Living The Dream

Miguel always on the run

“Living the dream”….that’s what my partner in crime, Sous Chef Miguel, says to me almost everytime I ask him how his night is going. This is always accompanied by a wicked, almost sinister smile that lets me know that no matter how stressful it gets, he still loves his job. But why? Why do (we) kitchen people come back day after day for more stress, time pressure, a barrage of physical battery and repetitive tasks that would drive a sane person looney? I ask myself why a lot. There are blurry days of neck breaking pace when you have your walk in break down, your dishwasher is a no show, the Health Department walks in for a surprise two hour inspection, you burn yourself, slip on a cucumber peeling while carrying a full tray of finished desserts and then pull your back out lifting a 30#case of iceburg lettuce. And that is a mellow day. Mellow because service went well–the guests were happy. When lunch or dinner service goes horribly wrong–the Dream becomes a nightmare.

My plan here is to visit different kitchens across the country and find out–WHY? Why in the world do we put ourselves through this everyday? There is a little glory (very little) when you conquer a busy night, almost no glamour at all unless you count the Chef Wear and dirty aprons as a style statement, plus you are broke most of the time. Chef work is not really viewed as a Profession –but more as a trade. Or people see you as a creative person–akin to an artist. They say things like “wow, you’re a chef–how cool!” Not so much. Not cool when you’re working a string of doubles, your spouse is calling (over and over) asking when you’ll be home, your kid is bitter because you can’t make it to the Science Fair and you can’t even stop to take a pee or eat. I’m not complaining–maybe a little–I love my job–it’s everyone else in my life that hates it.

So, I am going to visit the Back of the House in as many restaurants as I can. I am going to explore the mystery and lore of kitchen life and report back here to you.


~ by abmccune on May 4, 2010.

3 Responses to “Living The Dream”

  1. Abby,
    This is awesome! I see a book in your future- seriously. People have no idea how hard it is to do your work and think the food magically appears while dumb ass front of house staff take the credit and more money (did I just say that?).

    You need to get a grant and an advance to do your tour and research. Let’s get on this!

    Love you!

    Matthew Jay

  2. Wow! This is going to be huge! I’m so excited. I love to read your work. I LOVE to read ABOUT your work as well. Thank you for this. And for the really hard laughs!

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