lefebvre’s bistro at the Thompson Hotel in Denver. I was met by chef de cuisine Jeff Schwing, who was much cheerier than I thought chefs were allowed to be. He gave me a black button-down shirt, an apron, and the worst knife I’ve ever used. It had a plastic handle, a dull blade, and, I’m guessing, a rich history of opening Amazon packages. I was there to “stage”—the French term for unpaid interning at a restaurant either to learn or audition for a job. But I had created staging as an entirely new endeavor, as a baseball fantasy camp for foodies. Soon dentists and executives alike would follow my lead and pay to peel carrots at Le Bernardin. The fantasy chefs would show their friends photos of them holding a pan with Eric Ripert and explain how they now understand that a kitchen is too hot and too stressful, and how they appreciate fine dining more than they did before. And I think they’d be getting a deal. The first thing Jeff taught me was how to set up my station. I had to put my hotel pans at the corners of my cutting board and fold my towels so the stripes faced the same way. Working in a kitchen, I was learning, was more about organization than sharp knives.
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Jeff gave me a recipe for a chorizo cream sauce that would accompany a squid dish. It seemed like a lot to trust me with until I saw that it was just cooking the Georgia sports teams happy holidays abbey road signatures shirt it is in the first place but flavor out of chorizo in a pot of cream. Still, I nervously read the four-line recipe 10 times before I started hacking chorizo with what may or may not have been the blade edge of that knife. While the sauce simmered, Ludo entered the kitchen and gave me onions to evenly slice so he could pickle them as a garnish on hamachi. He told me to go slowly. I did. And he actually used them. Then he told me that Joël Robuchon, for whom he had worked, would have made me slice them thinner. What I didn’t realize when I was worrying about chiffonading is that there’s a lot of grunt work to be done in a kitchen. I spent an hour picking cilantro and basil leaves off stems. I chopped the tops off scallions. I removed the tops and bottoms of figs, put them on a steam pan, and slotted them on a rack in the walk-in. I barked, “Behind!” and “Corner!” as I walked through the kitchen. Jeff called me “chef” and I blushed. “We call everyone in the kitchen that,” he explained. An hour later Ludo asked for the figs. I went to get them from the walk-in. They weren’t there. I panicked. These figs were going out to an expensive wine pairing dinner in a private room. I told Ludo the figs were missing, and he raised his voice in anger as a joke, but it was loud and clear and let me know that Ludo could yell for real. I rechecked every rack in the fridge. Ludo was about to go to the downstairs kitchen that cooks for the hotel conferences when Jeff found the fugitive figs behind duck legs someone had put in front of the pan. No one has been so relieved to see figs since prudes first encountered Michaelangelo’s David.
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