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Behind the Scenes: Line Cook Bethany Colvin

Meet Bethany Colvin. This two-timing lady is a line cook at Watershed on Peachtree for lunch and One Midtown Kitchen for dinner. She’s hopped down from the ranks of sous chef at Cibo e Beve and Wahoo! Grill. Colvin dishes her double duties on the line.

12_17BethanyColvinWhy did you transition from sous chef back to a line cook?
The responsibilities are much different. I wanted to get out of management because I wanted to hone my skills, try different styles of cuisines and learn new techniques.

You previously worked at One Eared Stag, what about their methods did you find inspiring?
They do snout-to-tail and root-to-stalk cooking, making it a zero waste kitchen. They get in whole animals and produce and use every last piece. I learned about pickling, fermenting, and making your own bitters.

Pickles and bitters Colvin introduced at Watershed:

  • apple pie and grapefruit bitters for drinks
  • pickled beet stems on the ham plate
  • house-made pickles for burgers
  • pickled green beans for Bloody Mary’s

How do you balance your day between two restaurant jobs?
I work six days a week at Watershed, and four days I’m doing a double shift at One Midtown Kitchen. I come to Watershed at 9 a.m. and prep my sauté station: heat up starches and collard greens, cut vegetables for the vegetable plate, and make the soup. After my shift ends at 3 p.m., I go to One Midtown Kitchen for the dinner shift until 11 p.m.

That leaves you with one day off a week. What do you do?
Believe it or not, I cook. At home I like to experiment with fermenting or pickling. I’m currently making fermented hot sauce and beer mustard. A line cook’s days are flipped: when I worked dinner shifts I woke up at noon, went to work at 3 p.m., got off at 11 p.m. and stayed up until 2 p.m. It’s a lifestyle, like 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but pushed back.

Describe working the line.
It’s a lot of communication and time management. Everyone is involved in every plate, and every ticket.

  1. The server comes back and gives the order to the expo.
  2. The expo then tells the line.
  3. The line cooks communicate with one another about the table’s order.

You have to keep up when your board is full of tickets to make sure food is at the table in due timing.

  • Appetizers: 7-8 minutes
  • Entrees without appetizers: 12 minutes
  • Both: You have to communicate with the server to know when the table is ready.

That sounds stressful, how do you manage?
You have to love what you do. Sometimes when you’re in the rush, it feels like your head is above water. People don’t really know what its like to be a line cook unless they’ve worked in a restaurant. Its very demanding, everyone needs something from you all the time. Its chaos, but I find order in chaos.

-By Alexa Lampasona for the Food & More blog

6 comments Add your comment

AJCReaderX

December 17th, 2013
10:31 am

Thanks for this very interesting behind-the-scenes profile. Please do more of these.

Alexa

December 17th, 2013
10:48 am

Hi AJCReader- we do one every Tuesday on the blog at 10am!

jimmy

December 17th, 2013
12:55 pm

Enjoying these new profiles. Keep them coming.

Niels the Dutch Guy

December 17th, 2013
2:41 pm

Maude

December 17th, 2013
3:04 pm

Makes me tired.

Billyh

December 17th, 2013
3:52 pm

I really enjoyed reading this behind the scenes article. Life in the kitchen is fascinating and we usually only get to read about the executive chefs. Keep these coming.