Each day would cheerfully kick off with with the 1000 step challenge. In order to bring the necessary foodstuffs to the kitchen from the walk-in fridge, which was conveniently located downstairs, I've had to run up and down the steep wooden staircase until everyone was all stocked up with cookshit and I was pouring sweat. I've never been to a kitchen where the walk-in is on a different floor - that's easily the most horrendous logistical abomination a busy commercial kitchen can suffer.
Okay, so there was an elevator one could use to transport cookshit between floors, but that did not alleviate the burden of being stuck in a never-ending stairs loop. Yes, I'd become the ever-present errand boy for the exceptionally rude and painfully unfunny inhabitants of this crude burger factory, who now virtually never visited the walk-in because all they had to do was send me. Every five minutes. And never say an elementary "thank you" for doing their job for them.
The second I'd begin working on a task, a delivery would come in, and guess who had to run downstairs and put away boxes and oil drums and fish and herbs? Correct. Due to this frequent putting away of deliveries and non-stop visits to the walk-in, I could never see a task through to completion without being interrupted. Sure, the ability to multitask is an essential attribute of a commercial kitchen rat, and I can do a few things at once; yeah, I can. But I'm also under the impression that while an apprentice is learning to chop suey, they should at times be left alone to complete a task they have at hand at that particular point in time. How is an apprentice supposed to learn to do anything properly if they're interrupted every fucking minute to do other people's jobs? Gosh! Just let me work on this here new thing I'm learning and get your own fennel and avocados, cunt!
"Crumb the parmas," barks one of the chefs, "And do it over there by the washing machine!"
Space can be a scarce commodity in a commercial kitchen (and especially in this cramped shithole), but I do believe that a chef, and especially an apprentice, should have ample space to learn their craft (read: a proper fucking workbench). Instead, I was continually banished to the kitchen hand's dominion by some self-entitled dickhead who "needs space" (yeah, and I don't?). This is definitely not sound kitchen practice.
So I'm crumbing away, and then some super-important MasterChef wants me to clear the sink. As you probably guessed, washing dishes becomes c(r)umbersome when the dish tray exit space is taken up by a crumbing station consisting of multiple steel bowls and other bulky implements. "Come on, mate, it's not a busy night, so why is the sink looking like shit?" This motherfucker thinks I possess a superchef ability to do orders, run downstairs to get cookshits (which the lazy fat fucks should get themselves, really) AND wash up at the same time. Somehow, I find it hard to believe that this "premier craft beer bar" is so short on dinero that they cannot hire a dishpig to cover every night of the week (like a proper kitchen; shock! horror!) and let apprentice chefs be apprentice chefs.
In every other kitchen I've had the pleasure of breaking my back, no chef - that's apprentice chefs included - washes the dishes. Ever. Yet in this shithole, it seemed perfectly acceptable to put me on the sink for an entire shift whilst periodically demanding I do a bunch of orders and rush downstairs to get a bunch of apples. It's not rocket science - a chef cooks, a kitchen hand washes up. This simplicity was lost on the herd of pea-brained morons running this particular kitchen.
To that end, on Mondays and Tuesdays my job responsibilities did not even remotely resemble the typical tasks of an apprentice chef, but rather those of an errand boy/permanent fixture at the sink. I'd been fortunate enough to have worked in quite a few kitchens, and I'll tell you this - I cannot recall ever witnessing an apprentice wash dishes for their entire shift. I mean, sure, I'll jump on the dish for 10 or so minutes - half an hour max - but a whole shift? Never in my illustrious burger factory career had I seen apprentices become $10-an-hour kitchen hands for the duration of their shift, and I am fairly certain that I never will. Not that I'll ever work in a kitchen again, 'cause fuck that shit.
On comedy nights, the lights in the downstairs washroom (which is home to the elevator) were switched off, presumably to create ambiance - quite an understandable thing to do. Unfortunately, this also meant that I had to operate the elevator in the dark and use my amazing sense of touch and smell to get shit in and out of the thing. I'm quite sure WorkSafe Victoria would raise an eyebrow or two at this idiocy. On busy nights, especially when a band was playing, each time I went downstairs I was forced to wade through a sea of drunk cunts to get to the walk-in, and then get yelled at by the yeti assholes upstairs for not being fast enough.
I hope that during course of reading this short, brutish but nevertheless riveting story, you have discovered for yourself the dark truth about the essence of working in a busy commercial kitchen - it's fucken shit, mate. While your friends are out drinking and enjoying their weekends and public holidays by finding innumerable ways to have fun and forget the week's troubles, you are in a cramped anus of a joint, making burgers and being yelled at by subhuman buttplugs with egos bigger than Jupiter. For 13 hours per day. At approximately 20 quid an hour. Bon appetit!