It’s me again, Master Plan. Just wanted to catch you up since my last letter.
In the meantime I worked my usual 14-15 hour days. Working my ass off. Getting yelled at. Feeling utterly defeated. Going home and drinking. Waking up and do it all over again. Not a very good workout regimen, but that all changed when I got my first response from a restaurant in Spain. I sent my translated response and started coming to peace with the inevitability I was going to have to quit my job and I was going to have to man up and tell each of my chefs face-to-face.
I had quit every other job I’d ever had and each time I was nervous. I don’t know why, but I wanted my previous bosses to like me, or respect me, or I felt like I was letting them down. For some reason I didn’t have those feelings when I walked into my chef’s office after Saturday service. I asked if I could talk with him and he said ‘Sure.’ This is a man who I respected and admired, and who for all intents and purposes scared the shit out of me since the day I first started Garde Manger. I didn’t take a deep breath, I just said ‘Fuck it.’
‘Chef, I’m putting in my notice. I’m giving one-month.’
Didn’t pull any punches. Just tore that son-of-a-bitch Band-Aid right off. The truth had set me free. I started babbling like a schoolgirl talking about her first make-out session under the bleachers. I told him I wasn’t leaving because I didn’t like the job or because I was burnt out. I was leaving because I had a chance to think of myself for once and from here on out, I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity put in front of me. I told him how I proposed to my girlfriend and how she said ‘No,’ and how this was my time to make moves. To change my life for the better. The man, who for almost a year and a half yelled and degraded me, in an instant turned into a mentor and friend. It was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had although for the next month he was harder on me than ever. It makes me chuckle now, but at the time I thought to myself, where did the guy from the office go? (Note to self: Inside the kitchen you are a chef. Outside the kitchen you are a human being.)
I am a goal-oriented person and I set the goal to work at this particular restaurant before I even graduated culinary school, thinking my life would be that much better just by ‘hanging out’ around greatness. After seeing how everything in life can change real quick and taking everything into perspective, I realized I couldn’t be more wrong. I actually remember the moment driving home from work after a epically shitty night at work. I was listening to one of my favorite songs ‘Birmingham’ by Shovels and Rope, and the lead singer bellows ‘It aint what you got, it’s what you make.’ Things don’t just happen. Food doesn’t just appear. Buildings don’t just pop-up. Men, women, you, and I, we all need to act on our hopes and dreams.
My actions are taking me to Barcelona. What happens next is up to me.
Hope to you see you soon.