February 11, 2016
Now I know what it’s like to dine at a restaurant that will cost upwards of $600 at the end of the night. Yes, I’ve recently come across large sums of money and am now trying out Sydney’s finest cuisines. Just kidding. Ha. Last night, I worked at Guillaume’s restaurant in Paddington as a trial shift for a possible job position. It was one of the successful outcomes of my job search the other day. I won’t take the job, even though the salary is very tempting, because it is way too posh for me, but for one night, working there was such a wild experience.
Guillaume’s is a French bistro that is run by no other than Chef Guillaume himself - winner of Master Chef Australia. Michelin star rated, 3-hat awarded, 5-star, rated best restaurant of 2015, blah blah blah, the manager listed the awards for about 5 minutes, and I got the gist that it’s a fancy-ass place. I can only dream of eating at a place like this, so it was amazing to be able to get the experience (behind the scenes too!) of what the tippy-top of fine dining is really like.
I was the hostess, and my job was quite simple. All I had to do was welcome each guest “graciously” and lead them to their reserved table. Before they arrived, the manager had me practice the process on him - leading him to the table, pushing in his chair, and placing his napkin in his lap, offering still or sparkling water. The napkin part was my favorite. There is a special motion for flourishing the napkin in just a way that it makes a perfect triangle that you can fold over twice in the customer’s lap. He had me repeat it 10 times before I had it right. Now I can say I’m a pro at napkin flourishing.
Once guests started arriving and ordering, I got to see the famous food - which were more like works of art. There was a prefix “degustation” menu of 8 tiny courses, each so artfully displayed that there is no doubt that Guillaume belongs on Master Chef. Kiama sea urchin with moreton bay bug, clams, prawns and corn, wagyu tartar with oysters, sterling caviar, and mushrooms, many ingredients I don’t know or never tried - perth cheeks, shiso, sweet breads, sea spray, ocean trout roe?? It was mesmerizing to watch the waiters’ serving performance. The pea soup, for example, was poured in a spiral over the mud crab dish at the table, followed by an in depth explanation of what they were about to be eating (as it’s often quite hard to tell what you’re looking at). As the dishes were brought out from the kitchen, I played a game of trying to identify which item on the menu it was, but 90% of the time I had no clue. Each dish was minuscule, floating in a sea of white porcelain. In the kitchen, there was a whole team of white-clad men and women preparing each dish like an assembly line. I witnessed the rows and rows of cutlery replaced throughout the evening, all the way from the amuse-bouche to the soufflé dessert.
Also, practically the entire staff was French, so I got to practice my French all night! I became friends with the Sommelier, with whom I pretended to know much more about fine wine than I really do.
I have to let them know by Sunday if I will take the job, but tomorrow I have my trial at the Beresford Hotel Pub which I’ve heard is the place to be for young people and can get pretty rowdy haha so we’ll see how that goes!