Friday, December 19, 2008

The past six months, friends made and lessons learned...

Before reading ahead, I would like to qualify by stating that this particular blog is just a vent session and is not meant to disrespect anyone I consider friends. If you get offended then it looks like the blog is working cuz the truth hurts, lol.

These past 6 months of my career have been an interesting bump in the road, to say the least. I left my Executive Chef position at a corporate food service company to, let's say, "pursue my private chef business". Very shortly after that, I picked up a line cook job at a local city club to bring in some extra coin. To say that I learned a lot there would be an understatement.

Let's sum up what I mean by "learned a lot". I couldn't POSSIBLY list them all, so let's start with 5 for now:

  1. How much I love and appreciate a clean kitchen, the Latino community and hot interns.

  2. What it means to be under qualified for your position (no, I'm not talking about myself, lol).

  3. That it's very easy to get sucked into an angry persons negative way of thinking when you least expect it. (shit, you start to believe it's true!).

  4. That everyone is an expert on food but no one wants to be a Chef.

  5. Servers are either culinary grads that are too lazy or too stupid to work in the kitchen or...not.

I've seen some ugly and disgusting things working for this place. I mean, the health department would have a FIELD day if they had the chance to just snoop around the ice machine!!!

Ladles stored in uncovered containers, a regular site. (lets not forget the whipped cream stored in the piping bag too! YUM)

This slicer was cleaned 3 days before and not very well. 5 people used it since then. This is what it looked like before I had to clean it to use it.

This corner is what I like to call the dust bunny cage. It's right near the ice machine, 3 feet from the chefs office, nice, eh?

Without a doubt, I've done some great things and some not so great things in my life and career. I've worked along side some of the best in the industry and some of the worst. Each of the chapters in my life have bore great and valuable lessons that I've been able to take with me. My last employer is, certainly, not an exception.

Double standards? It would KILL me to watch someone count scallops to make sure that they were ACTUAL U-10s to assure himself that he wasn't getting screwed on price while, just a few feet away, another department head would throw away about 20 pounds of bread, muffins, scones and desserts twice a week because that person either wasn't getting the proper leadership or just didn't give a shit (I would have to lean towards the latter, I'm afraid).

Another example, the Executive Sous would be literally PUKING into the trash can in front of the Chef and still be allowed to work, around food! WTF is that all about!?

When cross contamination has too many syllables to worry anyone, it just gets to be scary to eat there. Smelly fish, old biscuits, rotten bok choy, etc., etc.

When you have over 900 pounds of potatoes, 20 cases of cream, 6 cases of eggs, 150 pounds of onions in house and you do like 50 covers a day, its time to look at yourself! Shit, when your fruit flies are as big as birds, take a look at your HOUSE!!! Jeesh man.

I dont know, I could go on and on but I wont bore you.

You know the old saying, if you hang around a barber shop long enough, chances are that you are going to get a hair cut. Well, same thing goes with working for a place with little to no standards. Whether it be cleanliness and sanitation, low self esteem, lack of focus and a system or anything that goes against what you've been trained to do, be or say in the food service industry. It IS possible, eventually, that if you allow yourself to be lead by someone or something that believes something that goes against what you know is wrong, then you will begin to believe that the wrong way is the correct way. Fucking scary. The moral to THAT epiphany is to stick with the winners!

I'm not going to sit here, typing in the dark, and act all miserable and hateful towards my former employer. We left on good terms and I met some AWESOME people. I think I met more good people in these past six months than I have in a really long time. Yes, I've met some dicks too, but we could write another blog just about them! And, I'm grateful for the extra income we REALLY needed (though, I was getting paid like a dishwasher, but I digress). I'm just blown away at the things I saw. For a place that is supposed to be one of the best private clubs in town, it sure has a nasty back stage man.

The following pictures are a to offset the ugliness I wrote above. Like I had said earlier, I met some great people and they deserve to be featured. Eh, I threw in a couple random pics too :)

Lunch Special created by the new sous chef. He hadn't been corrupted by them yet. I like the way this looks.

The best condiment created :)

My boy Mike, great dude.

My last few moments before I left were celebrated by a pie in the face and REALLY cold ice-coffee poured down the back of my chef jacket. I was a MESS!! lol. It was pretty funny and I was touched by the gesture. Made me feel loved.

Thanks for the chance to work there, it opened my eyes to some great stuff! And, not-so-great stuff. I'll miss a few of you.