Here are two lovely ladies singing a great tune. I just love how they casually just sit around and make great music!
I have been a chef for over 34 years now. That is a long time in a very demanding profession. Over the years, I have been asked many questions such as, “I can really cook do you think I am a chef? ” (No). “I have been told that I throw great dinner parties, do you think I should open a restaurant?” (No). “Would you like me to share my mother’s recipe to you for use in your restaurant?” (NOOO!!). “Do you cook at home?” (Of course I do, I have to eat also!).
It’s all good though. I know it is all about being part of the profession. I am sure other professions endure the same type of questions. I really feel for what doctors have to endure. But my least favorite question that I was asked repeatedly was, “What is your specialty?”
A fellow chef shared the following with me a few years ago and I was a little pissed that I didn’t write it, but it really nails what being a chef truly is. I was reminded of this letter today when I had one staff member on vacation and another chose to call in sick. So I really had to chef it today!
“I’m a chef” I say.
“Oh! What’s your specialty?” they always ask.
My “Specialty”…? I’m a chef, I said.
My specialty is maintaining peace among a staff of professionals, immigrants, part-timers, waiting on my real job-ers, burnouts, disgruntles and people genuinely motivated by service.
My specialty is knowing how to do everyone’s job so they respect me but also at the blink of an eye I could be pulling their function as they are pulling that crumpled suit out of the closet, for the job search has begun yet again.
My specialty is delivering high quality food in a timely manner within the constraints of archaic equipment, new fads, ancient techniques all while abiding by the unfair, unrealistic, ever-changing demands of the health department.
My specialty is receiving the same products every other chef across the world receives but somehow convincing you to come eat mine. Taking ingredients that are already expensive, putting them together & somehow trying to squeeze every possible nickel out of it.
My specialty is being impervious to burns. Using duct tape as a band-aid. Standing, running, pacing within the same 10 foot square for 16 hours at a time. Specializing in walking without a limp although my ankles feel broken, my knees pop with every step & my back is one gigantic (albeit muscular…very muscular) cramp.
My specialty is sleeping very little. Waking when a lot of people are going to bed. Never seeing the sunlight during the holidays. Working countless days in a row. Being the first in & the last to leave.
My specialty is actually having fun in such a high demanding, stressful job. Taking pride in a job well done. Seeing doubt in people’s eyes sometimes & somehow pulling it off.
I’m a Chef, I said.
That IS my specialty.
I could not have said it better…
Wait…What?? It’s the end of January already? I’m sorry, but from my perspective this month flew by. I guess I better let you know how my 2017 went, cycling wise of course.
It was actually a very big year for me. 2017 saw me ride in eight different states. Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota. Oh yea, and Ohio of course. There were some big rides and countless training rides that took me over 3300 miles on a bike for the year. That is a few pedal strokes.
I got to enjoy the great sights of mother nature. Armadillos and alligators in Florida. The many lakes and fields of Minnesota. The great Mississippi River from Minnesota through Iowa. The rolling hills and mountains of Pennsylvania. Beautiful Lake Michigan. And the great landscapes of Ohio. The rolling horse pens of Kentucky.
I got to meet many new friends that I now call family. I was able to ride for a great cause four different times as I was able to participate in four different Hope Rides for the American Cancer Society. I was able to enjoy the kindness of complete strangers whom I will probably never see again, but I will never forget.
I also had the great fortune to meet and ride for Miss Emily Gandee. I dedicated the riding season to Emily and was blessed to have “Flat” Emily with me through most of my journeys. Emily is a wonderful young lady and I am happy to report she is on her way to recovery. We had some great adventures over all of those miles and I was happy to have her as an inspiration. She also made many new friends and admirers along the way.
It was not all joy. There were days of wind and days of rain and there were days of wind and rain. There were really cold days and really hot days. There were days that I wish I was not riding, but I still had to keep going. I had my share of flat tires and breakdowns. I was dropped by my riding companions more times than I am willing to admit.
There were a few scary road moments. Riding in heavy traffic is never much fun. Getting blown over the road by passing cattle trucks also does not rank up there as a favorite activity. Getting caught in a wrong gear just as that little incline turns into a major climb will leave you breathless and have your legs screaming. Hitting potholes as you are traveling at 30 mph downhill also gets your attention. But just like the good memories, these are just part of the game that I so enjoy.
As I look back over the past year I can say that I am proud of my achievements for the year. I have been riding a bike as a hobby for over 15 years now and I would like to say that I have improved my abilities each and every year with 2017 not being an exception. I can’t imagine what my 2003 self would think of the 2017 version of me. Except, maybe, “Hey? We made it that far?? Very cool!”
I am slowly rebuilding the blog. As I mentioned earlier, I did save most of the stories I wrote to hard drive so over the next few weeks, I will add them to the site again. Today’s installment brings us “Pan Ohio 2009” This is the story of my first Pan Ohio and the formation of The Six Pack Team. Hard to believe this was almost ten years ago! And, it is a pretty good story. I think it captures my emotions of the time pretty well. I have also cycled a few more miles since then.
So look over at the sidebar and you will find the link to the story. I hope you enjoy.
And the funny thing is that one day last week, the blog stopped working. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I’m not sure I even care.
What I do care about is the fact that I spent the last three days trying to recover all of the stuff from the site. Alas, it was to no avail. So any favorite post or story that you liked is now in that post heaven that all good post go to. Okay, they really are just deleted. This is what happens when you don’t back up your work!
I am okay with this though. I haven’t been writing much so now that I must start from scratch, I hopefully will start writing more. The other side note is, I can repeat old ideas for posts because you or I will not be able to prove if I had made a post like that before.
YAY!! New content!
I did save my stories to hard drive. My story, “The Showing” is listed under pages on the side bar. I hope you like it again or for the first time.
Please feel free to leave comments on all posts. Please keep them civil.
Here we go again!!