Did you know you could make raisins? We all know we can buy raisins, but who knew that we could make them using Pedro Ximenez sherry and alginic acid? Did you also know that you could make Foie Gras donuts and paint them with coconut and a pink edible coloring? Or make a coconut by freezing coconut foam and then spray -painting its exterior with chocolate to make it look like a coconut? And please, trust me, it does taste like a coconut! Well, these are just three of the amazing things I learned during my first days of internship in the kitchen of Hotel Arts Barcelona’s two Michelin star restaurant, Enoteca
It all started with – “Hello, My name is Ipshita. And I am the new girl (the only girl) here! I think my apron is too long, can you help me put it on?” Up to that moment, I had no idea I was talking to the head chef of a Michelin star restaurant. He smiled, took my apron and said, “don’t worry we have enough time to figure that out”.
When I think of how my first week of internship started in the kitchen of one of the best restaurants in Spain, I remember learning something new every single hour. On the first day I was instructed to make over 200 tuna quenelles that had to weigh precisely 14 grams each for the Tapas Nigiri. With little to no knowledge of how a Michelin star restaurant works, I asked my sous chef, Marcos, how he knew about the measurement of salt since everybody’s taste of salt was different. (jillszeder.com) He told me that this is Paco Perez’ restaurant and that we try to deliver what the executive chef wants not what the customer wants. Since this is a gastronomic restaurant, people come to experience the “Food of Paco Perez”. So, if he wants no salt in a particular dish, we deliver that.
I must say, his point of view did shock me. Having worked already for four months in most of Hotel Arts Barcelona’s front of house F&B operations, our main goal was always to deliver what a customer wants and as a result, we tried extremely hard to make the customer feel satisfied. However, it works completely different in a restaurant where we are plating a fish that costs 80 euros.
From the first day, I was responsible for one whole section of tapas along with two more trainees. This meant huge responsibilities but by the middle of the week, I was familiar with how each and every one of the seven tapas is made.
At the moment I am only in my second week of training in the kitchen of this two Michelin Star restaurant. This means that I am faced with a schedule that demands a 13 or 14 hour work day, so naturally a lot of people ask me if I am okay with it. And I never hesitate to mention how happy I am to be there and to be trained by some of the best chefs in the world. We usually make production the entire day, right up until three hours before opening and then we jump in to give a hand in service of these fabulous dishes. Although the work is very hard, the environment in Enoteca’s kitchen is very laidback, with music, conversation and laughter among the team. However, when service starts, the silence and the concentration is unbelievable.
Working here when things get really busy is like a rush of dormant adrenaline pushing through your veins. It’s very energizing to say the least and the challenge is a great test of my ability to perform under pressure. Of course, the best feeling is when you have spent a lot of time plating and making a dish and the plate comes back clean. This is the feeling that I work 13 hours a day for! All in all, the experience is extremely rewarding and all that I am learning during this phase of my internship at Hotel Arts Barcelona will definitely help me as a professional in the hospitality industry.