09 January 2007

No Reservations

For those of you who have the cable, next Monday's episode of Tony Bourdain's "No Reservations" was shot in Portland and Seattle. Those of ya'll without the cable should start looking for it on YouTube Monday night.

I've been a big fan of this guy since Kitchen Confidential taught me that working in a restaurant was a noble profession. After reading it somewhere around week 6 of unemployment straight off the soybean truck, (actually it was a civic/corolla caravan, but that's another story) I decided to just go for it and showed up at a cattle call for a new restaurant opening in Old Town. I walked into the half-gutted kwiki mart where "Mala Noche" was filmed fifteen years earlier.
Walking up to the chef, shaking his hand, and telling him I really wanted to work for him landed me a job as head porter (dishwasher) and substitute line cook ("oh shit, Jeremy called in hungover, can you cook?")
The first two weeks were spent putting the restaurant together from the floor up, assembling the tables, painting everything dark purple, hanging the curtains. The rest of the time was learning just how the industry works, which I can only describe as a "total mindfuck," even after sifting through it for a few years now. So much debauchery, even for my tastes! After almost a year, I was certain that culinary school was not my next move and got a cushy full time job in a warehouse. Who knew?

What got me thinking about my past employment was today's "Safety Meeting" at work. I'm now a member of the "Safety Committee" by nomination of my boss who didn't want to do it anymore. Who knew "Safety Meetings" were real? Everywhere else I've worked that was code for "hey, let's go out back and smoke a bowl." You can imagine my surprise as I was ushered into the conference room and handed the minutes of the meeting. I didn't even know we had a conference room!


Justin said...

I got my first restaurant job when I was 15. I got out when I was 30. I often longed to accurately express to the uninitiated the often grim, and always absurd reality of life in the industry. Only by encouraging folks to read Kitchen Confidential and watch waiting can I hope to help them understand.

Funny though, I've still never seen a real safety meeting.

sillypants said...

He is one of my DH's favorite authors. He tapes his shows....I should ask him if he's seen the Portland one....