Skip to main content

See also:

Food Happenstance

Someone asked me recently “what made you become a chef?” I stammered. I searched for a more profound answer. Void of something of some similar platitude as “I cook, therefore I am.” Food gives life. I want to be on fire. I want to live. I am not an artist. That’s something entirely different.How ever; Cooking gives me tangible form to emotion. Developing the plate gives me a place for human purpose. When I use my chef knife, my hot saute pan, or my hands, I push myself to create relevance with food, and for this region. I am constantly turning the plate or the recipe in my head, over thinking, restarting, kicking myself in the teeth, until I balance out the noise.
My father was a chef. He can carve flowers out of potatoes in seconds, organic, like he made them grow or gave them life. He is an artist. My father tried to teach me countless times but I was invariably, permanently, terrible at it. I try it again, now and then of course; it keeps me humble and drives me, ironically. I keep learning new techniques, trying new ingredients, in hopes that eventually I will get that hypothetical potato right. He often stated how he had higher aspirations for me, Engineering; possibly.I found textures and temperatures at different spectrums; very interesting when it concerned food, proteins and vegetables, salt, sugar dispersal and color variances at different levels of manipulation, development of layers and pauses created more of an impact, kind of like boxing. I remember the first day I understood all this. I felt like I was born again.
My father tried to keep me out of his kitchens, but it was that chaotic clamor and ticket growl during the dinner rush that banged into a balanced service that haunted me like a song I would hum in my head as a child. I thought it was the food and the aromas from downstairs when my father came back from being overseas that hooked me at first, or the fact that everyone congregated in the kitchen, a familial food happenstance, during good or bad days, just important.
There are long hours, benefits are a vacuum, sacrifice is often, working every holiday, loss of touch with loved ones, eating standing up at home at 3 a.m., and the loss of keys, cell phone, short term memory and wallet at the height of certain sleep deprivation mixed with adult beverage indulgences is inevitable. I could create more of a run-on but it would sound worse than it is. So, you really have to love this industry, be motivated and obsessed with food, passionate and resilient.
I love the heat of the pans, the grill flash, and the hustle, the ferocity of the moment, servers barking like they have the only tables in the universe, the rush where those ticket machines wail at you and that moment where the wave ends, your ears are ringing faintly, while you have put out the best food of your life.