Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/530

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From Soup to Nuts

��"Who's who" behind the scenes in a big hotel or restaurant kitchen

��ORDERING a meal at a fashionable restaurant or hotel is simple enough — to the diner. But it is safe to say that few have any idea of what goes on behind the scenes, that is, in the kitchens, after the order has been given to the waiter.

As a matter of fact, giving one's order of, say, oysters, soup, fish, steak, salad, dessert and coffee starts a most intricate process. In the first place, your waiter cannot give your entire order to one cook; he must go to as many different men as there are dishes on your order. First he stops at the oyster booth, where two or three men do nothing but open oysters. Then he goes to the soup cooks, of whom there may be six or eight; next, to the cooks who look after the fish, and so on to others who are specialists in the preparation of steaks, vegetables, salads, desserts and coffee. In the average large restaurant there are from seventy-five to one hundred and fifty cooks, all of whom, with the exception of girls who prepare the salads and vegetables, are men. In addi- tion, there are the chef and his staff of assistants, who may number half a dozen and whose duties are to oversee the work of the others rather than to cook.

When your waiter has given your full order he returns to the oyster booth, gets your blue points and takes them to you. On his way out the oysters pass under the eyes of no less

���than five differ- ent checkers.

While you are eating your oys- ters, the waiter goes back after your soup, which must also receive the approval of the five checkers. The same process takes place in connection with eachdish brought out, which means that your waiter, who seems so de- liberate, does considerable

���Checking up the food on his tray. The waiter has to pay for each item in chips out of his own pocket

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��It only takes a word to order a dish, but it takes a whole organization to serve it. You may rave at the waiter for being slow but while he is out of your sight he is hust- ling from cook to cook with lightning speed

hustling during the serving of your meal. The huge range, from forty to sixty feet long, is given over to the frying of different kinds of food. It also contains the ovens; the broilers are separate.

The steward is an important personage in any large restaurant, and commands a large salary. He must not only know what people like to eat, but he must have statistics to show about how many people will order each item on the bill of fare. The preparation of a bill, important as it is, by no means constitutes the steward's chief difficulty. He must know at all times exactly what the pantries and refrigerators and storerooms contain, and in ordering food from the mar- kets, he must be

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