Artist: Yukari Bromfield
Detail from the recipe cards
she made for me.
In my post, I asked if you guys could give me some feedback on how I'm thinking about all this. So first of all, I want to say thank you very much for all the different perspectives you offered. It was so incredibly helpful to me.
I still haven't decided what course of action I'm going to take, but right now I'm leaning toward seeing if the owners might be open to a proposal that will allow me get a little more kitchen duty (which Chef would be open to), and possibly negotiate some benefits like profit-sharing, etc.
I'm learning a lot from Chef and his style of teaching inspires me to be creative and develop my own approach. He's really taken me under his wings and lets me watch him in the kitchen. He takes time to explain things and even asks me what I would do in terms of different flavors and ways of preparing the food.
Well, the owners once told me he's never taken this kind of interest in a server who wanted to become a professional chef. Apparently there was one server before I started there who eventually went to culinary school, but they said Chef never took him under his wings.
Well, I think I finally figured out one aspect of why he's taken to me. And I have to give Matty credit for bringing up this point.
I remember a long while back that I mentioned to Chef that my dad had never been supportive of me going to culinary school. This was before my dad and I began reconnecting and reconciling with each other. My dad is now behind me all the way.
But when I told Chef about my dad's attitude, he seemed puzzled but didn't pry into my personal life. But I could tell he was curious to know more, and I felt comfortable telling him a little background.
Chef never did criticize my dad because he's way too classy to do that. And he's very standoffish and professional anyway. But I could tell by his non-verbal reaction that my dad's attitude really bothered him. But I didn't think too much more about it at the time.
So I was discussing all this with Matty last week and he wondered if there might be two things going on to explain why Chef has extended himself to me like he has.
One reason is that he liked that I asked if I could watch him in the kitchen, and if he would be okay if I asked questions. I guess that was pretty bold on my part, but maybe Chef liked the initiative I took.
The second reason is that maybe Chef was really bothered by my dad's attitude of not being supportive of my decision to become a chef. And Matty thinks maybe Chef wanted to "balance" things out by being supportive of my decision, so he kind of took me under his wings.
Well, I tested this second reason out recently by telling Chef my dad and I had done a lot of talking and he's now very supportive of me becoming a chef. Like I say, Chef is a man of few words, but when I told him this, he looked straight at me, smiled, and just said, "Good. I'm glad he came around. You're going to make him proud."
Wow! You should have seen the look on Chef's face. For just those few words it looked like he had stepped out of "Chef" role, and went into "Parent" role. And then he went back into his usual demeanor of Chef.
If you knew Chef, you would know how rare it is for him to relate in any way other than professional Chef. But when he said those words, "You're going to make him proud," I swear it came across with some sweet affection. The kind of affection a parent might say.
Maybe you can see why I'm leaning more toward staying were I am at least for now. Not grudgingly or out of any obligation, but because I feel like I can continue to learn a lot from him. And I feel confident he's genuinely interested in me advancing in this profession.
I'm still weighing the pros and cons of all this because I want to make sure I've thought it all the way through. But right now I'm feeling a lot more peaceful about this than I was a few weeks ago.