It has been said that when you are at the highest expression of yourself, the line between your work and your life will disappear. Nice thought, in theory.
It was a gorgeous Sunday here in Brooklyn, and I was hoping to take the day to go out to my old apartment and tie up all the loose ends there, or at least spend the afternoon in the park with my dog. Instead, at 8:00 this morning I got the following text from work:
“Good morning chef, of course we have a problem. The grill fryer is leaking oil and catching on fire…”
Well, isn’t this why I moved in just down the street?
I didn’t even have time for coffee. I reluctantly got up, threw some sneakers on, fed Sadie and walked her around the block, then headed to the restaurant. I called our repair guy, who asked me send him a photo, pointing to where the leak was (where would we be without smart phones?). Turns out the welded seals on the tank around the burners had opened and couldn’t be repaired. He could have a new fryer to us by 9 AM Monday. For today we would just have to work out of one fryer instead of two.
I could have gone home right then. It didn’t seem like it should make a difference, but instinct told me to stick around, and I’m glad I did. Much of restaurant work is routine, so a snag like a broken piece of equipment could throw all my cooks off. And with Sunday Brunch being possibly our busiest service, I couldn’t leave. I’ve found that being a chef is much like being a coach. During the game you might just be calling plays from the sidelines, but it’s important that you’re there to rally and keep your players focused, especially if something unexpected happens.
We had a busy brunch, and by the end of it, everyone was pumped full of endorphins, and relieved that nothing else went wrong. The dinner crew was taking over, and my lead cook seemed to have everything under control, so I finally felt comfortable going home. Still light out and tons of people out and about. Just enough time to enjoy a stroll around my new neighborhood with Sadie.