My day at work was different than usual because I spent it in the function kitchen getting ready for a big wedding expo we have this weekend. The Inn hosts over one hundred weddings a year and they throw a couple of these bashes to let the wedding couples taste all the things they can choose for their dinners. The day was different mostly because I was by myself. The function hall is a different building than the restaurant. I like the work because I can get lost in the tasks at hand and the time passes quickly. I tuned the radio to NPR and started on my list: I made three different kinds of soups, mashed potatoes, and pan fried German potatoes (for the restaurant), pulled the stems out of 250 mushrooms, cut up five boxes of fingerling potatoes, roasted chicken to make chicken salad, and finished making the demi-glaze I started on Monday. There’s a calming effect to being so focused on the task at hand because I’m so captured by the moment. The repetition doesn’t get boring to me because the motion is useful and purposeful. I’m doing good work.
When I’m on the line in the restaurant, there is a sense of immediate gratification because I finish a dish and then put it up for the server to take to the waiting customer. I get to see fairly immediate results. Preparing for a function has a delayed payoff. Several days from now I will see my work begin to take its final form. For now, I am called to find satisfaction in the preparation. That I enjoy cutting up potatoes and pulling the stems out of mushrooms lets me know I’m doing what I was made to do.
I also love that I’m getting better at my job. Working in the function kitchen allows me to learn about another aspect of professional cooking, which will make me better all the way around. I’m grateful that I get to do what I love. I know that’s a gift.