You must be crazy to want, nay to desire with the utmost zeal, to work in a kitchen. To be as creative as it requires one to be, to be as durable to punishment as the job needs, to handle the stress, the pain, the time, and the labor of a kitchen job; you simply must be a bit crazy…in the best possible way.
The stories most people remember are about the ones who are a little nuts. The man who got up every morning and ate his bran flakes, went to work and never said a word, and then retired and quietly drifted out of everyone’s life; nobody talks about him regardless of how great he was at his job. The ones who were a bit touched, now those you remember. The ones who sang ballads to themselves as fires raged around them, the ones who laughed uncontrollably as bains exploded and pans melted, the ones who shook their head when the steel of a knife bit through the end of a finger and wrapped it in a rag and went back to cutting, the ones who put every fiber of their being into every plate they put together, those are the ones we talk about.
And there is where I rank, in the category of those who are a bit mad, but wonderfully so.
This blog will be a tribute and a testament to the mad. Those with whom I have worked, those with whom I hope to one day work with, and those who will one day carry on this madness after me. It is a story, never ending, detailing the work of kitchen people. The terminology, the phrasing, the work, the art, the dance, the never ending desire to provide the best service any guest could ask for.
I sincerely hope you enjoy some of the madness, and I hope you’ll be entertained and enlightened by this blog as it goes along. Please join us, won’t you?
In the words of Lewis Carrol:
Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?”
Alice: “Yes, you have, but I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.”
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my co-blogger, Miss Tamara Kraft. Tamara and I have worked together for what would be considered a millennium in the restaurant industry. We met at Walker’s shortly after they had moved to the location at 2700 1st Avenue North and then, as industry people are wont to do, we crossed paths many times over the next decade.
Tamara is, and always has been, the pinnacle of a fine dining server. She knew that service is not about servitude, but about anticipating desire.
When a server gives you something you didn’t have to ask for, and maybe didn’t even know you needed at that moment, that’s service. And nobody held that innate ability more strongly than Tamara.
Service industry people accumulate stories, they accumulate friends and hangers-on, they accumulate knowledge and skill and an affinity for this job. The only thing they do not accumulate is wealth. This is work we do for love, not for money.
There are stories that all industry people collect over time. We have customer stories, incident stories, and food stories. This blog contains all of those things, and reports on them unashamedly. And there is no better person to help me relay those stories, or give opinions on the formation of new stories, than Tamara.
I know you will enjoy Tamara’s writings and musings. We are an inseparable team. And although she long ago put her wine key on the mantelpiece in the way retired industry servers do and hung her serving apron on a kitchen peg, she is no less a part of my life.
Together, we will take you on a culinary journey in the pages of this blog. Giving you stories from the past, telling you tales from the present, and occasionally predicting the future as it unfolds before us.
Join us and you’ll see the culinary world from a new stand point.
Welcome to the Local Kitchen and Bar Blog!