Let me start off by saying I am a chef, one of those chefs that really takes his role in life of being a chef very serious. Like one of those chefs that only talks about food, is always looking for the next restaurant, that is always and I mean always taking pics of my food, and definitely a perfectionist on the food I prepare and prefer to literally do every single aspect of every dish. Now keep in mind, I’m a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America & my background is that of a Yacht Chef where I typically cooked for 12 guests and 6-8 crew members.
I learned to cook for this amount of people seamlessly day in and day out. (And working on yachts, there are not a lot of days off, the crew eats 7 days a week) I remember I would challenge myself and give 45 minutes to prepare a crew dinner of 8 twice a day one season in the Mediterranean. (And I didn’t come with just any meal, it was legit! I had every option available in Europe and it twas divine!!!!)
Always pushing the envelope to make myself better, challenging every chef I could find as our yacht would enter the harbor. I was very pompous at the time and would say, “Hey! Cheffy, let’s dual!!!!” And they would reply, “What are you taking about?” “I want to bring my crew lunch against your crew lunch and see who the winner is!” Always striving to get better, if they did something amazing, I would share thoughts and trade recipes for something they enjoyed of mine. I did this all over the seas of France, Italy & Spain.
Enjoying literally the best foods money could buy with no budget. I actually would spend a massive amount to get the best, why not right? How excessive you may ask? Once I made Thai Rice Soup breakfast for one of the richest men in Thailand. There were 6 guests in his group and the soup cost over 5 thousand euros. (That around $1,000 a person for rice soup!!!!) Why you may ask did it cost that much? Well I was off the coast of the Island of Ischia and Capri (mega rich clientele) and bought the biggest lobster they had and the freshest most obtrusive seafood you have ever seen!!!! The lobster was a mammoth almost the size of half my body! (And yes chefs, I agree that smaller is better in lobsters, but I was going for the wow factor!!!!)
I am on day 2 of a 30 of a “Take Back My Life Plan”
Today’s Lesson was: “Taking Time For Friendship”
Sure on the outside some people seem happy to the rest of the world yet we battle with internal demons.
For some, you will have no idea what I am taking about, but for some of you, you will understand exactly. Being a Chef & Estate Manager for so long, I think that I have literally sculpted my entire way of life out of kitchen & ultra high end service mentality. When I say this, I think I may lead my family the way an Executive Chef or Estate Manager runs his staff.
For some reason I have never realized this? As I think about it, I am glad I was lucky enough never to have to go to war, would I run my family the same way as that???? I can’t honestly answer that question, can you? I don’t only run my family life this way, but every aspect of my life now that I think about it. I am way way OCD on the placement of items, not because I care, but because I was trained to care. You have to understand I was a Yacht Chef for over a decade where every single itty bitty teeny tiny detail was not overlooked. Never would I imagine putting a new roll of toilet paper paper side up, I was trained to install toilet paper where the paper falls over the roll and is super easy to use. (It actually offends me if it is installed any other way, what is wrong with me??? Lol, but I hope at the end of this journey, it doesn’t bother me how the toilet paper is placed, I should be happy for toilet paper.
I could go on and on, but I am realizing to myself that it is time for change. Now you may ask, why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because if I tell my weakness and it helps just one person, then it was worth it. I am especially talking to Yacht Chefs and Chefs in general, we lead such a different life than most.
In my line of work it is not uncommon to work through three different shifts of people, work on 2-3 hours of sleep for 30-40 days in a row, run a crew of fellow cooks & staff (that are mostly crazy monkeys just like me) and expect absolute, nothing less, than blissful perfection!!! That’s it, is that too much to ask for every single second that you show up on my watch shift, perfection? I am used to running a symphony (my crew of crazy cooks) of thinking about not only every single aspect, but thinking also about what could possibly happen wrong?
As a yacht chef I don’t know if a guest that has requested Italian might not also want Japanese or Israeli, or Traditional Spanish or Americanized. But what does Americanized even mean to each client that steps aboard that is paying $175,000 a week, you must be ready for anything. If you don’t have an ingredient, then you must be ready to have it flown in at a moments notice. I am serious, once I had to hire a private jet to fly me 2x 12 packs of Dannon Yogurt Natural into Italian Waters. Yes, it was that important to the client.
That image hasn’t left my mind and when someone asks me for a yogurt, I take them very serious, too serious. I thank God that I have finally realized this. Because now I can actually do something about it.
I go to Life.Church on the Southside of Springfield and this past Sunday I felt my body gravitating there, even through the devil tried hard not to get me there. (I just found out the basement flooded that morning after being gone for two months)
This is the prayer I am going to pray every morning, every day for 30 days and maybe even longer:
God help me walk slowly enough to experience Jesus fully, and love people deeply.
Just by doing this it has helped so very much. I realize I am sprinting through life and trust me, if you do this, something could possibly slow you down and you might not like what it is. I am 42 and my friends my age are dying left and right from heart attacks………42!!!!! That is too damn young!!!!!!!
So I am going to try and do something about it, before life catches up. (Hopefully I am not too late) Which brings me to tonight, I handle cleanup of the mildew and lining that out this morning, and then go check on our commercial properties. On the way, I call my dear friend Larnelle and invite him to lunch at Missouri Mike’s BBQ & More (sorry, no pics, food was too good and I forgot, lol) and we catch up. I figured it was a long shot because it was after 2pm, guess what, I asked and he answered…….sure.
Sometimes I feel in life we want to call a friend to go eat lunch, but then we feel like it will be to hard, or they might say no, so we don’t ask at all, not today. Not only did we go eat lunch, then he asked if I wanted to go to a Video and Photo shoot at Vantage Downtown Springfield Missouri, duhhhhhh????? To follow with Avanzare Italian Dining by Chef Tony Garcia, come on!!!!! What a day in paradise!!!!!! I even ran into my great friend Hansel who I haven’t seen in forever cooking there. PS the huge meatballs are amazing!!!
What I am saying is I could have been depressed, freaked out about my mold issue and had a terrible day, but God had my day planned out the whole time.
If you are dealing with demons in your head, it is ok to admit it, it is ok to get help. I am going to Anger Therapy and absolutely loving it!!!! Not only do my friends and family deserve the best of me, but so do I, and you deserve the best of you to.
I love you, and I’m leaning to love myself again.
PS I plan to write every 1-3 days to let you know how it is going. As of now I am learning to take more time for those that matter to me.