I have been trapped in a kitchen for about 18 years now, and I still have no idea how I got there, but I always know and am reminded daily as to why I stay. It’s the flames, the heat, the sharp knives, the amazement , the brotherhood, it is a fast paced, hard dog-gone life that I somehow knew I belonged to. It isn’t that it is easy, or anything they make it out to be on tv. Hell’s Kitchen is really a joke, most of the contestants proved them selves by character and not by their resume – hence the always laughable and sometimes bewildering choices that make it to the first round. I am however a die hard fan of Ramsey and will always watch the show…. still, I hold a lot of disdain for Rachel Ray ( sorry lady, if you are reading this, you are good person I am sure of it, I just don’t trust anyone who endorses dog food…. that is where I draw the line ).
If you read Bourdain’s infamous Kitchen Confidential , you hopefully have also read his sequel , medium raw. In it, he talks a lot about exactly what I just mentioned, selling out. In general , if you mention Hell’s Kitchen in a real kitchen, you will be laughed at. Somehow, Ramsey made it to everyones shit list…. yet, most of those would not know who Marco Pierre White is, Ramsey’s mentor. Fuck, if they thought of him as a sell out, they are full of bullocks . Ramsey is and was and will always be one of the coolest fucking people I have ever read about. Seriously, go read his book, listen to his life story and tell me he didn’t do everything right and deserves the fruit of his labor. Yeah yeah, the TV shows took off and it just worked out so perfectly, but he isn’t just a fake like Guy Fucktard or Rachel Ray…. he actually was trained in a classical way and was a fucking fantastic bag of talented bones!
Yet, I digress. My point is, I have my favorite chefs, and I do ignore Ramsey or Bourdain simply because they are filthy rich and are on TV year after year.
My story is nothing special. I started out in breakfast/lunch joints, dishwashing , because to me, being a dishwasher was better than pumping gas. I was fourteen, and a year later, I was living on my own, cooking part time and prepping the rest. At first, it was just a job, one with tips, so it was better. I made more, thats all I cared about. I quickly started to notice other places and meet new people, people that would tell me Culinary school was a waste and not to go. This spoke millions to me. One guy, who was awesome, gave me Kitchen Confidential, and just like so many others, decided to take it a bit more seriously.
I picked up a job, still breakfast/lunch, that was more busy than the last, and paid better. The owner was awesome, and taught me a lot, and inspired me and empowered me. Because of her and what she taught me, I have no doubt in my mind, if given the right opportunity and the numbers were good, could run and manage my own diner.
When my first was born, I started working two jobs, and that was when dinner shifts came to be in my existence. Where I work now, I love. I am the lead line cook, and run the grill and do very well for someone my age with the little experience that I do have. I am respected and loved, and it is the greatest experience so far and I am sure to enjoy it for years to come.
….. of course, it isn’t and has never been all fucking unicorns, rainbows, and lollipops…. this shit is real
……to be continued