Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Quiet and All Alone

I'm a cook. I'm not a businessman. I own a restaurant not to get rich but because it gives me an opportunity to cook as I see fit. It's the business aspect of owning a restaurant I dislike most. It's the day to day things I have to deal with and I wish there was someone else who could do them. It's when I'm standing behind my stove with a few orders hanging that I'm able to forget the business aspect and allow myself to be submerged in the pure act of cooking. The "Cherry Festival" is in town and for most of the restaurants in the area this means very little business. Yesterday after a dismal lunch I let everyone go home early, pulled the open flag down and closed down for a couple hours. During this down time I had a few things that needed prepped for the evening service and so I found myself in a quiet kitchen with myself, a batch of gnocchi to make and my thoughts. It's times like these I truly cherish. I was in no rush. Each step of the gnocchi making process I was engrossed. Making the pate a' choux. Picking the herbs from our herb garden and chopping them. I love the smell of fresh chopped herbs. Shaping each gnocchi into a quenelle and then poaching them. Wonderful, simply wonderful. A very restful and peaceful afternoon. When everyone came back to work and we re-opened for business I was still in a different place. The evening went by and I was able to remain in a quiet, meditative mood. I'm a cook. I love being a cook. I have reached a point in my career where I am able to reflect on the act of cooking and discover truth. It's during those times when I am alone in the kitchen with nothing to do but cook that I am truly alive.

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