Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Egos is something the Wu-Tang crush

A bunch of the joys of watching food television are the similarities that it shares with professional wrestling.  The charismatic anti-hero that nobody likes but gets things done.  The grimacing chef that knows their shit but has a temper like lava.  Many professional cooks have worked for a bomb-dropping, short-fused, inconsiderate motherfucker with a golden touch for food.  After watching Chef Ramsay decimate some stupid shit I suspect many cooks go into the bathroom and practice their own boss-roll in the mirror, like practicing your Clint Squint after marathoning Sergio Leone films.

In real life, however, nobody likes a tyrant.  Nobody likes a baby either.  I worked for a big guy with a temper once.  What he lacked in technical proficiency he made up for in verbal abuse.  When he got stressed he'd push you off your station, call you a retard, and act big while he frantically stirred a reheated soup.  I had some authority in that kitchen, and when cooks would come so close to walking out of the back door in the middle of service, they would come to me for some piece of mind.  What I would tell them was to picture him naked in the early light of morning, his fat rolls jigging every which way while he frantically masturbated his tiny penis. After they stopped laughing they would come back to work, suddenly feeling sorry for the dinosaur that wrote their paycheque.

Its considered common-sense in a customer service job that no matter how stupid the customer is it is still your job to smile until your smoke break.  Somehow it is considered acceptable to exhibit every kind of immature, anti-social behavior in a kitchen. I'm not sure if its in emulation of what the "big chefs" do, but you see a surprising number of temper tantrums in the industry, especially by people that should know better. When a cook tosses a pan against the wall in a fit of rage because of some fuck up, it doesn't make them look cool. Nobody feels sympathizes with them, and nobody respects them more because of their static-release of testosterone.

Many of the best cooks I've ever seen, the most proficient chefs, the people I respect the most, can take way more shit than anyone else.  While they're still sailor-mouthed, white-linen samurais, the amount of patience they display is incredible.  Imagine, one of your lines is shitting the bed, your sautee guy is having a nervous breakdown, he's missing your calls, and you're being asked to sort out a three-chit server error, all the while chits still flood in like a broken levee. Do you break down? Do you start throwing shit?  No, you tell your sautee guy to get on what needs to go on; you figure out the server error and act accordingly, and you figure out what's going on with the back-line that's making them suck.  The only way out is through.  At the end of service you drink a couple of beers.

So when I see or hear about some idiot with a big ego throwing a pan and walking off line because they had "had enough"  that night, I just feel sorry for their disgraceful ass.  Its a hard world and unless you proceed with grace and precision, it will chew you up without thinking twice.    

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