Tuesday, March 07, 2006

~Konnichiwa, Bonjour, Hello~

Hi, my name is Amelia, and I just finished working temporarily as a translator for two Japanese pastry chefs who came to New York City to learn certain desserts from pastry chefs at top New York City restaurants, such as Le Bernardin, Gotham, Mercer Kitchen, and The Modern at MoMA. 
  This job pretty much fell into my lap, because a friend of my mother is in charge of a big pastry co mpany in Nagoya, Japan, and they do an annual showcase, displaying trendy, new desserts to various companies and restaurants in Japan.  My mother’s friend wasn’t just looking for someone that speaks Japanese and English, she was looking for someone that speaks French fluently as well (because a majority of the pastry chefs at the aforementioned restaurants were French) – so she came to me with the job offer. 
  The Japanese chefs came to New York to learn how to make the desserts, and also incorporate them for the Japanese palate and fashion.  For about 5 to 6 hours a day, I went with the two Japanese chefs to these four-star restaurants, met with the executive pastry chef, behind-the-scenes in the kitchen, and translated.  However, translating wasn’t all I did – I learned a great deal about the pastry world, and I even got to sample the desserts they made!  Marc Aumont, the pastry chef at The Modern at MoMA, was especially kind to me.  To put it mildly: he treated me like a queen!  He brought me cappuccino without my even asking, and when he found out what my favourite dish was (steak tartare), he surprised me by having the kitchen make one dish of steak tartare and another of yellowfin tuna tartare – just for me! 
  This wasn’t my first time working at a restaurant, though.  Two years ago, I began working as a hostess at Rue 57 Brasserie moments away from Carnegie Hall.  I was only there for 6 months, but I matured about 5 years, because working in a restaurant completely changed the way I view people, in general.  I learned how to be patient, charming, and courteous to customers, regardless of how rude and testy they were to me;  I learned how to predict when customers would be leaving, so as to give an estimated time for people on the waiting list, which would sometimes stretch to an hour and a half wait; I learned how to juggle 3 phone lines for reservations, and tell busboys and waiters to set table 96 for 5 people, just by using hand signals.  After a life-changing experience at Rue 57 during 2004, I worked for a little bit at Country, a chic, new restaurant by renowned restaurateur/chef Geoffrey Zakarian, on Madison Avenue during October of 2005. 
  All in all, whether in the kitchen or at the door of a restaurant, I’ve never learned so much in so little time! 


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