Staging: Learning the Food Industry From the Inside

As I have been writing recently, I am now knee deep into the restaurant industry after leaving my webmaster position. Right now, that simply means me working full-time at the Cafe @ Nordstrom. I am trying to learn as much as I can there as well as gain outside perspectives within the food industry. Last night was my first attempt to truly see a different restaurant from the inside out instead of the outside in.

As I am learning about the food industry, I am also learning the lingo, such as stage/staging. This is basically what I was able to do last night from 4pm-10pm. Through a family friend, I was introduced to one of the chefs at fire food & drink in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He was kind enough to welcome me into the restaurant and kitchen with open arms. Throughout the evening I chatted with multiple people in the kitchen, the food runner, bartender, and owner/executive chef in addition to observing as much as I could. Unfortunately, due to the incessant snow, it was a slow evening but I was still able to learn, especially from Chef/Manager Michael. I hung out with him most of the evening assisting at the door and simply chatting. And oh yeah, I was able to stuff olives with blue cheese. If I would have simply left it at that, it would have been a great learning experience.

However, the night ended even better.

In my email to Michael, I mentioned my love for grilled cheese sandwiches and this blog. Throughout the evening, grilled cheese sandwiches were mentioned but mostly just in passing. Right when I was about to head home, Michael told me to wait one second near the kitchen. In just a few minutes out came a gruyere and pepperjack portobella mushroom grilled cheese sandwich on homemade naan bread with a generous portion of homemade french fries. I had hoped to be taking it to go, to take pictures for this site, but the sandwich didn’t even last five minutes let alone the ride home. It had a nice kick as well a sweet flavor that worked very well together. As I told Michael, I approved.

That grilled cheese sandwich was the cherry on top to a great, fun learning experience. I hope to continue to stage at other restaurants and learn as much as I can.

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