In the beginning…
During the interview I said yes to every question John asked. Could I handle pressure, a fast pace and the heat of the kitchen? Yes! Could I work early mornings, long hours, all the time standing on my feet? Yes, of course! Was I comfortable taking direction and being part of a team, was I comfortable making decisions on my own and telling people what to do? Did I know how to make a Turkey Club? Yes, Yes, and Yes!
I left the greasy spoon and lite a smoke, got in my car and sped away. I wasn’t sure exactly what I had just agreed to, but I did know that I would be reporting the next day to work at 5 am at the Hopewell Diner…for 7 bucks an hour…
What I also knew, is that I didn’t really know how to cook. I mean, I could “cook”. I had been working at a Conference Center the past two years cooking breakfast and lunch buffet, but that was batch cooking, not line cooking. I wondered if I was ready to step on the line, read tickets and cook like a pro.
Do I even need to tell you what happened the next morning? I was half asleep when I arrived, and was more concerned with finding a cup of coffee than getting prepared for breakfast. Things started out OK, but as soon as the rush hit, I was (burnt) toast. The pleasant waitresses turned into fouled mouthed demons who spoke a language I could not understand! Tickets came in at a pace Carl Lewis would be proud of. My head was spinning, yolks were breaking, pancakes were burning, all the time with that language that I couldn’t grasp! “Two eggs over back w/ a side of jack, ASAP!”
John had to step in and take over, I was over and out. He wanted me to stay. Let me know I would be all right. But I knew otherwise, I was in over my head and needed to go. I lasted 4 hours in my first attempt at line cooking.
I was embarrassed and distressed. I told myself I would never be in that situation again. My ego was bent but not broken. It was back to the lab for some much-needed inner resolve…Baby steps were required. I needed my next break….
to be continued….