Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I’ve crossed back over to the dark side

Sorry for not posting for a while. I fell off the face of the earth for a while, but I managed to climb back up. Man, what a long strange trip it’s been over the last 3 months. Lots of things have happened since my last post. My wife received a job in December, working as a web designer for The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. This is her calling, and what were paying absurd amounts of college tuition payments for, so we decided this was a good move. We packed up the kids and the copious amounts of crap we have accumulated over the years and went for it.
I departed my job in Maryland at the Convention Center in January, and worked my ass off trying to secure employment out here in Columbus. Let me tell you, it’s rough out there. I started in January, getting names and addresses of every possible food service operation in the area……country clubs, convention centers, hotels, catering, you name it, I was trying to get in. I was keeping pretty positive in early January. Out of the first 30 letters and resumes I sent out, I received about 10-12 either phone calls or e-mails explaining that the certain location didn’t have anything…..but call this guy……or I heard the chef at so-and-so just walked out last weekend. That type of thing.
After tons and tons of follow-ups, emails, letters and cold calls, I still wasn’t getting anywhere. In fact there was a solid two month period that I didn’t so much as get an email, much less a call for an interview. I was starting to think I was black listed. Nobody was talking to me.
Meanwhile, back at the homestead, I was driving everybody crazy. If you know me on a personal level, you know how anxious I can get. I always have to be doing something. I start all sorts of wacky “MacGyver” projects around the house, using bits and pieces of whatever is available. And if by chance that I’m not cooking in a professional kitchen, you can’t keep me out of the one at home. I start experimenting, testing, researching, and attempting various formulas and recipes that should not be duplicated in the home kitchen, much to the chagrin of my family. For a little family get together at our house one night, we all decided to have breakfast for dinner. Simple right? Wrong. Everybody loves my scrambled eggs with Boursin cheese and smoked salmon, so rather than paying the $ 8.00 for a 4 oz piece of smoked salmon at the grocery store (come on, that’s 32.00 per pound…….outrageous!), I decide to buy the $ 4.00 per pound fresh side of salmon, then, cure and smoke it myself. We had about 12-15 family members coming over that night, but had food for 40. In my defense though, the salmon was delicious.
Anyway, I finally received a job offer from a new restaurant here in Dublin, Ohio. The name and location are being withheld at this point, because the current chef doesn’t know he’s leaving quite yet. I actually got the job from, believe it or not, Craigslist.com. You’ve done it again craigslist! Not only will you lead people to everything from a used guitar to a random sexual encounter, but you also have a kick-ass classified section. My sister in law e-mailed me a link to a job that was posted on there, and I was astounded at the amount of high quality management jobs that were posted. So, I replied to the post, along with numerous others, sent my resume in, and they actually called me. After three interviews and a solid tasting (for all of you that are not privy to the demanding nuances of the food service world, this is where you go into a kitchen and cook for the prospective employers….maybe more on this later), I got the job.
I’m back in the restaurant world, baby. Back to the hours….the intensity of service…the heat and sweat….the undistinguishable foot ailments…..the weekends……the stress. In the past 8 years or so, I’ve enjoyed some jobs with the most cushy schedule and hours that a chef could ever hope for. I’ve had a good run, but I’m also excited to be back in a restaurant kitchen. This environment is what made me fall in love with this profession in the first place. I have, and always will be a restaurant chef. There’s a certain camaraderie amongst the kitchen staff in a restaurant that can not be found anywhere else. It’s an atmosphere that I’ve been missing for too long. It will be a challenge, it will be an adjustment, it will be a struggle. I’m totally ready.

Observations and Randoms:
- If you do a stovetop smoke, inside your house, because your grill is still in Maryland, it takes approximately three days to get the smell totally out.
- Interviewing really sucks
- Moving really, really sucks
- Moving 500 miles sucks probably the worst of all- I’m not leaving my house ever again.
- Craigslist kicks ass. Monster and Career Builder does not.
- I hate selling myself. I sound like such a dick.
- Tampa in January is like spring everyday. If you ever go there, check out the Salvador Dali museum. Ask for Chuck.
- http://www.chefbrianmccafferty.shutterfly.com/: This is what got me the job. Check it out.


Meet Julia said...

I can't wait to only see you one day a week, for about 4 hours..haha. Congratulations, going back to where you've always belonged.

alisa@foodista.com said...

Congratulations Chef!Cant wait to hear more of what the kitchen scene is like out there. Keep the posts coming, we missed you!