I’ve been watching this new series on Netflix called, “Chef’s Table”.
Of course, as a cook, I am drawn to things that shed a little light on my world and why we are driven to do what we do.
For one, the series is beautifully produced.
The music is dreamy.
The food is just. Humph.
I sit in my chair, squirmy and restless.
In the back of my mind, I say “Can I do that here??!!”
Can I become great?
To be honest, I don’t think that’s the right question.
In all of these stories, there are extraordinary highs and gut-wrenching lows. From physical exhaustion and breakdowns to having your biggest client tell you that your food was terrible. There are the empty dining rooms, and being booked solid for a year.
The ebb and flow of being a chef is like this: Response. No response. Doubt. Certainty. And I think that it changes daily.
Each chef has this desire to create and change the world they live in.
I am so drawn to their worlds. It makes sense to me. Deep deep down I will always have a need to create and change.
And I have been so challenged this past week.
Frustrated with the industry. Letting my tired and restless soul get the best of me on numerous occasions.
It is so hard to translate your life’s passion to someone who doesn’t care like you do. It feels a little like being a kid and having the grown ups discourage you from being wild. I think we lose so much of our wildness. We lose our ability to say what we need to say and to communicate it well.
I’ve found myself as a leader. I think maybe because I try not to be an asshole. I try to not set up my people to fail. I try to be good and I try to do good things. It is hard keeping your patience and to not blow up on the occasional (or frequent) slip up.
And I am so hard on myself. And I am so stubborn, even more so in a kitchen.
I am learning what kind of chef I want to be. This has been a season of learning what kind of chef I don’t want to be. At the cost of losing sleep and burning a bridge or two, I am learning still.
I am not here to feel justified.
I’ve been a jerk too many times for that.
But I have a lot in common with these people and the fires that reside in their bellies and their kitchens.
Their love of feeding people and doing it well.
Their passion for life in all its complexity.
Truly, they are the saints that salt the earth.
Today I rest my legs and my back, getting ready for another week where I hope to make good decisions. I also hope that I have the courage to speak my mind when I feel something is right and to fight for and with the people I work for, and this way of life.
Because I’m not sure what cooking is without conviction and trials,
or the weight that I carry that comes with feeding people.
All I know is that there will be huge highs and lows, and the things I might sacrifice to get there.
I don’t know if I will ever arrive.
I don’t think it is about arriving. It is about the road and pit stops and randomly jumping into an ice cold river,
That is what makes this journey personal,
and I’m excited to see where and for how long the road takes me.