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Typical Day

Lester Poissons (oui, it's French) wakes up at 10:30, sweating a river and clutching at his bedpost. He just exited a nightmare in which he was pouring some kind of chunky white goo onto a hot grill, then dousing that in mounds of butter and syrup, and there was an angry waitress named Mabel shouting at him to hurry it up with the Moon Over My Hammy. Once he realizes it was just a bad dream, and that he couldn't be further away from a Grand Slam if his name was Adam Dunn, he breathes out heavily, relieved to recall that he is actually the head chef at Le Chien Affamé, a restaurant just as fancy and French as it sounds. He reaches over and kisses a piece of paper on his nightstand—it's a recipe for venison sauce that was handed down to him by his grand-grand-grand-grand-père, who used to be the personal cook for King Louis XVIII. It's the closest thing he has to a rabbit's foot. Aside from the actual rabbit's foot he will be using later today to prepare a vat of Lapin a La Cocotte.

Les begins his day by fixing himself a plate of Duck Confit Benedict, with arugula and Hollandaise sauce. It's no Banana Nut Cheerios or pancakes from The Waffle House for this guy. He takes food seriously, and he refuses ever to eat a meal that isn't ridiculously delicious. He didn't go to all those years of culinary school for nothing.

After breakfast, Les showers and gets dressed, and then stops by the grocery store. Generally, everything he needs is located in the kitchen at Le Chien Affamé. However, he wants to try something a little different for one of the specials this evening, and needs a few unusual ingredients. Ever heard of megrim or puffballs? Yeah, we didn't think so. Anyway, he keeps the receipt so the restaurant owner can reimburse him. Les pretty much has free rein to get what he needs, as long as he doesn't go too crazy. He has the advantage of having been good friends with Jean, the owner, ever since culinary school. Jean learned early on (right around the time he screwed up a grilled cheese sandwich) that he would never cut it as a chef, so he went the stockbroker route and made more money in five years out of college than Les will ever see, even if he cooks a million vats of Lapin a La Cocotte. Once he got tired of Wall Street, he decided to open up a restaurant (his first love) and hire his old friend Les as the chef. Aside from the benefits that come simply from being in good with the boss man, Les also was able to cut a deal in which he gets 2.5% of the place's profits. In fact, because Jean is running this venture more for the challenge of establishing a popular restaurant than as a cash-generating entity, a lot of the pressure to drive in hordes of business with the quality of his cooking is off him. However, that doesn't mean he still wouldn't like to see those hordes come streaming through the front door. It's just more about pride than it is about revenue.

Les makes his way into the restaurant at around 1pm and meets with Jean to discuss the day's menu. It stays mainly the same as always, except for two specials—one being the new dish Les already had in mind. They also rotate in a classic favorite, and also briefly discuss what possibilities might be on tap for later in the week. The idea is to give regulars access to their favorite meals, while at the same time mixing it up enough to create a market sense of curiosity, so that no one gets bored by the same old, same old. You know how excited you get when they change one of the flavors at Yogurtland? That's what they're going for.

Being an upscale restaurant, Le Chien's menu isn't expansive—they're going for quality, not quantity. Their stand-by entrée options look something like this (translated into English for your reading ease and pleasure): 

• Roasted Pavé of Lamb in Rosemary Juice
• Preserved Cheek of Pork with Lentil
• Roasted Duckling Leg, Pear And Fig with Wine Caramel
• Aubergine with Fresh Goat Cheese and Honey
• Cod Fish, Pan Fried Fennel with Anise

You'll notice that there isn't a large selection, and absolutely no Happy Meal. It's a slightly different world than Wendy's.

At 2pm, Les starts preparing for opening. He practices cooking the specials—the old one he hasn't cooked in over three years, and because it involves a technique that he hasn't tried in a while, he wants to make sure the finished product is edible (and, beyond that, tasty), so that he can make any necessary adjustments before the dish starts getting served to patrons. Les takes great pride in his work, and wants every customer who walks through the door to try his food and instantly exclaim, "Ooh la la!"

At 3pm, Le Lapin Affamé opens its doors and the customers start trickling in. Business will pick up in a bit, but in the meantime, Les can ease his way into the day. Before things get crazy, he has some time to socialize, even laugh and joke with his sous-chefs and the servers.

However, 7pm rolls around and everyone is in the weeds. Les—as well as every other employee of the restaurant—runs himself ragged hurrying to prepare every meal that is ordered in a timely fashion, while preserving the high standard of quality he sets for himself (as well as the one the manager sets for him).
It finally starts to slow down around 9pm, and Les can breathe again. He even has time to fix himself a quick meal while he hands over most of the responsibility to his sous-chefs for a half hour. At 10pm, the restaurant closes its doors (thank goodness they are back to weekday hours, Les thinks to himself) and he heads home to get some sleep. And dream of croissants.