With expert hands, Leonard Siliceo prepares a perfect hamburger patty for the next day’s serving at Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries.
His gloved left hand dips back into the 10-pound chub of ground beef, takes out another handful, places it on a scale, always 3.5 ounces, never 3.4 or 3.6. He adds or takes off small pieces, then pat-pat-pat-pat, another ball-shaped patty is made.
On a busy prep day, such as those ahead of $2 burger Wednesdays, Siliceo can make 450 such hamburger patties and half as many turkey burgers. After 45 identical balls are formed and laid out, they are individually pressed between wax paper, placed in a large plastic carton and taken into the walk-in refrigerator.
It is quiet, solitary work. But it gives purpose, provides a sense of accomplishment and has been transformative for the 54-year-old, who is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
“I usually have to concentrate when I’m in …