My Journey From Dishwasher to Head Cook

in #food5 years ago

It's the year 2012, I'm a few months from graduating high school and have no job, no car & no idea what to do with my life. My brother gives me a ring, "Hey John, can you come in and work tonight?" "WTF" I replied, "I don't even have a job." "Well you do now, you're a dishwasher."

Like any other seventeen year old I stubbed out the blunt, listened to my brother, borrowed my moms car and headed to the restaurant. When I first got there the whole place was so foreign to me. Everyone was rushing around, it was hot & people were almost speaking a different language. "Hot!, behind you!, PAN PICK UP!" all of these phrases being screamed. I thought to myself, "What did I get myself into? I didn't want to join the circus!"

The first person I met was Benny. I remember walking behind the gate of the kitchen and he was smoking a cigarette. For some reason I thought, "Man that guys got it made! He's probably making like fifteen bucks a hour!" Yeah, I ended up being wrong about him having it made..but he's doing pretty well!

After changing into a work uniform I was brought to my palace, the sanitation zone, the scrub factory, uhh... maybe I shouldn't hype it up so much, the dish pit. This is where I would spend the next two months of my life. Everyday while my friends were out partying, I was scrubbing away in the dish pit next to some old big guy named Mike. This guy was a real nut job. He'd be in the back making primal animal noises and singing gothic punk rock. Eh, turns out he would become one of my best friends.

After two longs months of scrubbing pots and pans I would be given the chance to work the fry station. The sous chef told head chef Nate that there was no way I would excel on the line. "He just doesn't have what it takes!" Non the less, Chef gave me a chance. Looking back on it, I really blew it. Everyone told me I did a great job but I was angry the whole time. Not sure why I would get angry but I did. Once I was already pissed off, I would get burned by the oil and that would further increase my rage. This anger went on for much longer than I'd like to admit.

About a year from me first working the fry station I was at home hanging out with my older brother. He was all high on god knows what and told me I was annoying. "I'm annoying? You can hardly stand up!" He told me that I was angry all the time and people could feel it. He said there was a certain aura about me that just oozed rage. That statement hit me hard and always comes back into my head if I start getting mad about some dumb shit.
To my surprise my brothers high heart to heart really helped me out. I began excelling through learning new stations at the restaurant. First I moved to the oven/sandwich station, once I mastered that it was time to move to saute. Saute station is one that you really need to learn to cook. This one took me a bit to get down but I never gave up and started making some delicious sauces.

The last station that was left to learn was the grill station. This is obviously the hardest because you have to cook meat to certain temperatures (rare, med rare, med, med well, well). I never thought I would get this down. After a few months of occasionally working the grill I finally had it down. This is when Chef offered me a new position: Head Cook. I couldn't believe my ears, he actually trusted me to work alone? This meant I could run the line all by myself, shut down the kitchen, order produce, destroy the rebel alliance & all sorts of other duties! Okay maybe not destroy the rebel alliance...

I realized that if you work hard, have patience & show that you want to learn you can accomplish your goals, no matter how old you are!


rebel alliance...😂😂, what a great story.. and from one former fry station worker to another, congrats on moving up the chain! 👏

Miss you every day man.

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