Silvia & Emanuele Wedding

I posted pictures from one of the best weddings I’ve ever attended tonight.  The wedding was held in Aosta this past June and was practically perfect in every way.   The food was so good we’re considering going back to the hotel just to eat again!  (I posted the menus with the pics).

Got back from our great summer vacation in Upstate NY on Saturday.  It was a wonderful, relaxing vacation; pics soon! 


wedding_flowers.jpgSarah’s wedding was fun! It was nice having a little mini-reunion, and even though it was way too short and we were missing a few people (ahem), I know that at least Carrie and I had a good time! I’ll try to post more pictures later this week.

A Peek Inside Bouchon, and Some Tips for Survival

Pictures from Sean & Erica’s Wedding.

bouchon_napkin.jpgOur walk-in refrigerator is seriously impressive; a gleaming food library of shiny beveled steel and smart plastic containers. It surpasses by 200% every restaurant refrigeration system I’ve ever seen in terms of organization and cleanliness. There is a place for everything and everything MUST go in it’s proper place.

All products are stored in brand new plastic cambros with color coordinating lids or in deli containers–no other container is acceptable for storage. These storage containers must be properly labelled, dated and initialed with green tape, and this label placed approximately one inch from the top of the lid on the front side of the container.

We categorize the shelves, so there’s a shelf for herbs, a separate one for vegetables, yet another for lettuces, condiments, prepared foods, etc., and a separate walk-in entirely for seafood and meat, another for beverages, a third for dairy and one last for bakery products. Everything is alphabetized from top to bottom, left to right. Heaven forbid one of the upper-level chefs (in our complicated hierarchy of chefdom) should find your initials on an improperly stored product!! If you see something in the walk-in that has been improperly stored or that has not been consolidated, you fix it. Even if you’re not the one that screwed it up in the first place. It is the responsibility of each chef to take the walk-in’s sanitation personally.

There are blue aprons and there are white aprons at Bouchon (I’m a blue apron). A white apron means that that particular chef is an intern or recent hire on a probationary period. And though you treat everyone with the utmost respect, blue always outweighs white. It is important to make the rounds every morning when you arrive and every evening before you leave. This involves saying hello/goodnight and shaking hands (when possible) with everyone (from dishwashers to Executive Chef) in the kitchen, and thanking them for their help at the end of the day. Always address everyone as Chef (Insert First Name Here), or you are in breach of the Bouchon Code of Inter-Personal Communications (read: not giving your co-workers the Respect they deserve as employees of this fine establishment).

Question yourself endlessly. Consider why everything is where it is. Does it belong there? Is there a better home for it? Fix it. Clean it. Do it the Right Way.

Never have idle hands; there’s always something else that needs to be done. When in doubt, clean, organize, consolidate.

Bouchon is an upscale French bistro, but it still amazes me how many people speak French in the kitchen! On the line during service if something goes especially well, one of the chefs will exclaim “Viva la France!” and the rest of us enthusiastically echo it down the line. If a Chef asks you to do something, most often the response is “Oui, Chef.” Several of the waitstaff communicate in French and a few of the chefs regularly thank me (“Merci, mon cher”) in that musical language (I envy their beautifully perfect accents).

On a slow morning we serve breakfast to about 180 people, on a busy day up to 300. At dinner they do about 220 on a regular night, so all in all, we’re doing at least 400 covers a day–that’s where all of this militant organization comes in handy! Even though it may sound like kitchen bootcamp, everyone is extremely friendly and the kitchen emanates a positive, upbeat aura of success; it’s not quite as intimidating as it sounds!

In other news, the weather man changed his mind about it only being 98 degrees on Thursday. That’s right folks, triple digits all week long. Yippee! I can’t wait until monsoon season starts.

New Gallery

New to Hotshots: pictures from Phoebe’s Wedding.

Dude, I hate to complain, but here goes. This weather is killing me. Seriously. My hair is falling out, bloody noses every other day, chapped lips, parched lungs, dry eyes: my body can’t handle it!!

Cristina (my new friend!) and I were discussing the weather (we’re looking forward to Thursday, when it’s only supposed to reach ninety-eight degrees, a welcome change from the 105+ we’ve been experiencing lately: wahoo!!) on the maze out of work today. Commuting in Las Vegas hotels is ridiculous. Read on the maze: here’s how we get out of work everyday: down two flights of stairs into a hallway, make hairpin turns among large pipes to the locker room. Then go down another hallway and take an industrial elevator up one flight (no stairs in this area). This brings you to a hallway inside the hotel where the guest suites are. Next we walk down another corridor and take another, fancier elevator to the parking garage, cut through the garage to a back construction alley and take another flight of stairs down to the shuttle loading dock, where the shuttle picks us up and ferries us to our cars in a random open lot three blocks away.

In the car today I was absolutely dehydrated: so thirsty. I grab for the first bottle of water I see (habitually filled before leaving work in order to survive the hot and heinous car ride home) and accidentally grabbed an older bottle of water that I must have left in there yesterday. The water was so hot, I burnt all the tastebuds in my mouth!!! HELLOW. So not cool. 🙂

Tomorrow marks the dawn of my Explore Las Vegas Campaign. Cristina and I are going to the Guggenheim museum inside our hotel. (INSIDE our hotel: ha!). Wednesday I think I’m going to check out Caesar’s. Thursday and Friday are my days off this week and Jen and I have a date on Thursday night: outlet shopping in Primm (a wannabe Las Vegas town 15 minutes North of Henderson), and then dessert at Aureole. Talk about your social butterfly.

But really, life is great here. I love having my own place, my own space, and a real career in a new city! That part is totally fun and fabulous. I just need to flesh out the rest, and we’ll be all good.



AIEEE!!! Just got back from my sister’s wedding in Pennsylvania. It was great! This picture certainly does not do either of them justice due to my Photoshop woes. (You see, I scammed a pirated copy of Adobe from some friends and now the serial number has expired–>alas it no longer works. Fiddlesticks. Does anyone know how to fix this? Or perhaps you have a copy of Adobe that you’d like to send to me?? 🙂 That would be Excellent. Anyhow, it’s as good as you’re gonna get until I save up $900 to buy my own version or until some other solution presents itself.

But back to the wedding…it was great fun! Held at the Centre Bridge Inn on the Delaware River, we were fortunate enough to enjoy our own private ride on a barge-pulled-by-mules! What fun! I’m not even going to promise you pictures in the near future, because it will be impossible for me to upload new photos until mid-August. (TRAGICAL!!!! I just made four beautiful pages, but there’s no way to upload them at the library!! Can we say “frustration?!?!” I think we can).