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Get in Boots'n All with Societi Bistro's Kitchen Un-Confidential
Dive into the organised chaos and downright adrenalin of a restaurant kitchen
Though you rarely see it while dining out, most restaurant kitchens resemble hell – hot, steamy, sizzling and simmering. And if we peeked behind the scenes to see the chefs at work, we’d see a strange ballet of chaotic yet choreographed movements.
We’d see them barking orders, slamming fridge doors, prepping garnishes, tossing pastas, searing steaks and joking around with each other. And yet out of that managed mayhem would come a meal so lovely, we’d think it was prepared by the gentlest of souls. But oh dear diner, don’t be so naïve!
If you want to see what it’s like in a real working kitchen, head over to Societi Bistro in Gardens, Cape Town. They’ve got a culinary boot camp program that you can participate in, called Kitchen Un-Confidential (a play on chef Anthony Bourdain’s best selling expose of the restaurant industry and chefs’ lifestyles). You can join the Kitchen Un-Confidential for either three or five days to get the most uncredible insight into a working kitchen of a special and upmarket restaurant. But be warned: this is no mere behind the scenes observation – no, here they give you a knife, an apron, and a job to do. Welcome to hell!
Meet the kitchen trolls
So who would want to work 14 hours on their feet, slicing, dicing, tossing and mixing until every muscle aches, hands and arms are blistered and burned, then get up and do it all again the next day? Lots of people, apparently. And thank goodness too, right? Their work helps make life worth living. And you’ll meet some of those people at Societi, people who bring passion and commitment to their craft. People who will help you appreciate everything that goes into a good restaurant meal.
If you go for the boot camp, you’ll find Societi’s kitchen is small, staffed by a vibrant young team of hot chefs, headed by Stefan Marais. Its size allows for only one novice at a time, meaning that you get the full attention of the staff who will grant you a unique and individual experience.
Chef Stef’s world
After sitting with Stef to discuss what you hope to achieve during your tour of duty, you will get a taste of every aspect of the kitchen - planning menus and daily specials, ordering and receiving stock, and preparing and peeling of vegetables to the actual cooking and plating of dishes to be served to paying guests.
It’s an exhausting and richly rewarding way to learn more about professional food preparation. But it also gives you an insight into the passion and camaraderie of the kitchen team and a healthy respect for what they do. Think of it as a learning experience, something to broaden your understanding of the world. And in Chef Stefan’s capable (if scarred) hands, he’ll make sure your tour of the gastronomic underworld will be as tasty as possible.
Read more about Societi Bistro in our article on Societi Bistro.
Read even more about Societi Bistro in our very stirring article on Societi Bistro’s Chef’s Table.
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