October 16, 2009 at 10:02 pm 216 comments

Before anything else, I have to say this: thank you! Thank you to everyone who commented on last week’s post, where I asked readers to leave a comment with their location. I was having somewhat of a bad day when I wrote that post, and I included the last sentence (about dropping a comment) on a whim. I wasn’t expecting many responses, but I was blown away by the stories and comments left for me. The comments were so diverse – readers from 6 continents, so many places both in the US and abroad, and readers of so many ages. There were college students, grandparents, entire families, and even other teens who are 17 and Baking. It made me feel like we are all together, we all have something in common, we all have the ability to reach out and connect. Thank you, thank you for making my week!

Remember a month ago when I said I had some fantastic news I was dying to share with you guys? Hint… it has something to do with the chef’s jacket shown above.

You can’t tell because of the camera, but I’m grinning. My super exciting, make-me-go-crazy news? I’m now an intern at Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar!

Seastar is a fine dining seafood restaurant that’s well known around here – it’s been featured in Food and Wine Magazine, Best of City Search, Seattle Weekly, and Evening Magazine’s Best of Western Washington, to name a few. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for a high schooler like me, especially since I’m not pursuing a culinary career. It’s a look into the world of food, of chefs, of fine dining restaurants. It’s amazing. As a pantry chef intern, I help with plating salads and desserts, but I also have some free rein to try other things as well.

The chef I work with is named S-, one of the few women in the kitchen – she’s young and friendly and a patient teacher. On my first day she showed me the kitchen, the pantry, the walk-in fridge, the dishwashing room, and the pantry line where I work. It was so surreal to be in a real professional kitchen, really physically be standing between the huge Hobart mixer and gleaming counters, after seeing them so many times on the Food Network.

As we went over safety and protocol, I began to get a little overwhelmed. There was just so much to learn and remember, and already I was forgetting names and where ingredients were kept and how to get more dishes. I ate dinner sitting on an upside down bucket in the pantry, wondering if I was ever going to be able to keep up. When I got back to the line, orders had really started coming in.

Quite unluckily, my first day was one of the busiest I’ve seen so far. I didn’t know how to eyeball four ounces of lettuce or prep the plate for a panna cotta, so I was too slow and unlearned to be of any use. Ticket after ticket after ticket came in, and unable to keep up, I stood off to the side and watched. I was wearing new black nonslip shoes and after only three hours, my feet ached. The hazy heat seemed to intensify and a familiar phrase vaguely came to me: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. When my shift finally ended at 8, I collapsed into my car and was too tired to drive home until I’d rested there in the dark.

From the upper left, counterclockwise: the counter where servers pick up food,
the spice shelf, the prep kitchen, and the pantry line where I work

My first week I had felt uncharacteristic shyness, unable to remember names and doubtful about my ability. But I started to learn – by my third week I could confidently plate most of the salads and desserts. The introversion had faded, and instead I beamed at every chef or server I encountered because I couldn’t help but feel happy.

Now, four or so weeks in, I feel at home. I offer to complete any task, ask to learn more, and complete tickets without guidance. I pretend not to notice when the clock turns 8, and instead wait for S- to point it out because it means I get to stay an extra five minutes on the line. I know everybody’s name, and they all know mine. I still eat dinner on an upside down bucket in the tiny pantry, but I don’t sit alone and I don’t feel alone. My shoes have finally broken in, and when I step out of the restaurant and into my warm car, I have a smile on my face and a smile in my heart.

From the upper right, counterclockwise: shelves in the pantry,
pots and pans hanging on the walls, crab legs in the prep kitchen

Even though Seastar’s focus is on seafood and entrees, not baking or pastry, there is so much to learn and to love. As a pantry intern, I plate salads and desserts – when someone orders one, a ticket comes through to the pantry line. The prep work is done (the dressing is made, the nuts have been toasted, and the desserts are par-baked) and we do the final touches, the assembly, and the plating. My other tasks include prep work like measuring out ingredients, dicing fruit, slicing veggies, and general upkeep of the pantry. My favorite task so far is prepping the creme brulees with a torch – sprinkling on the sugar and watching it expand and sizzle into crispy amber glass.

I love the environment at Seastar. Every chef is friendly and fun to be around, and there is a sense of teamwork in the kitchen that I’ve never noticed in any PE class. Each night, the chefs who work the line have a meeting that ends in a team cheer, and the chefs and servers have a great relationship. Everyone there manages to be incredibly kind to me, helpful and patient without ever showing condescension or frustration. As I portion out crab, someone inevitably slips me a caramel candy or stick of gum, and as I sort through bunches of basil I can’t help but smile at everyone who passes by.

It’s indescribably thrilling to be in a professional kitchen. I love watching the line chefs create beautiful entrees, and learning all the tricks to how the restaurant runs. Even if I don’t want to be a chef, everything I take away from this internship helps me in “the real world.” I’m learning patience, stress-control, perseverance, hard work, friendliness, and communication skills, and getting to do something I love in the bargain.

The clock at my station and, in the background, the stick where servers
push receipts as they grab their order

There’s a feeling of intensity and time-restraint that I hadn’t expected, and I am never sitting still. On my second day there was a short lull.  I gratefully took the lack of tickets as a break, but a minute later S- came by, picked me up, and said, “This is what you do when there aren’t tickets.” You double check and reorganize the walk-in fridge, you sweep the floors and swipe the counters, you restock ingredients on the pantry and check the dishwashing room for clean supplies. It turns out, once you finish all that, there’s a nice stream of tickets coming in after all.

One evening in the middle of grabbing more mint I suddenly stood still, and it was such a peculiar feeling to know that every single other person in the kitchen at that exact moment was moving. But believe it or not, I love being busy. It feels good – like accomplishment and efficiency.

Another great part of my internship is, of course, the food.

From upper left, counterclockwise: Golden Beet Maple salad, two selections from
the raw bar, caesar salads with parmesan lattice crisps, and two entrees

As an intern I get a free meal every night. I simply look through the menu and nicely ask somebody to make it for me. Sometimes, one of the chefs will offer to make dinner for the whole staff. As a result, I’m getting accustomed to some very nice food lately. So far my favorite meal has been a seafood stew, simply a tomato herb broth with a mix of fish, shrimp, clams, and mussels. And my favorite dessert? The pineapple upside-down cheesecake, light and airy but topped with the most indulgent, creamy caramel-pecan sauce I’ve ever tasted.

Unfortunately I can’t share any Seastar recipes with you, but I can share more photos. :)

Chefs use these plastic lids to keep your food warm before they slide
the plates onto the counter, where servers pick them up.

This is where I work, and there’s always work. I have a lot of custards to brulee!

Another chef prepping sprigs of mint next to a batch of mini pineapple cheesecakes

Between Seastar and 17 and Baking and the wind whispering promises of creeping chill, there is so much I am happy for. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Entry filed under: Eating Out, Seastar, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

School, Seattle, The Northwest… The World? The Daring Bakers Practice Their French Kissing – Cinnamon and Cream Cheese Macarons

216 Comments Add your own

  • 1. electricity saving tips  |  March 28, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    electricity saving tips

    Seastar | 17 and Baking

  • 2. james harden shoes crusader  |  March 29, 2015 at 8:30 am

    This has become an industry that sees millions of dollars
    being spent on these on a yearly basis; this can many times be one
    of the more important aspects that need to be addressed when it comes to
    getting the best of the best in the way of results.
    Luxaire is a division of the Unitary Products Groups – A Johnson Controls Company.

    The Hyper – Fuse shoe is constructed of composite material
    that is light and strong.

  • 3. Wallpaper Gallery  |  March 30, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

  • 4. brighton karate kids  |  March 30, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    You can certainly see your skills within the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    All the time follow your heart.

  • 5. live  |  March 30, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    ԜOW just what I was searching for. Ϲame here
    by searching for hot ǥirls

  • 6. jasa pembuatan website sekolah  |  April 3, 2015 at 4:39 am

    Menggunakan web scrapper, informasi yang diperlukan untuk bisnis Anda dapat dikumpulkan dari
    internet. Ini benar-benar penting: jika header halaman rumah tidak
    digunakan, listrik – Titik akan mengekspor halaman web dengan link untuk halaman ini sebagai awal beberapa kata dari baris pertama teks; Oleh karena itu, judul harus nama
    situs dan baris pertama dari bagian konten sebagai
    header halaman. Setelah Anda mendapatkan kutipan membandingkannya dan memilih salah satu perusahaan.

  • 7. Nikon Coolpix P900  |  April 22, 2015 at 8:28 am

    In the event you personal a daily safety camera,
    you’ll discover that it warns you every time there’s a change within the video, even if it
    is a benign one. This can save you on battery lifespan and camera footage length.
    A little later that evening when my buddy and I were enjoying the game I decided to
    change the channel.

  • 8. gmina lubin  |  April 30, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Appreciation to my father who stated to me concerning this webpage, this weblog is actually amazing.

  • 9. call of champions hack 2015  |  May 8, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    3-d has undoubtedly created a splash in the playstation video gaming
    market place, however we are even more enthusiastic about the 3d Playstation 3 releases planned for this
    year. The growth of technology in the recent years has seen many developments in the gaming industry.
    Well, the grant provided them with more resources than any educational video game for children has ever received.

  • 10. δημιουργική γραφή  |  May 13, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Hey would you mind letting me know which web host you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads
    a lot quicker then most. Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at
    a reasonable price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

  • 11. jam tangan wanita terbaru  |  May 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, and I’m
    stunned why this accident didn’t came about in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  • 12. turnatorie clopote  |  May 13, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    What’s up to all, it’s genuinely a pleasant for me to pay a visit this website, it consists of helpful Information.

  • 13. Health care  |  May 17, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Hello, the whole thing is going niceely here and ofcourse every one is
    sharing data, that’s actually excellent, keep up writing.

  • 14. kasur busa royal  |  May 20, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I blog often and I really appreciate your content. This great article
    has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your blog and keep
    checking for new information about once per week.
    I opted in for your Feed too.

  • 15. watch upcoming movie trailers  |  May 21, 2015 at 8:10 am

    But since the video quality is poor, this method is not really recommended.
    Above tips will help you lower the video file size.
    There are a number of course providers present on the web that are helping students in passing this
    certification course.

  • 16. psychoterapia bydgoszcz  |  May 22, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks for finally writing about >Seastar | 17 and Baking <Liked it!

  • 17. Kennith  |  June 18, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    As a homeowner, you will have maintenance and other related costs to keep your drain system
    running efficiently. This tool is a long, hollow, transparent
    piece of plastic branded with one-foot accretion. Nitrogen-deficient grass invites the growth of moss.

  • 18. non governmental organizations uganda  |  June 30, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    What’s up, after reading this awesome post i am
    also cheerful to share my knowledge here with mates.

  • 19. popular books  |  July 3, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Excellent post. I certainly love this site. Continue the good work!

  • 20. вк  |  July 18, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    you’re actually a just right webmaster. The website loading pace is
    amazing. It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick.
    Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a fantastic task in this matter!

  • 21. tips memilih jam tangan  |  July 23, 2015 at 1:05 am

    You can certainly see your skills in the article you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how
    they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  • 22.  |  July 24, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Right here is the perfect web site for anybody who really wants to find out about this
    topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would
    want to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new
    spin on a topic that has been discussed for a long time.
    Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

  • 23. this post  |  July 26, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    this post

    Seastar | 17 and Baking

  • 24. understanding  |  July 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm


    Seastar | 17 and Baking

  • 25. strategy guide  |  September 23, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    It’s difficult to find experienced people about
    this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

  • 26. forex-brokers switzerland  |  October 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    In other words, robots are only compatible with
    one type of trading system. the technical trading method focuses more on the value history and uses the current value of a currency in a pair
    referenced again historical trading ranges and value to give an indication of
    the likely change and new value that a currency will have in the near future.
    Understand their terms and legal information, and then choose one that you are comfortable and confident with.

  • 27. Ezekiel  |  October 13, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Most of the old women treat their younger partners as their subordinate through their motherly attitude even during
    their sexual activities, which is not fair. Notice the way she touches you because you need to
    touch her back the same way. Try it and enjoy the first day of the
    rest of your sex life.

  • 28. Kites  |  October 31, 2015 at 12:00 am

    It’s actually a great and helpful piece of
    info. I am happy that yoou just shared this useful info with us.

    Please kerp uss upp to dare like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • 29. hoodie love stories  |  November 14, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Fantastic website. A lot of helpful info here.
    I’m sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious.
    And naturally, thank you on your effort!

  • 30. รับรีวิว  |  November 17, 2015 at 9:26 am

    I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your information. Your article has really
    peaked my interest. I’m going to book mark your site and keep
    checking for new information about once per week.
    I opted in for your RSS feed too.

  • 31. komatsu pc200  |  January 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    I am in fact happy to read this weblog posts which carries lots off useful information, thanks for provbiding these kinds of data.

  • 32. holi  |  February 21, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Valuable info. Fortunate me I found your website
    accidentally, and I’m stunned why this accident didn’t took place in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  • 33. flash  |  May 30, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check
    out your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the info you provide here and can’t wait to
    take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your
    blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI,
    just 3G .. Anyhow, good blog!

  • 34. llloolll le site llloolll  |  June 27, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Greetings I am so thrilled I found your website, I really found
    you by accident, while I was searching on Bing for something else,
    Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks for
    a fantastic post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it
    all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read
    a great deal more, Please do keep up the superb job.

  • 35. jewellery  |  November 9, 2016 at 4:17 pm


    Seastar | 17 and Baking

  • 36. シースリー 横浜 口コミ  |  November 26, 2016 at 6:20 pm


  • 37. 脇汗黄ばみ  |  January 15, 2017 at 8:50 pm


  • 38. アニメ速報  |  January 16, 2017 at 9:49 pm


  • 39.  |  February 9, 2017 at 6:51 am

    What’s up Dear, are you in fact visiting this web site
    regularly, if so afterward you will definitely take nice knowledge.

  • 40. agen casino terpercaya  |  February 21, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Have you ever considered about including a little bit
    more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important
    and all. But think of if you added some great photos or videos to give your
    posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with
    pics and videos, this blog could definitely be one of the most beneficial in its
    niche. Good blog!

  • 41. ラメラエッセンス  |  April 7, 2017 at 9:33 pm


  • 42. 腰椎分離すべり症  |  April 18, 2017 at 2:49 pm









  • 43. 精仿手表  |  May 13, 2017 at 12:35 am

    仿牌手表, 高仿手表,精仿手表,N厂手表,JF厂手表,

  • 44. Everett Wilkinson  |  May 18, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Great information. Lucky me I came across your site by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!

  • 45. キトー君 効果  |  May 18, 2017 at 8:22 am


  • 46. rd summit  |  May 29, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    rd summit

    Seastar | 17 and Baking

  • 47. web design sri lanka  |  June 17, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually realize what you are talking approximately!
    Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my site =). We will have a link change agreement between us

  • 48. Bam Bam Backlinks  |  July 13, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Bam Bam Backlinks

    Seastar | 17 and Baking

  • 49. playlistsound  |  July 19, 2017 at 5:45 am

    I feel that is one of the such a lot vital information for me.
    And i’m happy studying your article. But want to remark on few normal issues, The website style is wonderful, the
    articles is in point of fact great : D. Excellent activity,

  • 50. health  |  July 22, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I just like the valuable info you provide to
    your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and test again right here
    regularly. I’m relatively sure I’ll be informed lots of new stuff proper
    here! Good luck for the next!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

Subscribe to 17 and Baking via RSS! Become a fan of 17 and Baking on Facebook! Follow @17andbaking on Twitter! Follow elissabernstein on Instagram! Email me at!

Leave Your Location


The Fine Print

Locations of visitors to this page

Site Meter

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thank you for reading!

All text, photos, and logo
© 17 and Baking 2008 - 2013

%d bloggers like this: