We are well aware of the fact that eating at your favorite restaurant is a special experience. You call, make reservations, and prepare in advance for what you are going to order. You can just envision that special menu item or beverage that you are going to order as soon as you sit down and get comfortable. You hope you get, or you request your favorite server, then, well…let the evening commence.
Meanwhile, in our world, it’s a bit more like…let the games begin! And those as early at 8:00 a.m.
What few people realize is that your one to two hour plus stay with us took about 12 hours of preparation, and weeks of planning on our part, in regards to seasonal items, sourcing, ordering, budgeting and recipe creation—long before you ever walked through our door.
With that, we thought you might enjoy a peek into the behind-the-scenes of all that we do to make that special night, occasion or just evening out perfect, in every way for you!
- AM Sous Chef, Gooch arrives
- Begins focusing on batch cookery (The things that take a lot of time on the stove.)
- Meatballs, mac n cheese, marinara, collard greens, stocks…
- This also assists in allowing space for the other kitchen staff when they arrive.
- NOTE: If we were to all arrive at 1pm and everyone needed 2 burners on the stove, that just couldn’t happen. Everything is carefully planned out. There’s rhythm and a routine.
- Knife work commences next for vegetables or butchering for fish, pork, or chicken.
- On Mon./Wed./Fri., Chris from White Squirrel Farm arrives with produce.
- Pastry Chef, Mini Miller arrives.
- (She doesn’t work every day. She can wrap up at 11am or 2pm, but then… she bar tends.)
- Creation Gardens arrives daily with additional produce (All as local and regional as possible.)
- Chef Hal arrives after dropping oldest son off at school
- Fresh fish arrives from either Inland seafood or Evans meats
- Beverages begin arriving from up to five different vendors
- Sous Chef Danny arrives.
- Works the grill station.
- Walks the kitchen with his clip board, organizing prep lists, ordering and purchasing before he actually picks up a knife (somewhere around Noon.)
- Chicken Livers arrive from Wedge Oak Farms
- The remainder of the kitchen staff begins arriving
- Grill, Pizza station & Saute’ stations and Pantry Chef arrive
- Goal is gathering up ingredients to make sure they can open their stations and be up and running at 4pm for Community Hour
- Pizza Station
- Begins making pizza portion dough that will be used that night and the proofing dough for the next day. Portions need to be proofed as part of the daily
- Begins making mozzarella and ricotta cheese, and the chili oil
- Chopping and prepping toppings for the pizza
- Preps the vegetables for the entire kitchen and those that will be roasted in the woodburning oven
- Saute station
- Portioning of “sets” (the Mise en Place for one plate.)
- For example, the sets (farrow, barley, veggies) for the “Catch” dish are placed into little sets in small delis so that for service they are already measured and portioned. Portion control is very important for financial reasons and for consistency. If you don’t make sets, and if you rely on your hand and your eyes, when you are in the rush of the evening, the sets will change. You lose money on the inconsistencies.
- It’s important for every guest at 5pm or 10pm to receive the same portion of food. Every dish should be consistent in regards to the same, so sets are important on the saute’ station.
- Lobster salad for the lobster tacos is prepped (Tails were blanched by the A.M. chef.)
- Grill station
- Begins cutting meat: the strips, rib eyes…
- Preps the duck and 3 sides
- Also preps the Chimi
- Heats up collard greens, and Mac N cheese sauces
- Linens arrive
- Woodburning oven is fired up to meet daily needs
- bone marrow, mozzarella for the pig pizza, vinegar, empenada pork or chicken for the filling, and fish/trout.
- While the pizza station is doing dough work and making mozzarella, they are constantly roasting vegetables
- Timers are set as the smoker is out back. We can’t afford to forget something that is out there. (note: nuts or bacon burn the easiest and those are expensive.)
- 1st Bartender arrives
- Bartender stocks the bar, makes the shrubs, does all of the juicing, making a punch for Community Hour.
- Cara changes out the menu and prints off new copies
- Cara samples new wines and spirits.
- Pantry Chef arrives
- Hostess arrives
- Checks messages, calls all reservations to confirm. Stocks the Books and products wall.
- Cara goes to the bank.
- When wood burning up to temp
- an array of vegetables begins roasting for different menu items
- Bear Creek Farms arrives with beef for Meatballs
- Cara follows up vendors, invoicing, bills
- Nashville Grown arrives with local produce
- Wait staff arrives.
- Opening duties of the servers begins:
- cleaning, folding napkins, cleaning bathrooms, breaking down boxes from the food deliveries and placed in the recycle dumpster
- Walk the perimeter of the building picking up trash and cigarette butts.
- Servers set up the tables, and the patio areas
- Dusting, extra side work every day, perhaps taking of the chairs and the legs to fix them
- 1x weekly – Dust boards, and remove the products and dust the shelves. “Otherwise Hal and I could never keep up and keep it cleaned.”
- Doors open for Community Hour. Porter Road Butcher delivers the local meat.
- Dishwasher arrives
- Server lIneup.
- Chef and Danny talk about the menu details:
- Evening specials, catch of the day and empanada filling are, pizza of the night, and the roasted vegetable selection
- Any thoughts or concerns are discussed at this time.
- Tasting of new wines, cocktails
- Discuss Draft Beer Changes
- Kitchen puts up samples of specials of the day for servers to try and experience.
- Dining room and main menu opens
- 2nd bartender and the 2nd hostess arrives
- Expo arrives…(person who calls in the tickets and helps run food..works in the pas… is the mediator between the kitchen and the front of the house.)
- Dining Room Main menu is now available. Community Hour guests are able to order from that menu as well.
- Reservations arrive those that are on time, as well as those that are early and those that are late. The seating, shifting and readjusting begins.
- Guest seated, drinks made, food ordered and sent to the kitchen. Food made, Server runs food to the table, eat dinner, food cleared, dishes to the dish pit…repeat
- The hustle and the bustle and the rhythm begins
- The sounds of the kitchen, and the plates and the people…the good noise level builds and the energy soars.
- Community Hour Menu goes away
- You are HERE!
- Kitchen closes
- Family meal goes up
- Kitchen is cleaned
- silver is polished
- trash taken out, recyclables going to specific areas
- candles being blown out after the last guest leaves
- We don’t have one person that closes. We are so busy everybody stays.
- Danny secures the back door and sets the alarm
Heats up the marinara and the meatballs, making the grits, warming up the sauces,