Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When The Kitchen Calls

Don't try this at home.

Sometimes I sit back right before a busy dinner service and think what the hell am I doing?  I am 38 not 28 and this is a young guys deal right?  One would think so considering I am almost as old as the Executive Chef who has been in the business for years.  So with all these questions racing through my head I am drawn back to the things that keep it fresh and exciting, because lets face it, that is the key to a long lasting relationship, right?

So here are some of the reasons I love working in a kitchen.


At The Summit we are lucky in the sense that with Chef Kagy at the helm we get to see and play with some the best ingredients in the world. We don't just cook and prepare these ingredients but we get to learn about them and how to properly handle them and most of all we get to make them sexy.  Yes, when you spend more time in front of pork belly than your wife, umm well the pork belly becomes sexy... it happens what can I say.


I love the language of the kitchen.  The yelling of temperatures of grilled meats to the almost symphonic echos of "heard" after Chef reads an open ticket out.  Also the constant banter between us cooks that consists of riding each other when someone burns themselves or the occasional word of encouragement if needed.   And I would be remiss if I didn't talk about all the cursing, oh the glorious cursing for me it is one of the spoils of the job.  I think a lot of folks would love to yell out the occasional curse word at work without being worried about getting written up.  In the kitchen my friend you will hear the most creative uses of curse words in the world.


Its what brings the kitchen to life, its what heats your face to blazing temperatures and makes you sweat two gallons every night during dinner service.  Fire adds the element of danger and urgentecy to the kitchen and the old saying holds true because if you thinks its too hot for you, then you may want to try front of the house.  Another reason I love fire is because you will burn  yourself and probably several times in one night.  For me its a rush that I can sustain a nasty burn and just laugh and continue with my night.  Then at the end of the night when us cooks get together we can exchange cuts and burns and show them off like tattoos.  For me its proof that I am doing something real and I am alive.


I debated on listing this as one my reasons I love the kitchen considering the recent butchery of my thumbs.  I would say presently it is a love/hate relationship between me and my knife bag.  I will say though it is certainly cool to walk into a kitchen and watch about eight cooks hacking away so vigorously with their knives getting ready for dinner service.  I don't think you are in a sufficient kitchen until you start hearing a knife slam down onto a cutting board.  That is a sound that I enjoy very much.

When you work in the kitchen you have to have thick skin and be able to be in a little of pain all the time.  Be able to memorize things instantly and always be moving forward and swimming against the current.  The back of the house is about respecting and trusting each other enough to knock out a dinner service like a tool bag frat boy with a big mouth at the bar.  Its not for everyone, but if you get it and you are able to put up with the craziness, it can be a rush and high that you can't  get enough of night in and night out.


Joyce @friendsdriftinn said...

This was one of the most fun posts you have written!

Peggy said...

What a great list! I can definitely relate to a lot of those!