Today – What to say about today. I’m leaving and am happier for it. Last night, was my final night at the restaurant I’ve been working at for the past eighteen months. Working for a hotel has its benefits – health insurance, vacation time, opportunities to work in different departments, opportunities to transfer from one property to another but sometimes corporate policies can overshadow and dictate the dynamics of a kitchen. It’s does little for the morale when cooks are poorly paid and work in an environment where the bottom line is a barrier to promotion ; even worse when the chef’s best answer when asked about moving up is to suggest transferring to another property (given with a blank look and a shrug of the shoulders).
No plan, no idea, no clue, no help
I questioned my decision to become a professional cook. Was this the best I could hope for? The seeds of doubt had been planted and they gnawed at my conscience even as I prepped my station for dinner service. What’s the point? I was suffocating. My job had become claustrophobic. I didn’t care anymore. And in despair I decided to leave. It took some time, to plan, redo my resume, search the internet. My career, my dreams, my hope was brought to a smoldering stand still.
And then, a call for an interview; then a second and a third and finally a menu tasting for the executive chef. I cooked my ass off to get the job and now my time in this place, is at an end. I’m free
My to do list
Sign off on my separation paperwork with Human Resources.Take part in line-up for the last time with my coworkers and pretend I’m sad to be leaving.Work sauté for the last time, break my station down for the last time, clean the coolers for the last time, clock out for the LAST TIME. Drop my name tag and I.D. off in the mail slot of the HR dept. Have a few drinks with my coworkers. Go home, pack for my trip to Jamaica. Try to get a few hours’ sleep.
There are no Flights to Egypt.
I’m slouched in a chair at the airport terminal and some part of me absently notices that the monitor has no flights listed for Egypt. The world is avidly watching the chaos and turmoil as Egypt struggles for democracy. I’m quietly boarding a plane to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Personal problems pale in comparison to the struggle of millions fighting for freedom in Egypt. It is a humbling thought. As individuals, we are miniscule in the grander scheme of things. And here I sit, a world away, in the relative safety of an airport as history unfolds in real time, televised blow by blow, one nation’s plight, broadcast around the world, on TV screens, computers and smart phones. I’m passionate about cooking, but the events unfolding, embodies passion so visceral, it burns. True passion, is not constrained by words, but manifests itself in our deeds and actions. It influences our approach to life; from cooking, to beliefs and values, even our very sense of purpose.
The German philosopher Immanuel Kant states that:
“Freedom is independence of the compulsory will of another, and in so far as it tends to exist with the freedom of all according to a universal law, it is the one sole original inborn right belonging to every man in virtue of his humanity.”
I hope, as the day dawns and the sun rises, so shall Egyptians become free and democratic citizens of the Middle East.
1. – to eat here, buy a plane ticket
2. Check in at the airline counter
3. Go through the security checkpoints. Remove all metal objects; take your shoes off, belt, sweater, and hat.
4. Ride the bullet train to concourse E
5. Take the escalator upstairs and turn left!!!