Monday, November 26, 2007

Cookin No. 45 - Once Again


Once again, it has been a while. I make no excuses for my lack of commitment, to my own activities, however I hope that I have not offended.

With that said and done… onward:

Well, I suppose that it goes without saying that much has happened… two days after mother’s day I was promoted to sous chef at the restaurant. I had a wonderful time with my new responsibilities. And I think that I did well, I am sure that I met the expectations set before me. I would like to think of myself as hard and dependable worker. I was always early, put in more time than was asked, and I hope that I made the kitchen run smoother with my crazy OCD ways. I have found that I am a particular person, and I like everything in its place, or rather, the place which I put it in. HA! Dominic the GM, loved pushing my button by messing with my towels. I tend to get all twitchy, which I am sure is amusing when I am seen in the height of frenzy. I am also sure that one would also feel a sense of pitty that I would get wigged out over so little of a thing. Egh, there is method to my madness, I swear!

Anywho, after a wonderful run of things, the restaurant closed, and we were all out of a job. September 29th was the last day. I am sure that it is a day that I won’t ever forget. There was lots of chaos, we were just trying to get threw it and deal. We only got a week notice, and the reason… I suppose business wasn’t going good, there was a long diatribe, but I would rather not put too much thought into it, otherwise I’ll make myself nuts. You can’t change some things. I was sad though, I felt that these people, who I spent most of my waking hours with, were my family. And it is always hard to see your family fall apart.

I suppose to sum it all up I would have to say… This I believe:

When the tickets are pouring in, and you don’t know if you can push yourself any further, somewhere deep within an extra bout of adrenaline kicks on, and you find yourself moving without thought, just pure movement. In moments like this, you find yourself amazed and proud. Like a parent watching their child tackle a difficult task, you step back and see yourself flowing in the most profound way. Its movement like this that can not be replicated on command. It only comes when you are at the end, when you need it the most.

On the line, on a busy night, all you can hear is the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. The dishwasher grinding away, plates being slammed, knives chopping, your coworkers grunting, this sizzle of shallots hitting hot oil, the smell of meat grilling, the ticket machine going off. Occasionally a glass will drop, and you take a moment to glance in the direction of the offending noise, relieved for a short break. Sweat pouring off your face and down your back. In moments like this, I am proud to part of the cool kids club, the gang of the deranged who work hard just to please the masses who don’t even know your face. Diners don’t think about what sort of goon is cooking their food, they are kept in a perfect climate, a paradise that is separated from hell only by a swinging door.

Working in close proximity with other people, no matter their past transgressions, creates a relationship more intimate than any other. No matter if the meat head next to you is a convicted felon, or a religious family man, this person becomes your family. You trust them, and a loyal bond is formed that can’t be broken by anything that is thrown your way. Yes, you may fight and argue, but at the end of the night, your share a few drinks, a few laughs, and you know that this person has your back. If you need a ride, if you need a hand, if you need a shoulder, this is the person that you turn to.

This I believe:
I am a chef, and this is a life that I love, hate, and live. I chose this life for that one moment, when the first forkful enters the mouth, the first taste, and the sigh; when the patron’s eyes are closed, a small smile on their lips, and the love of food washes over them. That single moment of completeness is why I keep going.

It was the perfect first job, and after… well after I couldn’t think of a single place in the valley that I wanted to work at. I loved that restaurant. So I spent one week doing nothing. well, I did draft my resume and sent it out to 5 different job postings. Went on three interviews and two were very disheartening joints, then landed a part-time job at a chocolate shop in downtown Bethlehem. But I wouldn’t start for a while, so I had three weeks to relax and see what 8 hours of sleep feels like. I have to report that a nights rest is awesome! I went out walking all over town for hours each day, made bread, read a bit, wrote in my journal, painted and started to repair my social life. I have to say, that unemployment was starting to suit me just fine. However it does get boring, especially when you see your funds dwindle.

So I finally started work at the Chocolate Lab, on Broad Street. My new boss, Arleen, is a really awesome person. She is the first boss of mine to have the unique disposition where she see’s her employees as helpers, and truly appreciates all the work you do for her. Just by showing up on time she is overjoyed. It’s a pleasure to work for her. I am mainly making candies, which is sooo much fun because it allows me to be a perfectionist. I am also now immune to the smell of chocolate, which helps you get threw the day ;).

I am really looking at this job as a way to get threw the holidays, and I also see it as a way to learn something that I think would make me valuable to future employers. However, after the holidays, and business dies down at the shop, I am going to have to move on. Where, I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to stay in the valley, or move, or even stay at the shop part time. Do I want to keep cooking for other people, or open my own joint? I don’t know if I want to continue cooking on the line, or find another avenue in this culinary world. There questions have been plaguing me, either by my own mind, or by other people. I have found that everyone has an opinion about my predicament, and all is wonderful advice, but I think that the answer needs to come from me. I don’t doubt that what ever I decide, I will be happy. I know that I am capable so I have no worries. For now, I am going to relax and enjoy the holiday season.
Until next time my friends,
Buone Appitito!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Celulite said...

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3:49 AM  
Anonymous Frank Torres said...

OKcupid matched us up as being somewhat compatible, whatever *that* means, but after reading your entry and blogs, I tend to agree. Following you from LiveJournal (great AbFab pic!) to BlogSpot, appears you dropped off around 2007 with this post. Are you still in the Lehigh Valley? Or have your culinary interests and life taken you elsewhere? Inquiring minds want to know!

6:15 PM  

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