Today is one of those days that my employers have decided to engage in the semi-annual event of letting me run a dinner shift. This happens at irregular intervals, usually when they are either bored, or stuck in a bad position schedule wise. I can’t decide whether I should find this irritating, insulting, or mildly amusing. After ten years of taking part of the same grind, you would think that they would have a little more confidence in me.
Let us just take a moment to review my qualifications:
At the age of eighteen I enrolled in vocational training for the culinary arts 1. For the larger part of my life I have been employed in the food service industry, starting once again in my teenage years as a busser2, moving up and through the ranks of floor staff. There were few attempts to break away from the restaurant life but mostly they were short-lived and ultimately just wound up with me getting frustrated and taking some menial job in food service to lay low for a while. At some point in my early twenties I began an illustrious series of jobs as a short order cook working a flat top grill and a bank of deep fryers, banging out cheese steaks and chicken wings for people so drunk they couldn’t even pronounce “chicken wings” if you put a gun to their head. I eventually graduated to the majors by spending a couple of years as a line cook at an Asian fusion joint; a line that I wound up being in charge of after two years of applying little more than common sense and a smidgen3 of organization to what I do. After getting bored with having topped out so quickly I finagled a job at a higher volume place, where it took little time for me to work my way up the line and today I am still employed as a linesman there.
The bulk of what I do everyday is operate a grill, and do the finishing work on the plates as they come off the line. I have been doing this job for the majority of my shifts the better part of a decade now. There are two people directly ahead of me on the schedule who do the bulk of saute work and are generally considered to be “in charge”4. They are very capable at their jobs and there are only a few areas in which I have a bit more expertise5. In the meantime I have been wasting away forgetting more about managing a kitchen than I have managed to learn during my current term of service.
Never the less today we conduct again the great experiment to see if we once again get the same results; well cooked food, reasonable ticket times, an organized staff, and satisfied customers, that we always do in these cases.
Wish me luck.
- Mostly due to the fact that it was the only way I was going to graduate high school, largely due to a lack of interest, otherwise. ↩
- Technically my first job tittle was “Nacho Boy” but that just doesn’t look good on a resume. ↩
- A smidgen is an extremely precise measurement used only by the most skilled culinarians.6 ↩
- I too am technically am in the ranks of supervisor but have at this point opted out of most of the day-to-day decisions because I have found that the other two are capable of contradicting each other’s directives without my assistance. ↩
- Such as showing up to work on time, and not freaking out on people. ↩
- Back off man, I’m a professional. ↩