Student Life: Teamwork On The Line
The “line”, a stressful environment in the kitchen full of heat, noise and controlled chaos. Adrenaline and your team get you through the next “push” as the tickets pour out, just like water out of a fire-hose.
The “line”, heavy fifty foot lengths of hose filled with water, held onto by the “attack team” as they make the “push” down the hallway towards the fire. Just like in the kitchen, adrenaline and teamwork gets you through it.
This correlation between the firehouse and kitchen was clearly evident to me the first time a I cooked on the line at the restaurant. It may seem obvious, but unfortunately it can be easier said than done. Firehouses and kitchens are a conglomeration of personalities, some you can say “work well with others” while some prefer to try and get the job done on their own. Unfortunately, the latter almost always leads to the job not getting done properly, efficiently or at all for that matter. Teamwork on the line is best when it has almost become instinctual, you notice when the other cook may be falling behind and know exactly what needs to be done to help get through the situation. Same thing applies to the fire-ground. When you see your brother having a difficult time performing a task, you jump right in to help without them needing to ask. And herein lies another common thread, the unwillingness to ask for help.
We have all been there, you are in the weeds or the hose-line is getting heavy, yet you don’t ask for help. More often than not it is due to some underlying self-pride or machismo that we fear may be in jeopardy. There have been cases where firefighters should have called a “mayday”, the term used when you are in distress and need assistance, but don’t due to the same reasons cooks don’t ask for help. Unfortunately in these cases it is worse than some burnt steaks or overcooked vegetables.
At the end of the shift, we all want to go home knowing we did the best we could. Working as a team is essential for this to happen and sometimes we need to just swallow our pride and admit we need a little help.
Like the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work”!
Written by AJ Fusco
ICC Professional Culinary Arts Student
AJ Fusco graduated from the International Culinary Center (ICC), founded as The French Culinary Institute (FCI). In 2020, ICE and ICC came together on one strong and dynamic national platform at ICE's campuses in New York City and Los Angeles. ICC’s culinary education legacy lives on at ICE, where you can explore your own future in food.