Sorry for the hiatus foodies, I know all 4 of you who actually read my blog have missed my ramblings. I have been a busy, busy bee. Speaking of Busy Bee, all those people who were whining about RIP tater tots, give me a break. That place sucked anyway. Back on subject, so yeah I have been really busy. Moving right before Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Restaurant Week, Triangle Wine Experience, plus Valentine’s coming up, etc etc. Never a dull moment for The Well Red Chef. So I had a blog post planned about how everyone has a gulity pleasure chain restaurant, mine happens to be Firebirds, but I just start typing and go off in a totally different direction. I’ll save the chain post for another day. So after a few years of solely cooking, albeit at an amazing restaurant, I’m back to a management/sous chef/leadership position. The days of showing up and clocking in, prepping followed by cooking all night, breaking down my station, cleaning and clocking out, are long gone. As a chef, your job is to evolve and grow. Learn from your mistakes and absorb as much information from those around you, no matter if it’s your boss, the GM, or even the dishwasher. You never know everything. Hell, I learn new shit all the time. I’m not nearly the same chef I was when I got my first sous chef job. I was probably 27ish and had been a line cook at this place for a year or so when the job presented itself to me (ie one of the sous chefs was fired). I thought I was ready. But I let my cockiness and attitude get in the way. Live and learn right? People used to call when I would throw shit on the floor “having a Zantrum” or when I would be in a bad mood, say I was “going to the darkside.” Flash forward to now, it’s the Zen of Zan. I have a calming influence on the kitchen. A shock for some of you to hear I know. The difference? Who knows. Maturity? Change of scenery? Having added responsibilities? Maybe a little bit of all three. Plus your attitude really does set the tone for a kitchen. If you’re in a bad mood, the kitchen really does pick up on it. I try to keep things light. We should have fun and joke in the kitchen, but still realize we all have a job to do. Work hard, play hard. Yeah, occasionally I miss the days of no responsibilities, of just cooking and going home, but I think everyone does in their career or job at some point. But I didn’t go to culinary school to be a line cook forever. I wanted to be a leader in the kitchen. No overtime for me. There is a sense of satifaction seeing all your hard work come to fruition and have a smooth week of service, from the ordering, dealing with vendors and line cooks, making the prep lists, and getting through the weeds of a crazy Saturday night. It’s all worth it when you can finally sit down and relax at the bar around midnight with the staff, reminisce and yet try to forget about the week, and cheers eachother with celebratory tequilas. Then stop at a bar or two on the way home, try and have a relaxing Sunday Funday (I know, seems contradictory) then get up and do it all over again on Monday. Rinse and repeat. Mardi Gras in two weeks. Say a prayer for me. Cheers foodies!