The Sweet and the Bitter

Some days are good days, others bad. The sweet and the bitter. Pardon me for stealing that phrase, I literally picked up Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler today and started reading it a few minutes ago. I’m already hooked.

Today was a sweetbitter day. (I think I want to use that phrase now) For me it was a pretty sweet day, with a taste of the bitter; for others, it was definitely bitter. I’m not sure it even had a sweet moment.  Life in a restaurant is far from dull, always leaves an interesting taste in my mouth, and a sense of wonder that I am working in a professional kitchen.

But today had an example of how marvelous our staff is, especially working with them. Thankfully music is almost always on while we are cooking. Today, D-man had a great Pandora channel on, I think it was the U2 one, and Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ came on. I happen to love the song (though I prefer Anna Kendrick’s version from Pitch Perfect best….) and Lucifer was talking with Richard, our new line chef, though we’ve worked with him since the beginning in different capacities.  Richard either couldn’t hear the song or didn’t know what it was.

Lucifer: It’s from the Breakfast Club.

Me: I love the song, but I’ve never liked the Breakfast Club.

Lucifer: (a phrase that is not polite and I won’t repeat)  I bet you were a 16 Candles girl.

I guess my face must have registered an ‘oh crap moment’ because Lucifer clapped his hands and said: “I’m right!”

Me: Yeah fine, yes I love 16 Candles.

Lucifer was not going to let that go so about ten minutes he goes to the chef, who is not really a soft kind of guy.

Lucifer: Hey Chef, can you believe K (me) hates the Breakfast Club?

Chef: I never really quite liked the Breakfast Club. I never quite got the point. [pauses] I was always more of a 16 Candles fan.

Oh my gosh! I shouted a thank you and we were all busting up laughing because if you saw the Chef, you would not think 16 Candles. Ever. He is super badass. I mean he has these tattoos that are just so badass man. He has a mouth on him that would make every one of my girlfriends turn so red. I was one of those girls till recently. I’ve learned to let it go. My mouth has actually gotten a lot less nice since working there.

But it’s sometimes the little things like this that make for a sweetbitter day. This definitely hit in the sweet department. Another exchange I found highly funny is that I looked up the French translation for ‘eff you’ last night. Va te faire foutre.  As a general rule of thumb, don’t sass someone with this if they know Spanish. Lucifer teasingly snarled at me to shut my mouth and I had best watch what I say. Damn him.  But it did make for a funny exchange.

Again, sweetbitter moments.  I wish most days were sweet for all of us. I wish the bitter didn’t crop up so much, but I love that I can joke with my marvelous coworkers. I love that we have this thing that is a pretty sweet working relationship. I love that I love all my boys (all the prep chefs, dishwashers, and line chefs) and that they are so seriously sweet with me. Richard, St. Michal, D-man, Lurch, Lucifer, and a couple others I haven’t come up with names for. I always tell Chef Wildflower to take care of our boys when I leave. She’s 17, nearly 18, but all the guys who are older than her and younger than me are our boys. We couldn’t do it without them. (and I might add we couldn’t do it without Miss Holly who is like the Mom of all of us)

Ah yes, this kitchen thing is an interesting life.

Kate

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