24 year-old Steve Martin has been working at Harry's Pizzeria as chef de cuisine for the past two years. And he loves it. We spoke to Steve, who bakes pies, makes his own focaccia, vinegars, salamis and headcheeses, about what a typical day looks like for him. After giving us the rundown on a pretty hectic Sunday, he had a little something to add, "Harry's pizzeria is the coolest fucking pizzeria that is known to man," he said, following it up with why it's so cool. Read on.
I wake up and I have a cup of coffee. My wife gets it rolling for me everyday. So, usually starts brewing in the morning about 6 a.m. and that smell always jacks me right out of bed. I'll have a cup and take like 20-30 minutes and I'm usually sitting down reading one of my cookbooks. It's my daily habit. I think it's mostly because I'm a young cook … it really helps me progress. And then I get ready for work. I iron out my uniform for the day. I don't even know why I do it, I get made fun of all the time because it's a t-shirt and jeans, but I still iron it out.
I leave my house around this time. It takes me like 20 minutes to go back down south to the restaurant.
I get to the restaurant. Depending on the menu – our menu changes every week – and lately we've been featuring a lot of fresh-baked breads so that's usually the first thing I get rolling in the oven. So I crank up my oven, open up the restaurant, wait for my staff to get it and I start throwing in the breads. We have a lot of braised dishes too like our short rib that goes in the short rib pizza and the pork, that's like 6-hours of cook time, so they have to get in the oven immediately. We've been doing a lot of pastas for brunch as well, so I start rolling out my pasta as well.
I just get everything kind of organized for brunch. Everybody rolls in around this time and we start getting everything together. I usually go over a game plan. My sous chef and I will kind of sit down at the bar and make coffee and just kind of recap what we'll be doing for the day. We'll sit there for probably 15-20 minutes and just shoot the shit and then we get rolling with our day.
Once our staff rolls in and our first cook gets here, we fire up the wood-oven. We make our own house focaccia as well, so – there's a lot of things happening all at once, you're going to hear a lot of times overlapping, we're moving at like 500 miles an hour because we only really have from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to get the restaurant ready and we're such a small kitchen, like our kitchen is like a one bedroom apartment, its tiny, - so we fire up the oven and while the oven is still cold we're prepping the focaccia for the day. By the time we're done our oven is optimal temperature for making focaccia. Like perfect 500 degrees. Then we'll put the bread in and get that rolling. We prep the dough, we make about eight batches of dough, which a batch is like 64 dough balls per batch, so we're going through a lot of dough. We start cutting our cheese for the day, we grate our own cheese. We make our own ricotta, so we get the ricotta in the oven.
This is pre-shift. So right before pre-shift, my wife has to start getting up for work so I usually step out back and give her a call to say good morning. That's an everyday routine kind of a thing. So I give her a call and we talk and she's usually like bitching at me for leaving my shoes on the floor or something like that [he laughs]. I'm like, "well good morning, hun!"
We sit down for pre-shift and I make my cooks put out one of every dish. I'll tell the cooks by 10:45 there should be one dish of whatever we're doing that week. We usually do like six brunch items to add on to our menu. This way the servers can all try one and the managers can all try one and they have a better idea of what they're actually selling. We'll sit down and that's our breakfast, so we have like a family meal breakfast. The whole time everyone's eating, we're taking pictures and talking about it. So, I'll stand there with probably like my fifth cup of coffee by that time … It's the same thing every time too: a cappuccino with three brown sugar packets, everybody knows that's my thing. We'll sit down and I'll talk about the brunch and walk everyone through and tell them the origin of the dish. Then we go get ready for service. My cook and I, whoever it is in the morning, usually are manning the pizza oven and then my sous chef is banging out the orders in the back or he's working in the pantry station.
During brunch, when I'm on the pizza station, I'm hauling ass back and forth trying to take my orders and work the pizza station and jump in the back and take my other orders. We put in like seven orders from different companies on Sunday for a Monday delivery to get us boosted back up from a crazy weekend, so usually at this time I'm just hauling ass trying to get my orders in before 4 p.m. It's funny all my serves know, "just get the fuck out of my way" [he laughs].
Service is over, the orders are in and it's kind of my chance to relax, take a breath and just plan out the rest of my day. I check in to see if all of my produce is in. We use a lot of local famers, we use Gary from Little Haiti community gardens, we use Tina's Pride, there's so many, and we're always in touch with each other. And if I'm running low on something it's usually, Gary's the guy I call and he usually just swings by and drops off arugula, tomatoes or basil, whatever I really need. This is kind of my "fix it" time. You're so scared at this point [he laughs]. I make my orders then this is my chance to relax. So I have another cup of coffee, I go out back and call my wife and talk shit with her and say what's up. Calling her let's me clear my mind and get back to what I have to do. I'll give her a call and she'll say something and I'll make a joke about somebody we know who's funny. I'm a dick, I'm just making fun of people most of the time.
Toward the end of the night
It's just routine, putting out service. Me and my sous chef, the two of us are here five, six, seven days a week sometimes depending what our week looks like. For 15 hours a day. I did my first 19 hour day the other day. It gets retarded. Sometimes you don't get out of here until like 2 in the morning. Sometimes you get out at 9. It depends on what you need to do you know, you don't leave until the job is done.
We close. Usually I'll be out of here by like 9:45. But it depends on what we have to do. We do pop-ups here so if I have a pop-up on Tuesday with a guest chef, I won't get out of here till 4 in the morning. There's prepping and getting ready for that and just making sure that we have anything that needs to be pickled done, or anything that's preserved, curing things, getting all that done late at night while I have space to work. This is such a tight kitchen that I literally don't have a spot for myself to work. I grab like a keg and put a cutting board on it and work on that. That's just how it is sometimes.
I'll get home on a typical day. My wife and I will sit down. She'll pour me a glass of bourbon and I'll sit out back and just chill and try and wind down. I'm usually so wound up that sleeping is not going to happen by any means. So, I sit down usually for like 2 hours and I'll watch TV. She and I will just sit there, it's really our only chance to hang out. My old chef de cuisine always says the same thing, he's like, "you're not married, you're roommates, just tell her to get used to it." I know, but it sucks so bad. I'll cook dinner usually, we'll eat at 2 in the morning sometimes. The other night we ate dinner at like 1:30 in the morning. We'll eat and sit and chill and then I have to be right back up again. I usually sleep for like four to six hours. Six hours is like a great night's sleep [he laughs]. I think that's what made me socially awkward because I was never like this before. This job just killed who I was. Staring at a kitchen wall all day long and then seeing other people that don't work in a kitchen for like an hour out of my day has made me really awkward.
If it's a pop-up, which we do once a month, my cooks and I and my sous chef will just go out to a bar and just go get hammered and then go home and then start back over again. We hang out at like the Broken Shaker or Bar Louie, especially on Wednesday nights because its dollar beer night, so we're always there. That's really it.
Harry's pizzeria is the coolest fucking pizzeria that is known to man. We braise octopus, we confit duck legs, we braise short rib and roast off whole chicken for dinner specials, we roast whole fish, we get to do the pop-ups, we work with these awesome mother fuckers from around the country and we just cook the sickest fucking food in Miami and that's why we have a cult family and that's why our Instagram is like the bomb. I am so passionate about being here and working for this company.
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[Photo Courtesy of Michael's Genuine]