Wednesday, March 07, 2007


This has been added to yesterdays post concerning ways I have stayed the same/changed and deserves its own spot because it is the single most significant cahnge to occur since I got married and had kids.

Since leaving the Kitchen and no longer being employed as a Chef, with all the pressures and demands and adrenaline shooting through your nervous system all day long-
I am just a nicer guy!

I used to wake up at 1 a.m and wonder if I had ordered the Mayors Lobsters...
then again at 5a.m. and wonder if my Crackhead Potwasher was coming in...
you can do a day without the General Manager but you can't do a day without a Potwasher...
your job and livelihood sometimes seem to rest on his shoulders.
The luncheon for 500 today at Noon is AT NOON!
It can't be put off till tomorrow;its not at 12:10 or 12:20- its at NOON baby- and if you are not ahead of the game you have lost.
When they start shaking the tree, its the guy at the top that falls out.
I'm a nicer guy now.

I no longer hold my friends, family and whoever I may have just met to the grueling and exacting standards that must be set in the Kitchen.
I'm a nicer guy now.

I used to walk through my front door, never saying a word and walk straight out the back door into the backyard so I could kick the Dog and pull some weeds to work out of my system the fact that after 20 years I was still trying to get guys to make a proper dish of mashed potatos.
If i was sitting in the Den, my 3 year old son would walk through the living Room to get to the kitchen so he would not have to pass by me. Things have improved somewhat!
I'm a nicer guy now.

I had no idea just how stressed out I had been and what going Mach 3 with my hair on fire all day long 8 days a week was doing to me until I got out. You run on heat. You take the crazy guy in your head and you don't kill make him your friend and put him to work for you.
God, I do miss it so...
But I'm a nicer guy now.


Head Duck Wrangler said...

Amen! When you ask a 90 year old what they should have done more of.... they never say, "I should have spent more time at the office", "I should have worked harder on those reports" or "I should have gotten an extra job".
There was only one perfect individual. They nailed him to a cross.
Don't worry - be happy ... and nicer.
Quack, Quack!!

Dave said...

Amen! People wonder how come I'm a machine operator in a carbide plant instead of an engineer or manager. The answer is simple. When they announce my retirement party, people will be coming up to me asking me how old I am because I won't look a day over 50. Stress will wipe you out worse than anything else. It makes you less nice!


Mother Hen said...

Brawk! I'll send the Lab over to wash the pots! Used to be my favorite job when the dish machine went down and all hands were on deck!

Mother of Invention said...

Too bad you couldn't have got out of that a lot sooner, but it would be a hard thing to do. At least you realized in time to save yourself. Stress does a # on relationships for sure! I don't like myself as much when I'm stressed out and not being the person I usually am.
Good thing to realize, Steve. Life's hardest lesson perhaps.

Annelisa said...

I've heard that being a chef's pretty tough, and they're one of the hardest people to be around, because of the stress you talk about.

Yeah, I'll go with what the others are saying - better off to have realised and got out, before it finished you!

besides which... you're a nicer guy now! :-)

Barbara said...

I definitely know what you mean, but I haven't kicked the dog yet. You have to have some outlet for your frustration!

steve said...

Barb- you better not kick that dog (Toby, is that his name?)
Annelisa, I'm sure that there are many Chefs that handle it better than I did....
mother Hen- yes, i love to wash pots too- takes all your aggression and just runs it down the disposer- remember the way there would be 100 Queens lined up for the Stewards and the Stewards just knocked the shit out of 'em laughin' all the way!
dave and rod- Give 'em my best down at the Jones center; life must be sweet in NW Arkanasas

GEWELS said...

I am with you on this one. I sold my business a little over a year ago. No more gray hairs, No more stress with employees, customers, etc. No more worrying about deadlines, money, profits, etc.
Boy do I miss it. Thinking of starting up a new one.
And, yes, I am a bit more pleasant to be around- and I cry less.

steve said...

gewels- its taken me almost ten years to find a job I can do that I do not have to be consumed with and that will not lead me into total decrepitude- I don't think I would go back for all the World!

Anonymous said...

I am lucky in the sense I never except for the ship for a time when I was a Maitre'd had that sort of pressure. The pressure you get as a waiter is different.Because after it's over you get your money and go home and forget about it. Besides the money was always enough. I got a compliment the other day that if I died my hair black I wouldn't look a day over 30. Now that made my day. We are a long time dead. We have to remember what is really important.