LONG POST AHEAD!
So to catch you guys up I've been line cooking at an old school French style hotel kitchen for the last few months after being a Sous for a long time. It's a loud kitchen with old crappy equipment, a snobby French expeditor whose English is terrible, a new head chef who is in way over his head, and we do 100+ covers on the weekend with only 2 stations on hot line. I've been doing extremely well up until our new menu change because it was planned out terribly. The new head chef did not factor execution into the menu change at all for my station, it's the most poorly planned menu I have ever seen!
So we have an old school French menu because of the type of establishment, I work meat station and on my side I have:
Statler Chicken with baby spring vegs (expensive baby veggies!) and herbed pommes puree, jus
Lamb Rack with Favas, carrot puree and glazed tiny turnips from a local farm
6 oz. Filet with truffle pommes puree, asparagus, cippolini onions and demi glace
6 oz. Veal sirloin with sweetbreads and lardons, shallots and artichokes, and mustard pan sauce
And a grilled burger for room service (which outsells them all!)
On my station I have a grill, a six burner range with 2 ovens (one doesn't work) and a dead salamander which holds my plates because the heat from the grill underneath keeps them warm.
The major problem is everything is sauteed or pan seared! I only grill the filet and the burger, all the other proteins I pan sear and finish in the oven. ALL of the sides are sauteed or reheated on the range as well, nothing is hot held so even pommes puree I am reheating with a knob of butter and cream to order on the range, even the sauces get a flash before I spoon them over the protein. As you can see I run out of burners instantly! My 6 burners are going like lightning and my oven is being opened and closed every 30 secs all the while my big old grill is barely cooking anything. WORST MENU PLANNING EVER!!!!
I talked to the chef about incorporating the grill more and consolidating more like grilling the asparagus instead of sauteed, deep frying the sweetbreads insteading sauteeing with lardons, making the carrot puree chilled instead of warm, making a mustard sauce before service instead of making a pan sauce to order, grilling the veal instead of pan searing etc. etc. I basically got "well I don't like my veal grilled and making a pan sauce without a fond is pointless, the carrot puree needs to be warm and grilled asparagus is not pretty". All valid points to varying degrees but I can not get the food out with some many components of each dish requiring one burner, a two top ticket with a veal and a filet require 8 separate pans and on 6 burners it's chaos in the middle of a busy service. Not to mention I still need to get my temps right!
I am incorporating the grill where I can like parking the glazed turnips in a pan on top of the grill, same with the cippolini onions as well as reheating the pommes puree on top of the grill when it's not too busy because it takes so long. The other side components I simply need the regulated heat from a burner instead of the grill for things like sauteeing the sweetbreads and getting the water to boil for the baby spring veg. I am also keeping the lamb at room temperature because they are cooking so much quicker compared to from fridge temp.
I am getting my temps done correctly despite the chaos of pan searing everything and trying to finish in the oven which is being opened and closed very frequently and thus dropping the the temp like crazy. THANK GOD.
Any advice for me? I am super conscious about food quality but the chaos of a poorly planned station is driving me to almost quit during busy nights, I am willing to take advice anywhere even if it means sacrificing food quality to some degree ( I don't care who judges me, try doing this station yourself on 100+ cover nights LOL). I am a strong line cook and meat station is my specialty but something has to give before I give myself a heart attack!