Jaded, Raw, & Stop Ranting, Brah!
Updated: Jun 23, 2021
I don't really want to talk recipes here but hey--it could happen. I've certainly written plenty of them. But I also don’t want to simply rant and rage against an industry and profession the public perception of which is already highly convoluted. It may or may not come across as obvious, that I am a bit jaded and raw thanks to so many hours over so many days in so many kitchens; but that's not exactly unique to my situation and I’ve also gotten a lot of positive out of my career. Indeed--the time I spent in all of them, the people with, for, and against whom I worked, over the years, the different skill-sets and techniques and good and especially the bad services;--that’s what informs me as to who I am today. Maybe I do think there are too many restaurants out there, but I’m no expert on that, I only have my own experience and observation.
...Entertain me for a moment and think if you had a doorstop. The kind like an 30-60-90 triangle, made of rubber. Usually they’re three to five inches long, but imagine this one in particular is quite a bit longer (but not wider) and if you pick it up and bend it around you can actually create a sort of circle with it. Except, of course, that one end of that circle is quite a bit thicker than the other end, yes? Due to the nature of the shape of the object.
I view history as being more of a spring-spiral than anything that ever truly comes "full circle". That may not be the most uncommon thing to say, but it is in fact impossible for anything to ever come full circle, whether we're talking government and politics, or individual life paths: Whatever the subject, by the time the supposed circle has completed, said subject is quite different by the end than he, she, or it might have been at the beginning--if only for the very fact of having gone through the entirety of the circle itself, the journey of which provided lessons and learning opportunities along with relative successes and definitive failures: The fat end of the oversized doorstop.
The experiential nature of the journey itself, from the fraction of a moment that it was embarked upon, to the fraction of a moment before the end, is the very cause for "becoming" in the subject(s) general nature, make-up, and perspective: We never arrive back at the beginning, so much as we may occasionally return to where we began. No one ever changes, so much as they become whomever they were always meant to be: I am who I am, because of who I was.
And who was I? Who am I now?
I've attempted keeping journals in the past but it never became an habituated thing, where I wrote every night before bed, or first thing after taking a morning dump. More often than not, I find myself at a point and position wherein the given life situation is actually quite conducive to long-range self-reflection and -analysis; which I process best by writing everything down, and which thus leaves me with something we might call a memoir. The first time it happened, was about ten years ago when I found myself in jail for thirty days thanks to a DUI; I called it, Makings of Breaking. The second time was five or six years ago, when I found myself sleeping on an air mattress in my mother's townhome and really no one but myself to blame; that one is entitled, Bottles and Cans.
As for this third time--this current present that I share with my wife, in which we have the time, dedication, and motivation to give The Dream a shot and hopefully get away from the restaurant industry, pursue our true passions and be okay with being okay;--as for this third time, I tried telling myself that I didn't want to write about myself: I told myself, This time write something meaningful. Do something with it. Something with purpose. Create something like a brand, or something.
Thus have I been able to recently introduce you to your new favorite "Cynical Chef". Apparently there are a lot of them out there, and a simple Google search will reveal that I'm neither the first to call myself as much, nor the most well-known, nor tweeted, nor followed (yet). But I do own the website, which I think provides just enough of a level of authority and ownership that I can be very much okay with the fact that I'm not the only one: I've got the brand, as it were.
...As for something quote-unquote meaningful, absolutely nothing can be more meaningful to the individual than his or her past experience; than the fact that we are who we are, because of who we were. I have journeyed, and I've experienced, and I have become. The things I care about (just as much as the things I don't care about), and the reason(s) I care about them, are inextricably linked to the becoming. So, in a way, I have to write about myself. I'm going to have to tell you who I was, in order to explain who I am.
I know I'm not a unicorn; I'm just me.