Week of 1/7 — 1/13


Improving is exhausting. Cooking is easy and you’ll learn something every time you do it. But seriously improving and getting better every time takes deliberate practice. Tasting what you’re doing every five minutes is tiring. Then do it for four different projects simultaneously for 12 hours. For six days a week. For ten years.

Improving a dish is exhausting. Reading, researching technique. Then adding in flavor profiles, removing ingredients, adding others. It’s like revising an essay except creating a new revision means fucking re-writing all over again from scratch, every fucking time. And then you have others around you taste it, and after 27 revisions, you’re back at square one all over again. And then your sous chefs. Revise, edition 45. And then your chef. Revise, edition 52. And then menu. And then nobody orders it. So you start again.

Improving a restaurant is exhausting and you almost never have direct control of it. Opening where you’re just trying to find a staff who will work together. Nausea. Just trying to get the damn food through the pass. And then trying to create a positive culture, where people care about what they’re doing and the people around them. Yelling at all 25 staff members that, no, this shit goes here and this shit goes there. And then in Spanish. Making sure everybody gives a fuck. And holy shit don’t even get me started on those fucking servers. Continually inspiring everybody. Finding, attracting, and keeping the truly talented people. Through the slow months of winter. Every day, as it builds into weeks, months, and maybe, if you’re lucky, years. And then opening your second restaurant.

Improving yourself is exhausting. And is the most difficult of all. Driving change around you is easy; do it with enough passion and respect for those around you and you will eventually see it. But, though it does happen, you’ll only see change in yourself months after it has occurred, for better or worse. It does not require motivation, but fucking discipline. Do you feel uninspired and just need a beer after your shift, and that turns into, whoops, five beers, who cares if I get more at this point, and whoops, that’s the fourth time in six days? Or do you ignore your feelings and lack of motivation, will yourself home, and read — not flip through, I really do mean read — cookbooks, taking notes the entire way though? Christ, how about just doing the barest minimum — eating right (let’s start with just not eating those dollar 7/11 hot dogs), drinking enough water (lol, beer counts right?), getting enough sleep (is five hours good?) — so that you can do this past your late twenties.

It’s not fucking easy. I write this sitting on my bed which is covered in three-day-old-used-to-be-clean laundry. Empty beer bottles litter my room and only god knows how long I’ve needed to take the trash out. Knowing what’s right doesn’t always mean you do it.

Other stuff

  • it’s never just about the food
  • started a batch of miso, laughed a lot about how we wouldn’t know if it sucked for another six months, then realized what I studied and how I used to make fun of politicians whose “long-term time frames” were only 12 months
  • were and we’re are both words. Fuck off autocorrect
  • people that complain about “non-ethnic” people cooking “ethnic” food are fucking racist. You know that all your food everywhere is really being cooked by a bunch of Latino guys anyways, right? You not going to eat at that Italian joint because there’s a black dude cooking? Oh and you know all those guys behind your sushi bar are Chinese right? But you just see a bunch of chinks and that makes you feel better about the food? And then you write that shit in a Yelp review. And admit you didn’t even taste any of the food. Fuck you. Go fucking kick rocks.
  • I want to add pictures to this thing
  • Woah. Two stars for per se, called a dish bong water.
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