End of summer

Months ago when I started on Outdoor Grill, Chef Joe told me this should be like cooking at the beach — easy food, happy outcomes. And sort of it has been, not so easy but doable 4 <> food, generally happy.

Like beach food, it is seasonal. This week, my friend Bilal is leaving to be sous chef at Spice … a place down the street that does food revenue equal to booze revenue, about $4,000 on a weeknight, more on the weekend. Our servers are going. Kisha is gone, the two French girls are going home, Eric is history. Mr. Brown, the manager for Sheaf and ODG, is going for surgery this coming week. Bilal is trying to lure Natalie to Spice, where hot-looking servers take in $1,500 a night in tips. No, really. In this little town.

Like The Fantasticks, it’s just about September.

Kitchen mantra

My friend Fishlock has a parody nailed to the wall of her P-N cubicle. It’s a parody of my favorite Zen poem, Desiderata, original written by Max Ehrmann.

Among other things, it talks about the value of work. As it happens, I’ve done a lot of different work. News, yeah, newspapers and TV, reporter, editor. And ice cream freezer stocker, iron pourer, re-bar wrapper, Santa Claus, real estate sales and appraisal, dishwasher, ditch digger, retail sales clerk, road construction. To me, work is valuable beyond the paycheck factor. Whatever your afterlife persuasion, work is the prime factor of this life.

Working in the kitchen now, I’ve built a mantra. It is:

All pans are hot, all knives are sharp. Clutter kills. Do not hurry, work fast. Work the tickets. No worries, Chef. Bring it on.

This is not a mantra of success or easy living. It’s a work thing, something I choose and am happy to do.