Because if you lose it, then it translates everywhere — to the cooks, to the front of house, everywhere. Kim, 40, described expediters as conduits between the front and back of the house, pulling the teams closer to work as one. If an expediter panics and breaks down, so does that harmony.
In practice, every kitchen has its own idiosyncratic system, and the expediter fits into it differently. Meanwhile, the manager roams the floor, talks with diners and relays where various tables are in their meal — say, a party of six has almost finished their small plates and are now in a hurry to get to a show; three parties of four with various food allergies are all about to order entrees.
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The expediter processes all the information coming from the chef and the manager and fires sequences of dishes accordingly, keeping in mind exactly how long each dish will take to finish, and how much each cook is already juggling. Some kitchens have multiple ticket machines, so cooks can see the orders as they come in. They cook blindly, as Mr. Kim put it, on trust. The pass has no heat lamps, and since the kitchen is open, diners can often see if food is waiting. At Stone Barns, the fine-dining restaurant where Ms.
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Raben said. The lack of a standard menu makes the role of expediting especially complex.
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As Ms. Raben expedites and helps with plating, she uses colored pens to mark the ticket with the time each course is fired, and the time it leaves the kitchen. In some cases, Mr. Barber puts a question mark on the ticket — for a dish to be determined spontaneously, later in the evening.
This can make it difficult for the expediter to plan ahead. Raben, with clear delight.
Some expediters speak of recurring dreams in which time compresses, and they race against it. The machine jams, or prints out endless streams of paper.
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If an expediter at Noodle Bar misses a shift, Mr. In some cases, no expediter may be preferable to a disorganized expediter, unfamiliar with the kitchen and its systems, who relays incorrect notes to servers about table positions, or forgets about an allergy.
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During a busy brunch service years ago, one of his line cooks walked out and the expediter had to fill in and cook while a manager expedited. It can be rough. There are, however, no label makers here. Bennett hates the guessing game of pulling knives out of a butcher block to see which is which.
She prefers to keep them in a drawer or on a magnetic strip mounted to the wall. Next to the stove, she has a tray of butter, salt, pepper and oil, and a can that contains tongs, a spatula and wooden spoons.
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And butter, by the way, is better outside the refrigerator. The cutting board is also always on the kitchen island ready to go, next to her trusty flavor station. Where rectangular storage containers make a mess of mismatched lids and sometimes unstackable shapes, the ordinary cylindrical deli cups used for food delivery are far superior.