Napkin – Richie sets up a clever trick during an interview with a FOH candidate. He turns the napkin in front of her at the set table where they’re conducting the interview, waiting for her to notice over the course of their conversation. She doesn’t, and loses the gig. No resume is as valuable as seeing how someone works, what their tendencies and bad habits are, and how willing they are to work on them. In this instance, she displayed a lack of awareness and the particular strain of OCD you need to be good at service on this level.
Omelet – The French omelet is said to be the mark of a good cook. It’s at once a dish anyone can make, and one that is incredibly difficult to make well. The titular omelet of episode 9 is made by Sydney for Natalie. It’s more or less flawless, although, if I may nitpick, the pan doesn’t seem hot enough because the butter isn’t “singing” as it should when it first hits the pan, and she pipes a thin tube of Boursin onto the setting eggs, a major no-no (but almost certainly delicious, based on Ludo Lefevbre’s omelet recipe). Extra point for rubbing butter onto the rolled omelet on the plate, and the textural chip crumble with chive garnish spoke directly to my Jewish palate. More food based intimacy in season 3, please.
Permits – At the end of the first episode Carmy and Sydney leave early because there’s not much more they can do without the necessary work permits. In the real world, doing at least some onsite work without permits is not just commonplace, it’s a necessity.
Poaching – In desperation, with no resumes coming in post-Covid, Sydney tries to convince some cooks on a smoke break out behind a restaurant she walks by to come work for her, like an evil drug dealer trying to turn kids on to crack in a 90s PSA. She’s rightfully shut down and cursed out by their chef who catches her red handed.
Quenelle – The bullet shaped dollop you impose on a semi-firm solid like ice cream, butter, or a creamed protein mixture with a wet spoon (or two) and some technique for entirely aesthetic purposes. Learning how to form a quenelle serves as a metaphor for Marcus’ maturation from a kid fucking with bread and donuts to a real pastry chef.
R&D– The food component of the early season is sparing, and mostly all research and development. We see the work that goes into producing inspiration and creativity. A good dish doesn’t just come to you in the shower (or at least not fully formed), you have to earn it. It’s not just cooking, not just reading, not just talking, not just watching, not just taking notes, not just eating, it’s all of the above. It’s learning, thinking, trying and failing. As much as this season is about the nuts and bolts of opening a restaurant, it’s also about finding the statements you want to make through your food, how you find the “words” and emotions you want to convey, how you learn the precise ways to articulate them.