To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

WDWCP: I Am Not A Cook

I'm a vegetarian. I have been for most of my life. So going home after my first day in the Pecos kitchen with a chunk of hamburger stuck in the layer of grease on my arm was less than appetizing! But let's back up...

While working in Frontierland Quick Service based out of Pecos Bill Cafe I was rotated through three main areas during my internship. The first was the counter and being in directed contact with our Guests every day. When it was time to rotate I wasn't sure how I would feel about switching to the back and working in the kitchen

My second costume while working Walt Disney World actually got an adjustment.  On top we wore white chef jackets. Yeah, I'm such a chef. Ha! While working we also had white paper hats to keep hair out of the food. We made ours every day when we arrived at the restaurant. At first my pants were a gingham print. I liked those, but soon they were all changed out and it felt more like we were wearing black MC Hammer pants. Oh well, it's not like anybody saw us except for any glimpses a guest might get through the kitchen window, so then it was only waist up. I did have to go to the Florida Mall to find some black steel toe shoes for working in the kitchen. Talk about ugly. I have no idea why I even carted those back to Oregon in the end. I should have left them in a dumpster. I never did wear them again after my last day in the kitchen!

Luis, cooking fries
Note the paper hat and black pants!
In the kitchen we would rotate through quite a variety. Every order would come out of a printer to the person at the end of the hamburger/cheeseburger conveyor belt. They would get the right type of burger and send it on the way. It wasn't always a burger, we also had BBQ chicken sandwiches. The main item would be on the tray first, ending its run at the fries. Once those were added the trays were placed in order at the big window waiting for the counter Cast Member to take it away. 

That was the main flow. Let's get deeper now. The same woman always cooked the burgers and buns. I never once saw a CP do that. I was fine with this for sure!! Someone would be assigned to cooking the fries. They had me do it for only a short time because, to be blunt, I wasn't strong enough. I couldn't lift up the bags that would be frozen to other bags and then get them into the fryer easily. I could hardly even lift the basket and dump it into the trays. My body just wasn't prepared for that, so I was switched elsewhere pretty quick. This is a time being wimpy worked in my favor!

Dan - the Man! - cooking chicken
I did cook the chicken for the BBQ chicken sandwiches. Basically all I had to do was lay it all on the trays and stick them in the oven. Twice in the same day I burnt my arm in the same exact spot. Some people just aren't made for cooking. I am one of those. I was good at scooping fries. That was easy and fun. 

Some mornings I helped make cold sandwiches that would be rafted over to Tom Sawyer Island, but that was only when this beastly woman was on her days off. Remember her for later in this post. 

There was a position where you basically kept all the ice stocked. That seemed to always be assigned to men. Score for me!

I spent a lot of time doing pots and trays and I loved it. I would load up all of the dirty pots from cooking or used the guest trays and get them washed. It was too fun and did result in multiple food/water fights with the custodial people. 

You have to make it fun if you're stuck in a kitchen and wearing meat on your body! There was a lot of singing in the evenings when it wouldn't be as busy. Sublime was our music of choice! 

Joe - a manager - I liked him
I DID get in trouble once. It was unintentional. We thought we were having some innocent fun and since we were backstage who would care? I was at the BBQ chicken station. To my right, within arms reach, with his back to me was fellow CP Dan. He and I hit it off right away and always had a blast working together. On this particular day I felt compelled to decorate him with BBQ sauce. I ended up, using my gloved finger, writing "DAN THE MAN" across the back of his white kitchen jacket. He admitted it was a bit hot, but also hilarious. Who didn't think it was hilarious? The manager. We were separated from working together for the rest of the week. He got sent to do the ice job and I probably had pots and trays. Their form of punishment was a total fail. We actually got moved to better jobs and I think I ended up getting out of the kitchen all together not long after. It still amuses me 20 years later. 

Rebecca & Anne-Laure
"Pretty people" usually on stage!
My observation: Disney keeps ("kept" might be more appropriate based on recent observations) the "prettier" people where guests see them and those that maybe aren't as attractive would be backstage. For example, the lady that would make cold sandwiches. I remember her bad teeth (those that she had) and her long, twisty gray hairs sticking out of her chin. I never once saw her anywhere close to being onstage. I could be wrong obviously, but as I took inventory and processed all of the Cast Members and different roles, it started to seem like it wasn't purely coincidence where some people were assigned. That sounds snotty, but it was purely observational suspicion. 

At the end of the night we would have that kitchen absolutely immaculate. The whole team would be cleaning and getting every inch ready for a new day. If you go to a Disney park and eat at a restaurant you can rest assured you are getting food cooked to proper temperature in clean surroundings. Don't worry!

See ya real soon! °o°

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