Passion – If you could quit your day job and your quality of life wouldn’t change, what would you do?
I did this. Twice in the past 5 years, in fact.
In 2008, I quit/got fired from my job as a computer tech and went to work at a bakery. I had never worked food service before, but its what I wanted to do. Working at the bakery fueled my desire to work in a hot kitchen. In August, I quit the bakery and went to work for a restaurant where there are two cooks. Now, I am the Sous Chef at a restaurant. That’s my title, anyway. I consider myself a cook. But it sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
I’ve never worked so hard for something and been given such rewards. Its backbreaking, disgusting work sometimes. When you think of working in a kitchen, you think of preparing food. Most people dont think about the fact that you have to SCRUB the kitchen every day. Deck brushing, cleaning grease traps and fryers, hood vents, garbage, drains, etc. It is one of the most disgusting jobs. Every 3 months, we come in on a day off, pull all of the stoves and grills and coolers out, away and apart and scrub those down too. At the end of my day, I’m tired. Bone weary. What do I do?
I come home and cook. Because I LOVE it. Nothing makes me calm and happy like cooking. True, nothing makes me angry, harrassed and annoyed like cooking, sometimes, but damn if it isn’t worth it. I am confident in my ability to improve a recipe. I am confident in my ability to honor the food I’m making by making it to the best of my ability. The times that I get angry or annoyed is when I’m having an off night and burned something or dropped a bowl. Its when I do the food an injustice by treating it with less respect.
I’ve been told that my presence in the kitchen makes our food taste better. Now, this is lofty praise, and I take it with a grain of salt, but damn it feels good to hear that. When people tell me they love seeing my smile as I make their dinner, it makes me warm inside. I am lucky to have found what I love and am good at.
One day, I hope to have my own cookbook. But that’s a while from now.
Just wait though. Just wait.