Saturday, December 29, 2012

This Is What It's Like

A repost from a year and a half ago, still spot on, especially after last night's monster service at Fat Rice:
Whew. It's amazing the energy it takes to run a restaurant. Even more amazing is the energy it takes to run a restaurant at the same time as putting out 3 highly creative underground dinners. Add to that an absolute lack of sleep and, well, let's just say we're all very lucky no one lost their mind last week. For the past ten days, the Xmarx crew put out Chinese noodles and dumplings of the highest order--based upon extensive culinary research deep in the heart of Chengdu--under the guise of Flour and Bones. The food was solidly amazing, honest and nurturing, and on top of it all, they put out 3 of their deliciously inventive underground dinners on 3 of those nights. I only worked 4 of Flour and Bones' ten days, rolling noodles, making dumplings, expediting the line and contributing wherever I could to those 3 dinners, and I am absolutely beat. I only worked 10am-1am most of those days, and sure, that's a 15 hour day, but the rest of the crew was at it pretty much non-stop, basically only napping here and there when time (and mental state--you'd be amazed at how difficult it is to sleep in this state) allowed it.

This is what happens in so many restaurants all over the world, and it is at once evidence of a certain level of insanity, and of great passion; unhealthy yet so creatively fulfilling it's no wonder that those who get it do it. From the dishwashers in the back of the house to the line cooks to the top guy, these people are driven if crazy, focused though chaotic and the good ones, well, they have a way of squeezing the most delicate, balanced flavor out of what appears to be sack of stones and fish guts. I'd just like to pay tribute to these people--the ones who don't have book deals, the ones who don't have tv shows, the ones who don't have shiny new restaurants greased by the oil of celebrity. So, as I raise a shot of Jameson and an Old Style tall boy, here's to the chefs, cooks and kitchen crews that have each others' backs no matter what--those who grind it out everyday.