For most chefs the first time in the kitchen is what ruins us forever. The intoxicating mix of sights, the smells, the shear intensity bottled up nicely in a tightly wound hounds tooth box forged in fire makes a mammoth imprint on the psyche.
It is the persistent presence of the fight or flee principle in automation.
Many people have the foresight to run. For some of us though, we are drawn to the tempest.
I can vividly recall my trip into a professional kitchen. My dad was working at a Hilton as a chef, and I was nothing over 7 years old.
This unique spirit I can only attribute to a kitchen. I can close my eyes and imagine that little boy caught in the line of fire; the memory a distant ghost ever present deep in my soul…The rubbery tinge of old floor mats mingled with the sticky sweet cola residuals. The waft of patrons meals barreling by in the hands of a server. Natural gas accented by spice, flame, and smoke- the low melancholy hum of kitchen hoods warbling in the distance. A fragrance of alcohol and sweat, mingling with the perfume of a passing captain. Dizzying movement and tension amplified by the rail filling up from the tickets buzzing through the ticket machine. The calls of an expo in frantic intensity. Resolution in the unresolvable grind.
This is the fine art of controlled chaos that calls the soul of every veteran cook.
We are refined through experience and tempered in the fire.