It’s been a while since I’ve written anything.
During my last post and this, a lot has happened y’all!
I moved (into quite possibly the coolest cottage in south Mississippi).
I got an award.
And I got nominated for another award.
In the midst of all of this, we’ve had three monstrous catering events and our little shop is getting busier by the week, it would seem at times. Certainly at times more hectic, at least.
Now, these are all great things. Growing pains and things, perhaps. Things I thought wouldn’t happen for at least another year. Certainly not now. I saw my name mentioned with a few other local chefs who basically run entire restaurant groups and thought to myself,
“Damn. All we have are two hot plates, a sandwich press and an oven that functions well about 70% of the time…”
I feel really proud about that. I feel proud for my crew, as I don’t believe they asked for any of the attention or what becoming busier imposes. Higher expectations. Different crowds. More pressure to perform consistently.
How do you ask that of people? How do I ask that of myself?
I think the answer is why.
Maybe why is the question, as well.
I’ve been reading this book on leadership. Not because it is something I’ve pursued, but somehow something that has always been given to me — and something that I feel proud to take. I walk around knowing that I’m a decently educated, tall, white male — which means I am probably given better opportunities – historically and well, presently.
I say all this because I always want to recognize that privilege before anything else.
Also, I work hard. And work hard to remain kind when I can. And fair. I will also eat last.
Why is eating last important? I have no idea. But I always find myself, even when I cook for people, the last person in line. Generally by request.
Simon Sinek has a book called, “Start With Why” — and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I eat this stuff up. He interviewed military generals and corporals and came away with a profound truth: Officers eat last.
People feel safe with good leadership. This is something I’m learning. Especially in kitchens where every one is giving it their best for not much reward — they are doing so because they know they are important, and will be cared for in some way. At least that’s the way it should be. Once that is compromised, things begin to fall apart.
It’s also important for people to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. That can be hard.
I’m less likely to give my money to someone who has no idea why they’re doing what they’re doing. But if you can show me why — I’m all yours. That in itself makes me feel safe.
In the same way you buy food from us because you know we give a shit about what things look and taste like, you are willing to come back again and again.
When I get days like this, where I am allowed to settle into myself, I feel a lot of things. Definitely being tired is one of them. I haven’t had a real day off in about a month and a half. Therefore, I get to catch up on writing. On purpose. On being better.
I will sit and listen.
Moan and stretch from the weeks toils.
I like being here. I’m still learning how to do this, and I have hopes that we are still working towards something better. That means hustling so my co-workers have jobs and that we continually work to make this city better.
I am happy to be eating last. And as it turns out, it’s made all the difference in the world.