The period between 7 and 9AM was a busy one. Well, the whole shift was a busy all the way to 3:30pm.
Bear in mind that this was 30 years ago. And especially with there first major makeover since 1967, I have no idea what NOMK was like now.
We were more of the "food factory", making things in large quantities.
There were "reach-in" refrigerators, and several "walk-in" boxes, with at least two "walk-in" freezers that I recall inside of walk-in refrigerators.
There were service elevators to the Blue Bayou, French Market and the original (once Sara Lee) Cafe Orleans...where "runners" would come down and get food, and take it back upstairs to smaller kitchens "upstairs" where the orders would be plated and sent out. The Cafe in those days mainly relied in our kitchen to prepare barbecue beef sandwiches en masse for their people to heat up and plate for sending out. For those that don't remember, the original Cafe was a table service sandwich shop, with lots of delicious ice cream treats from the fountain.
A community college chum of mine worked the fountain there. I think he nearly developed carpal tunnel from scooping ice cream. He wore a striped vest costume, as I recall, complete with one of those fountain worker hats like from the 50's. I loved the old Cafe Orleans.
Anyway, back to the kitchen...the dishroom had conveyor belts from all three restaurants bearing "busstubs" bearing all manner of delightful stuff. The dishwashing machine, which I think they were still using before this latest rehab, was a huge wall-to-floor oblong revolving thing, with racks to be filled on one side and emptied on the "clean" side. The same runners who came down for food, and sometimes the "buss" people" came down to retrieve clean plates and take them back upstairs.
Across the kitchen...the potwashing room...about as close to hell on earth as one could come to at the "happiest place on earth". All those pots, pans and utensils...a thankless job. I am sure that part of my permanent hearing loss comes from the sound made by sadistic potwashers who delighted in taking large cast-iron skillets, pots and pans and throwing them across their room.
As for the rest of us...their was the "hotline" - where we were responsible for frying all those big fritters for the Royal St. Veranda, heating up various previously prepped entrees especially for the Bayou and Market, and making endless mounds of rice, green beans, seafood jambalaya, to name just a few...
On the other side of hotline was the previously mentioned "vat" line, and beyond that were prep tables for the head chef and other cooks on duty. Beyond that, tables for the "pantry" section. On day shifts, the "pantry" consisted of very nice, yet very stern older ladies who had lettuce to chop, and many salads to prepare, and had no more interest in Casey Kasem than our sobering up head chef did. God bless Joe - rest his soul - he really was a nice man. We just saw it more easily once he found AA.
He was a bigtime Angels fan, and we never missed a day game on the radio if he had anything to say about it. And he did!
Anyway, the final area of the New Orleans Main Kitchen were work tables (stainless steel, all) in an area called "back-up". I was never sure why it was called that.
Anyway, they got all the cakes and pies and such served at the restaurants in those days and it was their job to cut and plate them, and place them on bakery trams for the aforementioned runners to take upstairs to the aforementioned smaller kitchens.
And oh yes, if you left the hotline and walked straight to your left, you'd be entering the "Disneyland Employees Cafeteria" or DEC, the secondary employee eatery to the Inn Between. The DEC was not open 24/7, except for when the IB might be closed for rehab. Its nickname was "the Pit" because of our, well not so much underground but subterranean location.
And I promise, in my next entry, I'll get back to more about how Casey and AT 40 ties into all this!