For some of us in food service, work life is a regular, balanced, and mindless routine acted out day after day. Change is but a novelty and the absence of mental provocation lulls us. It’s quietly comforting to know that every step we take or task we perform has been etched into our brain over and over, so much so that the thinking has been quietly removed from the daily scenario.
Every day is the same: you go to work, set up your station and make plates for guests. If you’re unlucky enough to work in a corporate chain kitchen, you’ll be assembling the same four or five plates, and if you work in a seedy pub it will be for the same four or five guests.
In the Spring, the menu might change a bit with dried fruits and nuts giving way to peas and tomatoes and the braised lamb shank changed up for grilled rack, and back again in the fall. Occasionally the kitchen might get pounded with orders if its sunny or if a bus load of Shriners show up and they all want half orders of fish and chips, but essentially it’s the same routine day after day. Line cooks that don’t work in the Hawksworths and the L’Abattoirs of the city for the most part get to work, get changed, set up, act out the menu, clean up and go home. No exaggeration.
Not so at Dockside.
At Dockside we can seat almost seven hundred people at once. We have almost thirty menus in print, with 95% of our products made in house, and a fridge that could double as Noah’s Ark (sans Noah and any “live”stock, if you know what I mean).
Take banquets, for example: we offer plated banquets for up to 220 guests with a choice of starter, main and dessert when you sit. Most hotels offering banquet service to large parties will offer menu number one, two or three to the host months before the actual function. You can expect all of your guests get the same plates and if there’s a choice, your guests will most likely be asked to pre order.
At Dockside, we do things differently.
Last night was a night like any other night: we did a plated dinner for 180 guests and offered them their choice of appetizer and a choice of Halibut, Beef Tenderloin, Rossdown Farms Chicken Supreme or Grilled Asparagus Risotto entrees. At the same time, we did a smashing in house made dessert buffet, an off site catering for 150, a la carte dinner service, and, of course, room service.
Here are some pictures of the crew plating the main course banquet service and a few of the dessert buffet going up.
This level of daily change and flux certainly presents us with its fair share of stress and challenges but I’m proud to have a team which thrives on this changing environment, staying interested and at the top of our game no matter what comes our way!
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, please return your seats to the fully upright position and stow your tray table, because at The Dockside we’ve lost cabin pressure, every day is a strap down blow your mind culinary rocket ride through the needles eye and back again, and though occasionally we might pray for death, we wouldn’t have it any other way!