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Gutstein went on to apprentice at a French restaurant,cheap nike free shoes uk starting out in the laundry and working his way up to chef de cuisine. After that, he took a series of jobs at larger and larger hotels in Hartford, Newark, and Los Angeles. By the time he came to Las Vegas, five years ago, he was married and had a six-month-old daughter, Hannah Brooklyn Gutstein. ("I went through all the other boroughs and none of them sounded right. Hannah Bronx, Hannah Yonkers . . .") He says that he couldn't get used to the newness of the place at first--the rectilinear streets and bulldozed desert plots; the jagged rim of mountains on the horizon. But real estate was cheap and the casinos needed chefs. So he bought a house in one of the stucco subdivisions south of town. Then he bought a newer, bigger house nearby and rented out the first. He had two more children, bought a charcoal-gray Mustang convertible, and slowly began to feel at home. "I was, like, 'Holy shit,' " he says. " 'You can make it in this town.' " When Gutstein arrived at the Flamingo, in 2002, after two years as nike free run 5.0 uk salea chef at Bally's, Lindy's was still there, like a Vegas burlesque of a greasy spoon: the servers were mouthy and demanding, the kitchen cramped and grimy. "Dude, it was a fucking nightmare," Gutstein says. "I'm not kidding you. It was brutal. The cooks back there were losing their minds." Several years earlier, a section of the floor in the kitchen had collapsed when water from a broken pipe eroded the ground beneath it. The servers simply skirted the pit until someone laid down a piece of plywood to cover it. The plywood stayed there for months. Gutstein spent his first few weeks walking around the hotel with a legal pad, just trying to grasp the scale of the place. The Flamingo has more than four thousand employees, eleven hundred of whom work in food service. Its ten restaurants and eleven bars cover every major theme in American dining--Chinese, Japanese, Italian, steak house, fast food, buffet--like a carpeted, air-conditioned version of a Midwestern downtown. The coffee shop's kitchen is half the length of a football field, and it's only the tail end of an intestinal tangle of prep kitchens, washrooms, and walk-in refrigerators that are shared by the restaurants and that coil around and beneath the casino. Go down one service corridor and you emerge in Pink Ginger, a pan-Asian restaurant that looks like the inside of a young girl's jewelry box. Go down another and you're in Margaritaville, where the booths are like fishing boats and a woman dressed in a mermaid suit slips down a watercheap nike free run 3 slide into a giant margarita blender.
Like the restaurants in the casino, the hotels on the Stripnike air max uk are just subsets of other corporate megastructures. The Flamingo used to belong to Caesars Entertainment, which also owned Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Bally's, and fourteen other properties. Then, this past June, Caesars Entertainment was bought by Harrah's Entertainment, which owned twenty-five casinos. For the Flamingo, all this merging and acquiring has meant, for instance, that the onion soup, turkey gravy, beef broth, marinara sauce, clam chowder, and chili served at the Tropical Breeze and its other restaurants are made in giant steam kettles at Paris Las Vegas, where they're pumped into two-gallon plastic tubes, loaded onto carts, and distributed around the Strip. The newest hotels are designed for such economies of scale. cheap nike air max 95(The juice room at the Wynn squeezes ten kinds of fruit daily; its bakery makes sixty kinds of bread.) But the Flamingo was built in stages, like the Vatican. Its pink glass towers stand on the ruins of a low-slung nineteen-fifties pavilion with a neon column that bubbled like champagne. Beneath that lie the elegant remains of Bugsy Siegel's supper club and riding stables, from a time when horses could still be hitched in front of stores downtown. The result is a maze of ramps, stairs, and blind corridors that crisscross behind the hotel's sleek new interiors, like nike air max theasomething from an etching by Escher. "This is why they implode hotels," a former head of food service at the hotel told me.
Two years ago, when the Flamingo began renovatingair jordans shoes Lindy's to make the Tropical Breeze, Gutstein helped redesign the kitchen. He gave it larger cooktops and better flow, revamped its inventory system, and reorganized the staff. To keep his part of the casino's vast mechanism in gear, he knew that he had to understand it in all its particulars. He had to know that the average meal takes five minutes to make and fifteen minutes to serve. He had to know how many pounds of corned beef, diced papaya, Cap'n Crunch, and kosher pickles the cafe consumes in a week, and how those numbers change if a convention or a sporting event is in town. (When nascar came to Vegas in March, sales of chicken-fried steak went "through the roof," Gutstein says.) And he had to extrapolate from those numbers how many cooks and servers he would need on any given shift. But what he needed most hecheap air jordan 6 shoes already had: three good egg cooks. Martin Nanez Moreno, the omelette man, grew up on a small farm in Villa Lopez, Mexico, six hours southeast of El Paso. He came to Las Vegas eleven years ago with his brother-in-law. His three older brothers are all cooks in Los Angeles. Joel Eckerson, the over-easy man, was reared in an orphanage outside Seoul, South Korea. He was adopted at the age of eleven by a Christian couple from Duanesburg, New York, and joined the Navy seven years later, where he first worked in a kitchen. When he arrived in Las Vegas, in 1985, he took a job as a cook's helper at the Flamingo and never left. Debbie Lubick makes all the poached-egg dishes at the Tropical Breeze. When she was growing up, her parents owned a fleet of eighty lunch trucks in air jordan 10 men for saleHouston and San Antonio. Her father taught her to crack eggs one-handed when she was ten; by the time she was sixteen she was running the kitchen.
Standing shoulder to shoulder at the griddle that morning, they looked as nike air jordan 13 shoesoddly matched as three champions at a dog show, and just as self-possessed: Martin was dark and slender, with a debonair mustache; Joel was short, angular, and efficient; Debbie was tall and matronly, with a pale, sweet face edged with melancholy. Like almost everyone at the cafe, they'd come to Vegas from someplace else--I counted eleven Mexicans, three Salvadorans, five Filipinos, a Peruvian, an Iranian, a German, a Canadian, and an Englishman among the employees on one shift--but the egg cooks shared certain basic traits. They were all in their forties, all married with children, all deeply unexcitable souls at the heart of a hyperactive environment. They were the still center at the eye of the Tropical Breeze. The Flamingo is a union house, like most of the large hotels in Vegasair jordan 9 kids cheap sale. Cooks start at about fifteen dollars an hour--servers make ten dollars, and generally collect another ten in tips--and work their way up the pay scale by seniority, from runner to cook's helper to fry cook to broiler cook to saucier to sous-chef to banquet cook. Martin and Joel were sauciers. They made a dollar an hour more than fry cooks, and had the privilege of working the day shift from six to two. (The swing shift was from two to ten, the graveyard shift from ten to six.) Debbie was just a fry cook, after nine years at the Flamingo, but even that made her a rarity in Vegas. Most women in casino restaurants get shunted into waitressing, hosting, or composing fruit and salad plates in the pantry. When they do make it to the line, they're not always welcome. "There are male egos involved," Debbie told me one day in the break room, with a tight smile. "The guys will die before they let me come over and help. They don't want to be shown up by a girl."That's fine with her, she said. "I have the cheap nike air jordan 1 women easiest station on the line. Now I just tell them, 'You don't want the help? O.K., die.' "