Being a wine cook is a lot about working with and inside of organized chaos during service it's really really hectic an incredibly fast paced 15 minutes will feel like five seconds it's really just about getting the food out as fast as it can be made as well as it can be made prepping by comparison I get to take all this time to compose myself it's a.
Little bit like a moment to breathe before we have to get going and I obviously just take a lot of pride in putting out the best possible product hi I'm Tristan Huang Line Cookie bodies Brooklyn we're here in Chinatown it's 10 a.m and before we go into Bonnie's I got to buy some fruit for the restaurant right now we're in an Alleyway.
Underneath the Manhattan Bridge I would consider it a Hidden Gem I come here because I have a huge selection of Asian fruits which is indicative and representative of the Chinese American culture we represent at Bonnie's the fruit platter changes every day based on what they have at Market so let's go see what they have.
The fruit plate is on the menu because at the end of a Cantonese banquet dinner they'll serve you either a plate full of oranges or honeydew or something boring and Bland at Bonnie's we wanted to switch it up and give you something way more delicious so it's the end of September right now and I'm looking at end of summer beginning of fall fruit.
Which holds a lot of pit fruit and a lot of citrus and grapes we used to get fruit from vendors in huge cases of like 50 or 60 a piece Not only was it expensive but you didn't really get to do a lot of quality control so things would be rock hard I live down here so I have access to all this and then I can just take it to the.
Restaurant in Brooklyn sorry about the train we're actually literally underneath the Manhattan Bridge so these are muscadine Graves they're like regular grapes except bigger and they have a thicker skin and the flesh is like a Gummy Bear these are Asian pears and they're really.
Really good they're like halfway between like an apple and a pear they're super juicy the best ones always have the most like super up spots on them because that's all the sugar coming to the surface avocado or technically fruit so I'm gonna grab these not for the fruit clay but for family meal or for five dollars where can you get a cheaper.
Avocado I make family meal for the team uh almost every day and I like to make good food to give people good feelings on to basket too so these are long on it translates roughly to Dragon Eyes so we're gonna wrap some dragon fruit we have three varieties it's white yellow and red the really ripe ones will have a.
Little bit of give but you got to be careful because out here if you squish them too hard they'll come over and yell at you it's about 11 30 now and I need to check out so we can get the bodies it's noon now we just got the bodies so this is our dining room it's going to be packed in about a.
Couple hours this is the pass where all the food comes out and this is our service kitchen where I spend most of my time as a line cook I'm gonna head downstairs to our prep kitchen to put this fruit away and see what I gotta do for the rest of the day foreign.
So we're in our prep kitchen now and the first thing I do when I come in is check our Master Prep list and see what I need to do for the day tasks get broken down based on stations so we have a walk station and a steam station it's kind of first come first serve so you can grab whatever task you like uh the earlier you are or you could push off the task.
That you really don't like to someone else if they come in later there are a couple things that I usually do as a line cook to get us ready for service today I'm going to be debating ribs I'm going to be making green sauce for our fish and I'm going to be cutting fruit and the first task we're doing today is green mustard condiment for the fish.
Foreign let's go upstairs all right let's go so there's a personal icon in mind Gucci Mane likes to say a man without the sauce can be lost but the same man can be lost in the sauce so the first thing we're doing today is making our ginger scallion sauce.
And that's the base for our green mustard condiment that goes on the fish Ginger gets peeled really easy with a spoon does not take much I can't tell you about everywhere but here we try to have the line Cokes as involved with the process of the stuff that we serve on a day-to-day basis I think it's important that we have eyes and hands on it so we.
Know exactly how it's made or if we need to make it during service just in case we know how to do it the fish comes butterflied and deboned from there we take the fish we scrape all the meat out with a spoon we grind it up with shrimp water chestnuts and garlic chives and then we take that same meat that came out of the fish skin and stuff it back.
Into the skin and for service we throw it up on the Pasha shallow fry it and comes out like a beautiful ocean hot dog on a technical scale that dish is crazy and it goes really nice with the sauce we're about to make throw the ginger into the robocu it's like not a paste like it still has some consistency to it you want to have.
Like a small crunch or at least a little bit of texture now I'm going to throw the peppers in because they are going to take much less time to Blitz because they are much softer if I threw the peppers in at the beginning the peppers would be mush and we'd still have pretty big chunks of ginger so we're gonna move the oil into this.
Wok get it ripping hot very powerful things demand respect the walk demands respect you can see it's like a jet engine all the Jets Point One Direction easily my favorite tool in the whole kitchen yeah I think every restaurant should have a walk if not even just to like heat up water.
So I'm just gonna add some garlic here and scallops that's salt sugar and MSG so we pour the essentially boiling oil over our ingredients so that the oil will pick up the flavors you gotta go slow because it's working with the moisture inside super hot right now we're gonna let it hang out and we're.
Gonna let that oil soak up all the flavor I have to blanch these scallions in the wok this is a pasta tank we use it to clean the wok I'm gonna shock it right here into some really really cold water so that they stay nice and green flick that wrist.
So this is our ginger scallion sauce like we whipped a bunch of air into the oil so it's emulsified it's like nice and bright green it is my favorite sauce in the restaurant and we'll just pour it up put it away until we're ready for service so I'm gonna label and date these and I'll throw them in the fridge.
So it's 1 30 now we're going to be building up to the McRib sandwich so we have baby back ribs steaming and our steamer here so they're just whole ribs we throw them in here after they've been marinating for 24 hours uh right now I'm just splitting the backs of the ribs we take the membranes.
Off I'm just trying to create like an opening for the bones to come out this is uh more or less a three-day process we spend one day marinating them in a secret marinade and then they get steamed the second day you can see that they're like super duper flexy they're basically ready to fall apart and then on the third day after they've.
Chilled and settled we take them out we portion them like pretty much no give I can just slide my finger under here and the boat will pop out my tip to not burning your fingers is to uh burn your fingers a lot it's like building calluses the more you do it the less it hurts uh at this point.
Pays me no more the chassis McRib obviously modeled after the McDonald's McRib except this is not a homogeneous congealed Patty of something that is supposed to resemble ribby but actually about a third of a rack of ribs which is absurd it's like eating four or five ribs in one sitting boneless just in a couple bites it's.
Covered in chassis glaze which is a very very Cantonese dish it gets Chinese hot mustard and it gets placed on a milk bun we Source from Chinatown bread and butter pickles and onions between the acid and like the fattiness and the ribs the bite is just magic next thing we're going to do is just stack them up together like this.
So it's 2 30 now I'm going to bring these downstairs put some heavy weights on top to get them flat so we can portion them tomorrow and I'll bring fruit up so we can cut our fruit please so actually this is my favorite part of the day when I get to cut fruit I get to slow down I get to take my time and I get to be like super meticulous with it.
Because not only is it food but I consider it to be like partially art we're going to start with the pomelo I'm gonna go ahead and suprem it because pomelos have quite a thick skin as you can see I'm surprising just kind of means to like remove the flesh from in between the segments growing up in Queens in a large Asian American.
Neighborhood there was always a lot of fruit around fruit also has like a deep rooted Connection in like Chinese families where if you have an argument with your parents they won't really say sorry to you they'll just bring you a plate of cut fruit and that's more like their apology or if they wanted to say I love you they.
Won't like say I love you to your face but they'll bring you a plate of cut through and it's essentially the same thing but when we opened that we had two desserts on the menu one was the fried milk sundae which is mind-blowingly good and we had a fruit plate I got put in charge of the fruit plates I wanted to.
Put something out that was as good if not better than the sundae which is really really hard to do when they put me in charge of getting fruits they also granted me the title of fruit Psalm like fruit sommelier and it was kind of like a running joke for a little while but like now I actually do like curate by quality control all the.
Fruit inside the restaurant so it does make sense even if it does sound funny and I wear that with a badge of honor I changed my Instagram handle the first song Follow Me at fuson I'm like one of the few people in this restaurant that have like a deep interpersonal like relation to fruit cutting fruit to order during service is kind of a nightmare.
Because so many things are going on at the same time so I'll cut uh enough to have some backup and I'll play it roughly maybe like four or five and then that way in case we do get fired on some during service we'll have some fruit on backup now we're going to cut our dragon fruit so I like to go white yellow into red.
Because the red one will stain my knife and if I cut red into a white one it will stain the fruit completely so these are Dragon Eyes they're called longan and Cantonese which literally translates directly to dragon and eye they're called Dragon Eyes because if you split them open like this they have a black pit in the center and the flesh.
Is kind of translucent so it looks like uh dragon's eyeball these are lychees and I'm kind of doing the same way I do the long on and these ones taste like rose water mixed with citrus I like cutting them like this because they kind of look like little acorns it'd be kind of boring if it was just.
Like a bunch of like cut squares of fruit so I like to have a little bit of fun and the way we like cut the stuff I'm gonna plate a couple UPS so that we're ready for service I like to start big to small so that way I can create gaps for the smaller fruit to sit inside of you want it to look like Bountiful without looking crowded and you want it.
To look full without feeling like overwhelming I had a couple last touches and then I'm going to wrap these up for our service and it's 3 P.M right now and I need to get started on family meal ASAP okay so I'm kind of running late but I just brought up a bunch of stuff for family today we're gonna have tacos uh.
I'm gonna make tacos because when we were at the market earlier I saw a bunch of really really cheap avocados and I wanted to make Woks so we're gonna have walking tacos we usually have a lot of excess rib meat from the scraps from the McRib I'm just gonna throw them on the Poncho I'm gonna chop them up like Carnitas I'm about to char a bunch of.
Peppers to make salsa because we don't really have any Tomatoes in-house whatever I can find in-house and whatever we're not running low on I can use for family meal there's no rules the only rules that I get it up in time for people to eat and for US Open service I personally put a lot of effort into my family meal just because I don't want to.
Feed our staff garbage if they eat bad they're gonna feel bad and then we're gonna have a bad service I'm gonna Char a bunch of stuff over the walk now Family Meal is usually left up to the lowest guy in the totem here whoever comes in earliest is usually the guy who works in Middle shift which is the shift I'm working today.
A lot of the time I don't really know how much I should make for a family meal I would rather there be leftovers that people can take home than uh make not enough food for everybody because everybody's got to eat you know so I'm usually making food for between like 14 to 17 people a day inside of one hour so it's not always the easiest thing to do.
Which is why it's important to keep all your tasks like nice and tight these are avocados you saw me buy earlier today at the fruit market it's gonna be a quick mix so we're gonna add a little bit of lemon juice because we don't have limes here I'm gonna add a little cilantro some onions salt.
And because we are a Chinese restaurant we'll throw a little MSU in there I think you have to perform well for under pressure for almost any line cook job not for the final heart I'm gonna get the salsas in the blender then rib tips on the poncho I'm a little bit nervous that I won't make it in time.
But uh we'll see so these are our rip tips they're the weights that comes from the McRib we're just gonna treat it like Carnitas and I'm gonna let it run for the next five or so minutes while I finish up the rest of the salsas here one of the family meals I made once ended up on our menu for a special it was a long hot pepper.
Stuffed with a fish paste which is uh something I ate growing up sometimes you're just like around and you find out you know what I mean I think family is a great time to do a little bit of r d you're just being a kitchen setting like work with things that you probably normally wouldn't get the chance to work with oh gochugaru think like coaster red.
Pepper flakes from an Italian restaurant but from Korea I don't know if this is gonna be any good that's pretty tasty so that's almost family two sauces and a guac and I gotta get these ribs all chopped up this is already cooked because we.
Steamed it I threw some orange juice some lemon juice salt and MSG in here it's gonna coat it up and then we're about ready to go on a family dinner's ready foreign I'm so large that I actually can't see the pilot light so I kind of just go in here and I pray to God and I keep.
Clicking the button there we go all right so it's 4 30 now we're getting our final push before service you can see everyone behind me is pushing really hard to get their me set up so we got four of us back here it's three of us on the line and one person at the pass right now we just gotta.
Finish putting stuff away and my station is Middle station which means that I help both sides so I helped pick up fish on the steam side or I can help pick up things off the walk because I know how to work both mainly I'm responsible for picking up ribs and finishing everybody's dishes we're all pushing really hard right now we have about 25.
Minutes before our doors open I think the most important skill set for a live hook to have is a sense of urgency and a sense of organization right in here is our kanji so we have all the toppings for our kanji set up directly across it's about creating Paths of least distance between two places.
That's how you be ruthlessly ambition uh line check in five minutes make sure you have Sandy's and I'll taste all the broths and count you too good all right so I got Chef in the window pressing us for time to get set up uh doors open in five minutes and the dining room's Gonna Fill Up real quick so we're gonna get our final checks done and uh we're gonna.
Have a good service thank you all right guys it's five o'clock I hope you guys got to see what it's like being a line cook I hope it made it look easier bye bye hi I'm Tristan Huang Line Cookie Bonnie's Brooklyn uh what is it.