New Yorker Alfia Muzio, a former lawyer, currently works as a line cook at Marlow & Sons in Brooklyn.
I was overconfident. Maybe even showing off a little. There was a new guy in the kitchen, and perhaps I was a little anxious to prove that I knew something about sauté. My sous-chef had left me in her spot: expediting, plating, buffering between the front of house and the cooks. She had faith in me; I wanted to do it right! I was sure I could! So when the order for the big steak came in, I puffed out my chest a little, no sweat! I could lead the line through one big, very expensive steak! It was a slow night; I’d give that steak my full attention. If I needed back up, my sous-chef was downstairs, within earshot.
I was having a professorial moment with the new guy, explaining how I like to crisp the skin of the duck, just like so. Very pleased with myself. I pulled tickets as they strolled in, bossily calling out tickets to my grill cook, who, while I was busy lecturing the new guy, was becoming increasingly overwhelmed. “Hey, this steak has been up for a while…” Oh. Right. The big steak. I looked up. “A while” was already five minutes too long. And there was an eight-minute fish going with it. And two pork chops. And three burgers. Wait, no, five burgers. One of them well-done.