I’m Still Me, But a Happier Me.

I’ve been back at The Wine Bar for just over a month.  I think it’s going quite well and I’m happier than ever.

As I re-entered a professional kitchen I was curious about how I’d handle the job now that I’ve got some answers to questions, a pretty clean liver, good sleep, and some antidepressants drifting through my brain. I also have a renewed intensity and focus on doing great work.  I am still me though.  I’m definitely calmer, more patient, and more willing to take time with service staff with questions, thoughts, and ideas.  When service kicks into full gear I’m still me.  Focused, direct, and demanding.  Not in a bad way, but in a “now is the time to work” kind if way.

I have noticed during my years in the kitchen that the FOH people who don’t like quality chefs and cooks very much are the ones that are either not very good at their jobs or they are not committed to doing a good job.  On the same token, it’s typical that the kitchen people who have no problem with poor performing FOH people are usually uncommitted and low quality cooks that have little interest in food.

I’m very focused on my work and the work of the kitchen staff during service.  I am abrupt and precise in my communication when conveying what needs to be done. I make no apology for who I am when it’s crunch time.  If you’re not up for crunch time then the restaurant business isn’t for you.  If I make you uncomfortable, then the restaurant business is not for you.

I have never condoned the use of personal insults towards staff.  I once worked for a guy who would call the all female wait staff some horrible names.  I told him the next time I heard it I was leaving.  This is the same guy that would leave between lunch and dinner service and walk down to Di Carlo’s Gentlemen’s Club and get his drink on.  He was no gentleman

If you would prefer to explain to customers why you’re out of 25% of your menu, why the chicken tastes like wood or why the salad dressing is only vinegar then it would be just fine to have a chef that has his or her focus on things besides preparing for service, doing precision work, and keeping their thoughts on the job.  Perhaps you’d even like to deliver brownie sundaes.

I have never gone to work to make friends, I have friends.  I have never gone to work to listen to music, I have a radio in the car.  I don’t go to work to eat dinner, I eat at home.  I don’t go to work to plan my after-hours activities at the front podium, I plan my social schedule on my off time.  I go to work because I love what I do, to make a living, and to fulfill my commitment to whoever is paying my salary.

While I still hold the same intensity during dinner service, I find that overall I’m in a much better mood at work,  I accept the things that are out of my control and I am noticing that my emotions recover from tense situations much faster than before.  When I have an issue with service I’m able to address it and move on from it rather than carrying it throughout the night.  I’m able to talk issues over in a professional and calm manner at the appropriate time .  Most people are responding to that well, and I’m happy not only for myself but for them since solid work relationship is healthy for everyone.

As I adjust to my new demeanor and get used to my new colleagues I am thankful for a new life as a chef.  I know my reputation can preceded me and I’m working hard to clear the past and make a new impact on many levels.

While I hunt for a new sous chef I can’t help think the future at The Wine Bar is full of possibilities.  I have some great candidates, one in particular would really help me elevate this kitchen.  Cross your fingers, this could be a very good thing.

I don’t like sneaky people. I do sometimes enjoy when sneaky people make the mistake if thinking they’re smart enough to dupe me.

My new menu is in full swing and I can’t help but be excited for the Spring me and with today’s warm weather I’ll be encouraged to write down some possibilities.  My weekend specials will start to reflect my ideas for future dishes as I put thoughts to paper then to the plate.  By the time the tulips are blooming I should have some wonderful things for you to eat.

If you feel everyone around you is preventing you from doing your job properly then perhaps you need to look at the common denominator.  You.

Chef answers phone, caller asks if he’d take a short survey, chef asks if it has anything to do with the juxtaposition of one color to another and the caller leaves the chef alone.

Government officials can use the money they get from the NRA to wipe the blood off their hands.

If you think you need an assault rifle then you’re not mentally fit enough to own an assault rifle.

Celery leaves are underrated and underused.

I had and interview set up with candidate for my sous chef’s position at 11:00 Monday morning.  At 11:15 I contact the candidate and ask why he’s not here.  “I had to give my friend a ride to Vermont.”  The same method you informed me that you were interested in the position is the same method you let me know something came up and you’d like to reschedule.

Supermarket cashiers: Please learn the difference between parsley and cilantro. Also, your employer has put a bag holder directly behind you for a reason, to place items in the bag as you scan.  Supervisors:  Let the cashiers know how to place items in that bag directly behind them as they scan.

Chef answers phone, caller asks for the owner or manager (my cell is my business # for the Yawning Duck). Chef tells them if they can give him their name I will buy whatever they’re selling.  Caller hangs up.

People generally do not order fish that you can’t buy at Price Chopper.

I didn’t proof read or edit, you’ll be fine.

Cooks: If you’re feeling down, unhappy, having trouble with anything at work, or just want to pick my brain on any subject I’d love to help.  PM me through Facebook, or email me. dominiccolose@gmail.com  I’ll make time for you.

Experienced chefs and other professionals:  I’m getting a mentorship program started.  If you think you can help out some of the younger cooks in our industry let me know. As I get this off the ground I’d like some input and help creating a network of professionals that can be part of this program.  This includes mental health professionals, lawyers, financial advisors, and anyone that can provide some direction to those who either don’t know where to go, have limited means, and simply need someone to talk to.

3 thoughts on “I’m Still Me, But a Happier Me.

  1. Pingback: What the Chef is Going On? – chefsday

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