a boy named sous


    I got the gig!

    It’s no Holy Grail, but there was much rejoicing. Yay!

    In between the opening and closing sessions of our Avalanche Ranch VBS, I drove down to Plymouth to talk to the Chef and came back with a job as his sous chef. I’m pumped. I call back tomorrow to find out my schedule. It is a salaried, full time position: five days a week, dinners only, and Wednesdays and Thursdays off. Along with Chef, my coworkers are from Greece, Pakistan, Italy, France, and Brazil. My place on the line will be the fish station to start and then I will rotate through to learn all the stations so I can run the kitchen when the Chef takes his days off.

    Here are some of the things I will learn how to prepare:

    Prince Edward Island mussels steamed with pinot grigio and Rayes lemon pepper mustard, slivered shallots, flat leaf parsley, and giant garlic crostini

    Carpaccio duo of yellowfin tuna and Atlantic salmon with marinated artichoke hearts, saffron aioli, capers, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, and crostini

    Pan roasted Atlantic salmon with baby gnocchi, Portobello mushrooms, spinach, and sweet vermouth Dijon cream

    Jumbo shrimp and local sea scallops with snow peas, bell peppers, cilantro, and slivered scallions in a coconut curry broth, wasabi whipped potatoes

    Pan seared Atlantic halibut with sweet corn, green bean and roasted mushroom succotash, wilted Swiss chard, and lemon chive butter sauce

    Cilantro pesto encrusted yellowfin tuna with veggie sweet pepper, cucumber, and red onion salad, sticky rice, and citrus mirin dipping sauce

    And that’s just the fish station. I think this is really going to be a good thing. To top it off, I got home to find a message from one of the other restaurants where I left a resume asking me to call. Now I get to call and say I’m already employed. I’m thrilled and grateful.

    Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

    When I got back to Vacation Bible Camp (our kids don’t like to call it “school”), I was just in time to do my thing as song leader. I’ve got this goofy cowboy hat and I get up in front of the kids and we sing and dance together, if by dancing you mean thrash around in joyous abandon. One year, a kid went home and was practicing the song he had learned when his dad asked him what he was doing.

    “I’m dancing,” he said.
    “That’s not dancing,” his dad answered.
    “It’s how Milty does it,” the kid replied with confidence.

    This year’s theme, Avalanche Ranch: A Wild Ride Through God’s Word, chooses different stories to focus on different aspects of God’s nature. Today’s was “God is with us all the time” and the story was Joshua telling the Israelites to stack up the stones for an altar after they had crossed the river, my touchstone from a couple of nights ago. We whooped and hollered and sang:

    you better hold on tight
    ‘cause it’s a wild ride

    Then, of course, we danced – my way. I love that we are teaching our children that we belong to an untamed God who is full of as many surprises as promises. In one of my other favorite theological movies, Three Amigos, they jump on their horses after thinking they saved the town, and Steve Martin says, “We ride,” and they tear off across the desert. In the next scene they are in the middle of nowhere and Martin Short asks:

    “How far do you think we rode before we stopped and asked for directions?”
    “Oh, just three or four miles,” Martin replies.

    “Faith,” says Frederick Buechner, “is a journey without maps.” One day the Israelites are one side of the river and the next they have crossed over without getting their feet wet. One day I the function chef and the next I get fired by a crazy owner only to find get hired, not too many days later, by a good guy I don’t even know because I saw his restaurant across the parking lot from the Unemployment Office.

    As long as I’m referencing movies, we went to see Evan Almighty the other night. It’s a variation on the Noah story. At one point, God is talking to Evan’s wife who doesn’t understand why her husband is doing what he’s doing. God says, “When someone prays for courage, do I give them courage, or do I offer them the opportunity to be courageous?” For all my uncertainty and even insecurity, I’ve been given an opportunity to do what I most want to do in what appears to be a healthy restaurant environment. About all that’s left for me to do is walk in on my first day and say,

    “My name is Sous*. How do you do?”


    *with apologies to Johnny Cash.


    1. Oh, yeah, I LOVE the Johnny Cash reference!

      And congratulations! The sous chef rocks!

      So happy for you, Milton. Best of luck in what lies ahead.

    2. Hey Sous!! I am so pumped. After reading the first line, a huge smile grew on my face. Congrats! Love the way the recipes sound.

      Loved Evan Almighty too, for the scene you mentioned and Morgan Freeman’s unbridled belly laugh of joy.

    3. I’ll have the shrimp and sea scallops!

      I agree with your definition of dancing. I had the very same experience at our VBS. (yes, we still call it school, but that’s ok)

    4. Wonderful, Milton.

      I’m having our son read your posts. He is an aspiring cook. He was planning on culinary school but has had to change his plans to delay that. I’m encouraging him to get in contact with you.

    5. yeah – and btw, I love the Three Amigos and Kasey Chambers too. We tried to see her when we lived in Australia, already sold out. I have used the song you quoted in working with adult survivors of abuse, it is powerful.

    6. All the best. It’s heartening to know you give (in posts, words, experiences) and can receive also.

      May they appreciate all that you will bring to the table…


    Leave a Reply