I’m Back

January 5th, 2014

It’s been a long fucking year and a half.

It started when I was downgraded from “executive pastry chef” to “pastry chef for just that place over there” and then “too expensive to keep.”

That was around when I did my last entry.

What followed was a period of profound stupidity and maturation.

I tried to overcome the sting of losing what had previously been my dream job by attending a dessert tasting at a super posh restaurant. It didn’t help much but at least I got to meet cool people and taste nice things.

I set up a trail at a restaurant I thought I always wanted to work at. One of my main motivators for choosing the school I attended. It sucked and I left halfway through, determined to take a break to get my shit together.

So I tended bar. Which was fine for a while, then I gradually grew to hate it. I like staying up late, but not until after 4 am, being held captive by drunks. I did learn a lot about classic cocktails and alcohol in general, so there’s that.

I got two job offers, one of which was very similar to my previous position but with too few hours and too little pay, and another that paid better and seemed to promise lots of guidance and experience. I took the latter. Big mistake. While the former would have ultimately been boring and would have left me with duties at the bar, the job I did choose turned into a nightmare.

It was great at first. I was making cookies, learning how to make gelato, getting to help in a Michelin-starred kitchen. Then I was thrown into an impossible situation with a chef de cuisine who screamed and dismissed any and all pastry work. Her food was weird, her cooks were traumatized, and I was unhappy. I looked for a new job for a couple of months, with a few semi-promising prospects, but lots of dismissals regarding my “overqualification.”

Eventually I found something and got the fuck out. But too few hours coupled with having to raise funds to suddenly move, plus an overworked chef who had no time to work with me on the things I’d actually been hired for made me start seeking an exit almost immediately.

(None of this is good for my resume.)

I sent out resumes here and there, eventually getting an invitation to an open call, which I ended up ditching because those are stupid and I was tired or something. I don’t remember.

I got an email a few days later wondering why I hadn’t shown; they’d really wanted to meet me. I agreed to come to a one-on-one interview and was immediately offered the pastry chef position. Because the venue, area and cuisine were unique, I said yes. I felt like a total jerk for leaving my other job so soon, but I went through with it.

Cue two months of delays, being paid less than my weekly salary if we had nothing to do for the week, etc. This, too, devolved quickly. I eventually decided to wring as much experience out of the position as I could.

I could write a book just on the laughably absurd problems this place had. I tell people not to bother looking it up, it’ll be closed/a trashy club soon enough.

Ultimately I was told to put s’mores in a mason jar and that I should look to such culinary luminaries as Max fucking Brenner for inspiration. I was pressured to hire someone who would potentially say yes to all the moronic ideas I vetoed. There was a screaming match, there were apologies, there was an awkward day, there was harassment and abuse via incessant phone calls and text messages on my day off as I sat quietly enjoying a nice dinner out, visiting with a colleague.

I immediately shrugged, said aloud to no one in particular, “I quit,” and trekked out to the restaurant to pick up my things and hug everyone goodbye.

I relaxed for almost a week, catching up on Doctor Who via Netflix, and updated my resume. I casually sent it to a couple of places, knowing nothing about my next move besides I was not rushing into anything, not panicking, and all I wanted was a place where I could put down some fucking roots already and not fight with anyone.

I got a near-instant response from an owner and then the chef of a restaurant I’d never heard of in a neighborhood I never visited. By the end of the day I had an appointment to come in and “trail” accompanied by insinuations that they’d be hiring me on the spot.

To be continued.

2 Responses to “I’m Back”

  1. Y says:

    Sounds like a heck of a year (and a half) ! Here’s hoping for much much better things in 2014.

  2. Tina says:

    Hooray you’re back! Great post. Can’t wait to hear more. Good for you for getting out.

Leave a Reply