Khadija Malik WI21 Blog
by Khadija Malik, March 21, 2021
Smyth + The Loyalist
As I finished my associate’s degree, it was time for me to find an internship. When I started my degree, I was dead-set on taking my internship at The French Laundry; however, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants had shut their doors for their employees’ safety and due to government sanctions.
I emailed a few restaurants asking to come in for a stage. While most restaurants were reluctant, a handful responded positively and asked me to get tested before coming in for my stage. I went to North Pond, BLVD, and Smyth. While I thoroughly enjoyed all three experiences, I decided to take my internship at Smyth + The Loyalist.
The experience at Smyth +The Loyalist is something I will always treasure. As difficult as I first found the transition to be, it was equally rewarding. While I was only there for three months, it gave me an inside look into how much work goes into earning a Michelin Star for a restaurant and delivering on the experience. Everything from the ambiance, the tableware, the wine list, and the food is a carefully curated experience. It requires thinking ahead of time, keeping logistics, weather, seasonality, and substitutions in mind. It was fascinating to see how, a reservation for someone with an allium allergy could change what was going to be served to the customer, all the while keeping their experience elevated and on the same page as their fellow diners. The favorite part of my internship was being able to ask the Executive Chef, John Shields questions about the food and why it is being treated, cooked or served a certain way. He would always explain it calmly without rushing and if you were not doing something correctly, he would take the time to run you through the process to understand it.
When the lockdown was re-implemented again, I had the opportunity to work at The Loyalist, the burger restaurant also owned by Chef Karen and John Shields. I got an insider view of how quickly restaurants have to adapt to such unprecedented situations and make them work. Before going to Smyth, I heard a lot about their reputation as a restaurant that truly sets itself apart and delivered in every respect.
I am grateful to Chef Shields and Chef Luke for letting me take my internship at Smyth + The Loyalist when most restaurants were reluctant to have stagiaires. The experience was invaluable and something I will always remember fondly.