What is it-five weeks? Six weeks since I started at Nopa? I'm not even really sure. Days blur into nights...then back into days again. Cappuccino's at eleven thirty are becoming a nightly thing.

Tired? Sure. Nothing major, but it has taken a little getting used to. A seven hour service is a rarity in this city. That the cooks are so dialed and motivated makes a big difference, It's maybe the most unique group of cooks i've ever worked with...but with the same ole' jaded world view cooks are known for. There's a Tongan, a former pro poker player, a former waiter, and a guitar teacher. We talk about comics, sci-fi, 80's movies...and cooking. Did I mention they play De La Soul in the dining room during service?

Nopa is not a "relaxed" place though. Although there is no yelling, no scolding, no humiliation....everyone stays on their toes--as the idea of letting down the guests (and owners, who are right there, working as hard as everyone else) is unbearable. For me, the daily pressure of not fucking up what they had built over the last two years has been hard at times.

I don't come from a "rustic" background...so something as simple as plating has been interesting. After all the ornate sauce drags, and garnishing garnishes, letting the food "fall" on the plate (but still making it look good) can be a challenge. I get daily jokes about stacking my food into a tower.

Hopefully it wont be weeks before my next post.


dylan said...

Mmmmmm tower of food...

The Cheesemonger's Wife said...

it's like achieving the 'just woke up' look hair-do but knowing they spent half an hour flat ironing it and applying styling wax to get it perfectly messy.