Changing stations in a kitchen can be like diving head on into an unfilled very deep, very cement pool.

Perhaps tennis shoes in the dryer would be a better metaphor.

Shoes clunking around bouncing off the metal canister and bouncing off each other in an un-rhythmic sort of way. I hate that. Clunk, clunk, clunk… clunk… clunk, clunk…

That’s me right now. A little bit at least. When I change stations I normally mess everything up until my inner self loathing demon relaxes, my nerves settle, I tame the adrenaline rush, and I focus.

Does anybody else over 30 find that they are increasingly becoming their own worst critic now more than ever? Is this part of getting older and wiser? And if so, when will I get there?

The veg station is really sort of simple. There are basically two pick-ups and then a few others that are thrown in at random times throughout the evening in order to really screw things up. (Pick-up’s refer to the physical action of cooking and plating a dish when it is ordered).

I pick-up the zucchini blossom dish that is stuffed with truffled crab meat (so, so delicious, I almost resent having to send it to the passe) and a stunning white tuna dish that is poached in olive oil and sauced with a deep red bearnaise.

Sounds easy, two dishes.

Okay the z-blossoms are a cinch. Quick, easy, beautiful, delicious. Great!

And the white tuna is not that hard either unless you forget it in the poaching oil because all of a sudden a side of sautéed vegetables is ordered, and a plate of tortellini, and an off the menu fried rice, and an off the menu pastsa with urchin and caviar sauce…

Oops there goes the tuna. Hammered. Waaaaaaaay overcooked.

Regardless of my first night jitters on the hot line and a few sloppy errors, I survived the evening. I’m sure they’re giving me a one night grace period to figure out the pick-ups before they rip me apart. I’ll take the breather while it lasts.

Could I have done better? Yes. Nonetheless my counterpart on the line said while we were scrubbing down our stations: “You did pretty good for your first night, you just need to get cooking the tuna down”. Maybe he was just trying to make me feel better.

I think I’m not going to analyze it too much, take the compliment, and focus on how to poach tuna perfectly!

At least I didn’t hear “Welcome to the veg station now go back to Garde Manger”.

Hopefully tonight will be less like tennis-shoes-in-dryer and more like towels-on-spin-cycle.