Two months ago, I started in a new position as a pasty cook at an upscale hotel. While a mere two months may seem like an inconsequential period of time, it is said that God created the world in a jam-packed six days and Santa Claus visits all of those houses in one wild night. So, perhaps the meaning of time is relative. For example – the two hours I spent compiling my paperwork to go to culinary school was a very different two hours than the time I spent watching re-runs of Petticoat Junction.
Since my arrival at the new job, there has not been a single Petticoat Junction minute – The hotel was taken over by new ownership, all employees (including myself) re-interviewed and reapplied for their jobs, the Executive Chef quit, the Pasty Chef quit, I was re-offered the job I had just begun, I was pulled into a manager’s meeting, I now regularly attend manager’s meeting, and somehow, someone put in charge of the pastry department. Between breaths, I’m repainting the apartment.
It was only last week that a line cook came into the bake-shop and simply said, “Oh yeah, the pasty chef is quitting. Also, the other pastry cook called in sick.” I said, “Good morning to you too,” slowly got over the shock, and started to work. I was the understudy and the kitchen still had a show to preform. I guess I was going to play a supporting character for a while.
Time has become this unbridled and wild thing. Each nanosecond is packed with a new recipe, a new name to remember, a list of ingredients to order, a meeting to attend, a hotel guest to serve, a banquet to plate, and a wedding cake to design. Meanwhile, the entire kitchen – chef-less – is swimming in a stock-pot of chaos and uncertainty. From the sous chef to the dishwasher, everyone has a twinge of crazy in their eyes as we pass each other through the kitchen. We also know that we’re all in this together – even if the ship goes down.
Despite the fact that I’m considerinh bringing a cot to work and the sous chef has begun joking that I’m taking a half-day when I leave the premise after a solid 10 hours, the prospects are exciting. A new dessert menu is on the horizon and it appears that I may be designing it. Plus, every weekend is full with two or three wedding cakes that I get to add to my repertoire. For the first time, I really feel in charge of my own spoon.