In the kitchen, it can sometimes be a cutthroat, lightening pace that can light the fuse on many a short temper. Night shift didn’t prep, day shift didn’t clean, the animosity is always a looming devil. So and so got weeded (kitchen jargon for overwhelmed), and egos take over and we start to toot our horn about how we saved the day expecting a pat on the back from the chef. I’m gonna clue you in on something I’ve learned not from the culinary world but from the never ending hellstorm service called life.
More often than not, we are so consumed in our own struggles we walk in a kitchen and thrash someone for being a little slow or they seem distracted. Heck, I’m guilty of it. What we as culinarians fail to realize is that we’re a family and the kitchen is our home. The ship sails or sinks as a crew.
Everyone knows this business is not a lucrative one, and it’s also a very life consuming career. Financial woes, personal life, separation, and extreme fatigue are inherited with the turf. Yes, to a certain extent the mantra “this ain’t no place for the weary kind” applies. You have to push out the outside distractions and do the dance. There’s a but….
That dishwasher might be struggling because he just left a landscaping job to make ends meet, that cold kitchen cook might chuck a salad dish at the wall because his wife left him for a lettuce farmer. You just don’t know.
So, before you rage on, take a second and see what’s going on. Sometimes all it takes is someone to ask, “hey, you ok?” Just knowing someone gives a rats ass can turn their whole mojo around mid shift. Say a kind word, come in early and help them prep. I’m not saying the kitchen has to turn into a kum by ya session, but try a little empathy. You know what it’s like trying to focus on dicing and sauteing when the power is out? Kids don’t know you? Spouse is miserable?
Were a family, we should start acting like it.