Tuesday, January 27, 2009

George's Beginning

George’s Beginning

Restaurants fascinate me. Always have. I think it was called the Charcoal Chef way back when and we (my younger sister and myself) would go there on Friday nights with my Mom and Grammy. As a youngster, the little window in the swinging door without handles that leads back into the kitchen was like a magic portal to another world. What was it like back there? The bright white light and strange, loud sounds. Delicious food. I stepped through the portal in 1986 and haven’t returned to the real world since.

I don’t know about you but I have always wanted to own a restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t 5 years old pretending to flip plastic hamburgers on a Fisher- Price griddle, handing them out to “customers” in my imaginary Café. Things like Spider-Man, G.I. Joe and Star Wars were MUCH more interesting to me back then. If anything, I wanted to own a toy store.

At some point though, a person needs to decide what they want to be when they grow up. Time to put on the big boy pants. I was in 12th grade and still didn’t know. I liked cooking. I loved watching channel 12, PBS, back before the Food Channel. Julia Child and the Frugal Gourmet. Great Chefs of Wherever. What a way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Ahhh those were the days. I went to a college fair in the city and saw a booth for The Restaurant School. The rest is history.
Visions of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca and Zed Diamond (free coffee to anyone who knows where that reference comes from) filled my mind. The sharp dressed commander, master of his domain. Well what could be more exciting than that? I am in!

I discovered that I sweat too much and cook too well to relegate myself to the front of the house so the position of matre’d was out the door for me. The kitchen was my calling. The surly grunts who work the line were more to my liking. Captain Kirk was my hero. Producing art from the depths of a hot kitchen poses an indescribable challenge plate after plate and I wake up 5 days a week to do it. I still can’t think of anything else I would rather do.

Here is a quote I recently stumbled upon. It touches me.
“…there is nothing to do but learn to love this, even after the romance wears off. You must love this stress and learn how to burn with it, not to be burnt by it, otherwise it is a miserable servitude….”. -Paul Pope

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