my last day here today.
my last day waking up at dark and getting home from the second place near dark.
don't get me wrong, it's exciting, but it will be good to be married to only one place soon. the polyamorous kitchen thing is not really my style.
what's been interesting as of late is how challenging kitchens can be, physically. both for my own body but also for how they are laid out-- how a small restaurant chooses to spend its money on what equipment and what equipment might be missing for lack of space and bank account.
for example, not all restaurants have walk-ins, or freezers, or 20 Quart stand mixers. not all restaurants clean their spaces even when what they started with was something brand new and something they paid to build-out themselves.
these challenges are what make us better cooks, professionally. for we rely on efficiency to make us faster and be able to produce plates with finesse and cost effective numbers and percentages.
the thing is that everything is tied together with invisible chewing gum. one detail here connects to another detail there. and the chef/owner who thinks otherwise; a chef owner who thinks they can just hire people to connect the dots has got another thing coming when they see that the house comes down if there's no place that the roof joins with its walls and thus foundation.
I've done a lot in Excel lately. kitchen organization and recipe spreadsheets. what I like about the 2nd place is that my order can and wants to be utilized. there's a brand new team in the kitchen and we're all excited about being a team and supporting the chef owner to make her place the best it can be. I haven't had this feeling in a long time. perhaps it's my insane loyalty thing coming back to bite me in the ass, but I'm going to ride it for as long as I can. because here is a kitchen, a restaurant, run by a veteran, just like me, with a long, thorough, extensive resume; a person with values and the ability to take heed of what's really going on around her. I like it.
I like when I get to be a part of making something stronger, more efficient & organized. but this can only sustain itself if the owner and chef are on board. if the team turns its loyalties on a dime (as I saw was the case with my last job) or sells you down the river for a nickel, then the restaurant stagnates, or worse, dies.
yes, all restaurants, all people can re-invent themselves (we are in California remember), and start their day over at any point in 24 hours, but where is the heart, where is the soul and the intention of a house? every kitchen needs a leader, every restaurant needs a team. because not every house is a home, many are temporary lily pads, designed only for leaping off and to for a moment. or they're performative experiments.
I'm looking forward to waking up without an alarm clock tomorrow and not taking a shower while sleeping. the work is hard, yes, but soon it will be a little more rewarding. I seem to need to learn over and over that standing alone in a corner does not utilize all who I am as a cook. I'd rather be a cook among cooks, all working towards a goal with our integrity intact.