Going from the front of the house to the back took adjusting. In the front, a series of wordplay, empathy, paired with a smile will typically defuse any confrontation. The kitchen is not like that. Unless you have a perfectly timed, “Joe Pesci” like response, forcing your chef to laugh, chances are you are going to hear some painful words. These words are sometimes followed by a display. Perhaps a loaf of bread being thrown against the wall, a timely visit to the walk-in where you hear new and original swear words, or maybe even a nice scorning in front of those servers watching on the other side of the pass. It gets real, and all for the sake of perfection.
One does not develop a sense of urgency, or a commitment to their guests, being issued a pass all the time. My mistakes are ingrained in my head forever, no doubt because I had teachers who cared enough to hurt my feelings. It is why I take pride in everything I serve a guest. Whether I’m at work, the house, or a get together, its important to me that I serve something I would serve my Chefs . That all came, from hearing some pretty awful shit.
On the flip side, it’s still fun. You’re learning to cook, eating well, bringing enjoyment to people, and encountering the most bizarre case scenarios and stories you’ve ever heard. All in a relative “safe-space” from HR. For instance, the other day, Herbert was jealous that I brought Gustavo a Big Red soda. He turned, put his hand to his mouth, and in a suggestive motion, inquired if we had been having oral sex before work, to which I replied that, “he couldn’t afford it”. After a giggle, I made Herbert a flaccid rocketship ladyfinger with strawberry rhubarb and white chocolate mousse.
And no one’s feelings got hurt