I recently had the pleasure of stepping back into a high volume fine dining kitchen to cook a dinner service. Going into the evening I was a little nervous since the chef had told me that we had over two hundred diners on the books. I can tell you that working in a high-volume professional kitchen you will get burned and you will push yourself to the absolute limits of your physical and mental ability.
Most commercial kitchens or “lines” are broken down into “stations” each being responsible for certain items or dishes. Tonight I was working the middle, or the “wheel.” I was responsible for three complete dishes, the plate up and timing of the other two cooks on the hotline, sauté and broiler. I definitely had my work cut out for me. The tickets started pouring in. I call the first ten that printed out, grouping things together for each cook so they could focus on cooking. Also making sure I staggered the calls so the dishes would come up together. Eventually we got into a zone and I was able to steer the ship in the right direction. It went on and on for what seemed like forever relentlessly pushing us with larger and larger quantities of each menu item in each wave. I remember wondering if we would run out of anything since I had not been there to set things up. I also remember thinking “at least we don’t have French onion soup on the menu.”
You see although I love French onion soup I most certainly dread having to push out two hundred of them in a short amount of time. Balancing that screaming hot soup bowl back and fourth from the broiler to the line is quite nerve racking to say the least. I am glad I didn’t have French onion on the menu that night. That being said I really do love it! Gooey cheese pushing through the deep and complex flavors and textures below. Well that just makes me want to have some right now. So I present to you my take on French onion soup. Bon Appétit!