This I Believe

Lea - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Entered on October 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I believe:

When the tickets are pouring in, and you don’t know if you can push yourself any further, somewhere deep within an extra bout of adrenaline kicks on, and you find yourself moving without thought, just pure movement. In moments like this, you find yourself amazed and proud. Like a parent watching their child tackle a difficult task, you step back and see yourself flowing in the most profound way. Its movement like this that can not be replicated on command. It only comes when you are at the end, when you need it the most.

On the line, on a busy night, all you can hear is the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. The dishwasher grinding away, plates being slammed, knives chopping, your coworkers grunting, this sizzle of shallots hitting hot oil, the smell of meat grilling, the ticket machine going off. Occasionally a glass will drop, and you take a moment to glance in the direction of the offending noise, relieved for a short break. Sweat pouring off your face and down your back. In moments like this, I am proud to part of the cool kids club, the gang of the deranged who work hard just to please the masses who don’t even know your face. Diners don’t think about what sort of goon is cooking their food, they are kept in a perfect climate, a paradise that is separated from hell only by a swinging door.

Working in close proximity with other people, no matter their past transgressions, creates a relationship more intimate than any other. No matter if the meat head next to you is a convicted felon, or a religious family man, this person becomes your family. You trust them, and a loyal bond is formed that can’t be broken by anything that is thrown your way. Yes, you may fight and argue, but at the end of the night, your share a few drinks, a few laughs, and you know that this person has your back. If you need a ride, if you need a hand, if you need a shoulder, this is the person that you turn to.

This I believe:

I am a chef, and this is a life that I love, hate, and live. I chose this life for that one moment, when the first forkful enters the mouth, the first taste, and the sigh; when the patron’s eyes are closed, a small smile on their lips, and the love of food washes over them. That single moment of completeness is why I keep going.