The life behind the kitchen door…

I  promised to tell you what’s going on behind the closed doors of our kitchen at Momo…

I was brave and probably stupid enough to put my hand up and say that I’m willing to work in the kitchen… that was a year ago… I’m not really working in the kitchen- I’m not a chef. I’m making salads and sandwiches, for lunch only. Sometimes I would make hummus, and help with the basic prep. I did one full service in the kitchen on a Saturday Night- never again!!! (Never say never). I was so nervous… The pressure, the heat, and overwhelming amount of work- I’m not able for it, and I know it. 

We all probably have an idea in our head about what is going on “behind the closed door”. We all watch cooking programmes and think “that is it”.  Nice and calm, putting ingredients together to the pot, stir it with the golden spoon, and put parsley on the top- and all done! 

As a restaurant owner I truly believe that I have to be “helping in the kitchen”. I need to see and understand the amount of work, the “system”, the importance of every single rule. Before I put my foot in to the kitchen, often during the “quiet” times I was thinking ” What are they doing there????, We have only few tables in and 3 chefs in the kitchen? Why do I have to wait for the food for soooo…. long??? What are they doing in the kitchen in the morning?….” Now I know.  I know how much work, preparation and planning is involved in running a restaurant kitchen. I understand that cooking at home and cooking in the professional kitchen are two completely different things. 

We start at 9am. I’m doing my little bits, and just after 11am, I’m running away… The guys have “The Book”- The prep list, orders, etc… “The Never Ending List”- but should be done before 12pm….  Service starts just after 12, but that doesn’t mean that “the prep” is done… so they make sandwiches, cook fish and make purées, desserts, and whatever else has to be done… and the timers are beeping, the deliverys  keep coming, the food is served…. and it is like that till 9/10pm…non stop…. the sound of “order in”, “table away”, “how long for the fish”, “what’s  next chef”…. non stop… And they love it… 

I love seeing the smile on everyone’s faces after a busy service, the pride and joy. 

Michael- The Head Chef 

He is the one who controls it all. He organises the kitchen- from suppliers, orders, to kitchen rosters, paper work,to more fun stuff- designing the menus, coming up with the specials, deciding how each dish will be served, garnish, etc. Michael is working with us for over 1.5 years. He is very calm and organised. He can plan and control. Nothing could get away… he knows it all! He remembers all the little details. He likes “flat white” in the morning, has a loving wife and two beautiful children, hates goats cheese, loves smoked paprika and chorizo. He never shouts. He likes to have a laugh, he loves his job. We are so proud of him. He can see our vision and deliver it. 

Gary- Sous Chef 

Gary is our rock, Michael’s right hand. He needs “double shot latte with two sugars” in the morning. He loves to experiment, check new recipes, techniques… , different flavour combinations, spices… Gary is an amazing teacher. He is always so patient. He can explain everything very clearly, he will always help. 

Giulia- Chef

I stole this photo from her Facebook Page, as it is nearly impossible to take a photo of her- she is too fast! Giulia is a “tough cookie”. No one can mess with Giulia. I love her determination and drive. Always pushing, always trying harder, never stops! She is fair and honest. She drinks “espresso”, goes to the gym, is super strong and fit! She loves gnocchi, eats lots of fish and likes her steak “rare”. 

Davide- Chef

Davide is young, but has lots of experience already. He wants to learn as much as possible. Davide doesn’t waste time. He is very organised, always concentrated, and focused. He gets the stuff done. He always comes to work early . He drinks “espresso”, loves food, football and his family. 

And probably the most important, but often forgotten are Eugenija and Angele- our fantastic kitchen porters. They know every corner of the kitchen. They keep everything clean, tidy and organised. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do anything. They work hard, they are super strong. They make it a little bit easier for everyone. Eugenija loves Ginger and Lemon tea, Angele has a sweet tooth. 

We are blessed with our team. We like each other. We respect each other. 

Work in the kitchen is  hard, very physical. Working in hot conditions, in a small room without a window, with  two or three other people can be challenging…. but if you are all on the same page, respect each other, have a sense of humour, share the same vision- it can actually be fun! 

We all just have to remember to say “please” and “thank you” and understand that WE ARE A TEAM, WE WORK TOGETHER, NO ONE IS MORE OR LESS IMPORTANT. 

Lots love ❤️ Kamila 

P.S. Huge thank you to our amazing kitchen team- our secret behind the closed door. You are all fantastic ?❤️