11.21.2005

My Side Stint as a Kitchen Intern at A.O.C.

As I was driving up Crescent Heights going to my hopefully second "work," I couldn't believe I was going to work in a kitchen. For the last few months I kept telling myself that I will look for a kitchen job, get in touch with some restaurants and such. But being the big chicken that I am I kept putting it off. I hate rejection!

But I finally did it, put pen to paper, or more realistically, put fingers to keyboard, and wrote an email to AOC, one of the five restaurant on my list to hit up. And to my surprise someone got back to me. And there I was, walking through the door of AOC and heading back to the kitchen with my knives, wrapped in cloth napkin in a paper wine bag.

I worked helping with some vegetable prepping and dessert plating. I had fun and more importantly it felt very comfortable. So yesterday was a chance for the kitchen staff to feel me out and see if they want to keep me but I think I did well. The staff there is really great because everyone is pretty young and easy to get along with. Plus they made sure I got to taste a bit of everything they made. Throughout the night someone would say "make sure Susan tastes some!" :D I think I would really enjoy working with all of them.

Now onto the juicy bits, I tasted some delicious food. It's been a while since I ate at AOC so the menu is completely changed now. I ate a bite of each but if you add all that up it's a small and delicious meal.

halibut, celery root, sunchokes and hazelnuts
veal saltimbocca with madeira brown butter
farro and black rice with pinenuts and currants
brussel sprouts with balsamic and pancetta
crème fraîche panna cotta with spiced persimmon compote and maple pecans
chocolate pot de crème with hazelnut bark and pirouettes
roasted dates, parmesan and bacon

There was nothing that I didn't like but the brussel sprouts and the roasted dates really stood out to me. Simple but packed with flavor. I am kind of tired today but yesterday was my exciting first day in the culinary world. I am working this Saturday so more updates to come.

AOC
8022 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
www.aocwinebar.com

7 comments:

eatdrinknbmerry said...

how awesome. lucky, you started already. i tried to go to orientation today but found out it would take a good 2 hours. i start this saturday.

are they paying you?

can't wait to hear more. i don't know if we'll ever meet, but it's nice to know that you and i are going thru the same experience. we'll live vicariously through each other haha.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

oh yeah, i went to surfas on saturday and had a fun time. it was cool to see that other foodies walking around, looking at equipment. i was looking for a knife bag but they were WAY TOO BIG and a little bit pricey, considering i was only gonna be bringing my chef/paring knives to Cafe Pinot. I looked at the knives for a while and didn't really like the selections they had... except for the Globals of course.

by the way, i ended up going to BedBath&Beyond to buy my knives. there's a really good deal from Calphalon. For $29.99, you get a 5.5" santoku and 8" chef knife. both are forged and have good weight. good time to use that ubiquitous 20% off coupon.

yoony said...

i contacted them about an un-paid kitchen position so i'm just an intern for now. but i do want to move up and hopefully if they think i am useful enough i can get paid. good luck to you! you are working at cafe pinot? the one at moca?

i want to get some new knives. bedbath sounds like a great deal. they send me coupons all the time. but i want the beautiful globals! so pretty.

i'm glad we are both starting off in this food adventure. i feel better there is a newbie i can relate to. :)

i'm sure we'll run into each other sometime. i would totally be down to take a visit to cafe pinot. (i've never eaten from any of the spots from the patina empire).

eatdrinknbmerry said...

I tried to offer CP free labor, but they said that if anything happens to me, they're liable. So they have to employ me.

regarding knives, i've done major research, so feel free to ask me. i own some henckels/wusthof/global. globals are beautifully designed and i find it hard to refrain from drooling when i'm at BB&B. if you're looking for a good all purpose knife, i definitely recommend a santoku (7.5"). you really don't need to buy a nice 12 piece block set, because you'll really only utilize 3-4 knives. what do you have right now?

i've never eaten at cafe pinot but have seen the menu, and it looks great.

yoony said...

i used my mom's henckels. what are you using right now?

eatdrinknbmerry said...

my fave knife is my wusthof santoku w/ hollow edge. Since it's larger than a small, vegetable knife yet smaller than a 10" chef knife, this is just perfect for doing meats, veggies and especially garlic/green onions/mushrooms. one thing i have noticed though w/ wusthof & henckels is that they seem to lose their edge quickly. globals, as much as i love them, are sharp, yet i feel that they are too light and harder to hold b/c the handle is thin. for a girl, a global may be a good choice.

if you're thinking of investing in henckels, there's a korean store called Kim's Home Center in ktown that sells Henckels for $10-15 cheaper than Macy's. Never buy a used knife off eBay or anything. I believe i got my santoku at Kim's HC for $64.99. the listed price is anywhere from $75-85. They have a lot to choose from.

i've been eyeing this santoku recently. It is Calphalon and it is made in chinat, but damn it's beautiful and has a nice feel to it.

http://www.calphalon.com/calphalon/consumer/katana/flash/katanaExperiencePage.jhtml

Under DETAILED INFORMATION, checkout THE COLLECTION. The knife is made with 33 layers to create that 'wood' grain look. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS, YOONY! I'M SO PROUD OF YOU AND HAPPY YOU FINALLY ARE DOING SOMETHING WHERE YOU SHOULD AND WANT TO BE - IN THAT DAMN KITCTHEN, WOMAN! ;) ♥dex