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« Napa Valley Eating & Imbibing | Main | The Kitchen Sisters - Hidden Kitchens go to London June 26, WNPR »

21 June 2008


Sabayon for an Hour?

Weston, The first time I made sabayon in a restaurant the pastry chef needed about 8 quarts to start with. She set me up on milk crates with our largest bowl and whisk, and I stood tall over the polenta pot, and whisked until I was completely soaking wet, through and through.

So, yes. An hour. Quite possibly more. ~ Shuna

You have no idea how much I love you, do you? It's posts just like this that make me want to devour this site. Your insight and writing just rocks my world.


And with temps in the 100s down here it's totally appropriate.

I remember once plating twenty creme brulees at once. I stupidly set the torch down to get the next tray swapped out and stupidly reached in front of the flame. I actually watched the fleshy part of my left palm at the base of my thumb shrink and wrinkle as my flesh burned and coagulated-- exactly the way a piece of meat in a hot pan seizes. It was sort of amazing. Thank G-d it was the end of service. All I had left was packing up and doing cleanup with a bucket of hot sanitizing solution. I worked pretty much one handed the rest of the night.


O. oof. ouchy wa wa. and yet. I know. I understand. And the absolutely CRAZY thing about this story? I get it that you kept on working. But few others will. ~ Shuna

Bring it on. Lets hope all my 100 mile bike rides in 90 degree heat do something to temper me for this experience some day...

Isnt it funny that the things that are trying to cool are making a lot of the heat. There must be a better way than this...

It was 114 on our kitchen thermometer yesterday. Freezers were VERY unhappy.
As for liquid nitrogen...clearly you haven't seen the TC finale yet ;)

Aaron! O yes, we have a kitchen thermometer too... Ours said 110F when I left at 2. The only difference? You have a hood system. ~ Shuna

I can absolutely remember last Summer Being in that same Gramercy ktichen you discribed. I think people have no idea how hot is truly hot. I mean everyone sees the construction worker outside, but not the cooks in the molten hot cave. Those were some brutal days... class in the day... line at night... all while NYC was well over 90F. Drinking gallons of water and still not needing to use the bathroom for 14 hours. The number of shirts and jackets I could plow through... woof.

These past few days have been unbearable... especially in Danville. I always make frozen treats for the guys on the line. Ice cream sandwiches & popsicles. They go fast. I'm lucky that my prep area is around the corner from the ovens... but when I am up there baking, making ice cream bases & puddings... it is HOT!

It's especially nasty when you have bad chapped lips.

Sugarbuzz. O yes. Chapped lips. And soft butter doesn't help much but olive oil can. It is sooooo sweet that you make treats for the line. I love this kind of camaraderie! /p.s. nice to hear from you again. ~ Shuna

Ahh, the hot kitchen. On day one of our new menu last week, I am prepping at 9am, and I look down at the biotherm in my pocket and it reads 125. Good times on top of the stress.

Thank you again Shuna.

I very much dig this post but i have one small two part question
1a) why of all the places would one choose the walk-in to have sex in
1b) when would a line cook find the time to do this


It's been a long time since I have said your name. An old friend of mine from high school was given it as well.

a line cook who is really good at her/his job can make time for drinking, drugs or sex, if the opportunity presents itself. why the walk in? you can close the door and the light and even the latch if you're really inventive! ~ Shuna

I've been busy working with no full time assistant. A friend helped me out for a few weeks but now I'm solo again.

Try olive oil & tea tree oil's great for chapped lips, acne, bug bites..etc.

well said. or written.

Hey Shuna! The guy working the woodfire oven in pic number two looks pretty hot, also. But maybe it's just me. :)

PS - I love your posts about coming up to Napa. I live here! I long for the day where I run into you and/or you show me around the farm. Or teach me anything. ;)

OoOoOo, I really liked reading that, what you just wrote. It's really good, just like starting to eat a water melon, making your way through it, bite after bite. Then? Munching down to the rind, on the last piece. Just like that.


Doctor Meat Angel Biggles,

You have the best, most delicious metaphors. I have eaten a lot of watermelon as of late and I have to say your description might very well have described how I felt writing this post! xo ~ Shuna

How AWESOME!!!(as usual)

This brought back so many memories. I can't even begin. And who told you about the box of cornstarch in the bathroom????
P.S. LOVE the new format!!!!

malvissimo! glad you laughed your bootylicous off! /remember-- you aren't the Only Southerner I've fallen in love with.... I have my Yankee ways of prying secrets out... with okra! XO ~ pescado

i love reading your pieces very real and earnest stuff keep it up id love for u to stop by and read some of mine as i get rolling

Yes! Kitchens=hot. Kitchens + summer=HOT

Two hot experiences:

1. Caramelized sugar dripping onto your hand, hardening on melting skin.

2. Deck ovens, Texas in August, no vent hood, 2000 cookies to bake.

So brutal and fantastic.

Me:'s fuckin hot in here today.

Nopa Cook: Yeah...air conditioning isnt sustainable.

cooking on a 800 degree mesquite grill/rotisserie with a big swollen fever blister lip-heaven!!!

I used to be the tournant at a restaurant in NYC during December where everyone and their mother goes out to dinner after christmas shopping, or entire offices and companies are holding private events in our PDR...I was on grill for a good two weeks...the hood system cuts out over the grill in the middle of service. the rest of the line's hood system was at half power. our ventilation and AC was out of service. this was Friday at 9pm...were getting slammed. forget sweat dripping down your entire body...i was soaked through my jacket. my shoes were little pools around my feet. the worst part - a party of 25, choice of pouissin, fresh pasta, or grilled 28 day aged sirloin. 23 of these people order sirloins. The kitchen was covered in black smoke. i couldnt see the beef on the grill. to be honest I couldnt see my hands...can you imagine the smoke?! still though the food got out perfectly...and even worse...that was only friday night....we had saturday, sunday, and monday berofre it was fixed monday night into tuesday morning...that was HELL...

Damn! Awesome post, Shuna. I'd somehow missed it until today. Good thing the web is world wide, so we can keep reading your words when you move to England.

Love this post Shuna. Last year I cooked at The Secret Garden Party Festival in a plastic marquee. Very hot. Not much water around.

MsMarmiteLover! oof! sounds dreadful! thanks for reading-- i know you know! xo shuna

Wait till you're in a kitchen with hot flashes. Are you there yet? I can't even deal with them in my own kitchen, can't imagine trying to work through them in a commercial kitchen. Oy. Great post as always Shuna! xoxo

Remember how glamorous people made this industry???
Only tough as nails sort of people in kitchens know!!

I remember my first pro.job was in a corporate kitchen and I was put on the saute station, that day making individual omelets with choice of filling. There were hundreds of customers on line and I had to move fast. I asked the helper to stack the pans for me to reach and he stacked the ones that just came off the flame. As I reached to get one, it burned the inside of my forearm and there was nothing I could do, just keep on cooking until the rush was over, blistered for days and hurt like a son of a bitch, i still have the scar. The TV does make cooking look glamorous but it's hot, wet, and miserable in the Summer, but oh the smell of dough rising!!!

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