I arrive at work 15 minutes before I’m scheduled, or I’m late.
The L train struggles sometimes, so if its a weekend, I usually spend $35 on a Lyft.
I can take the M, but it takes an hour. This means less sleep.
Grab a paper toque on the way upstairs, and hope to find an XS chef jacket with the sleeve pockets still intact. I change in the locker room.
Clock in, and start running. Running mentally, sometimes physically.
I stand at my station and weigh 60 portions each of buttermilk, salt and white vinegar on a drug scale into 2oz portion cups.
My mind starts to wander.
I could be laying on the beach or at the pool with a book and a cold beer.
Sitting in a plastic Adirondack chair in the creek at the cabin.
Laying in bed, asleep.
Enjoying brunch with friends.
The timer goes off.
Rotate the bread in the oven. Don’t let the other trays overproof.
Don’t make any noise. No talking, only whispering.
My mind wanders again.
What if I could start cooking rooftop dinners at my place?
I think about a menu. This is my only outlet for creativity.
I want to make sourdough. I can start culturing my own butter.
I wonder if I’ll have the energy.
“FIVE MINUTES” - “OUI”
Scrub down the entire station.
Don’t be late for tasting. One of each dish for Chef. It has to be the most perfect.
Service starts. It should go by quickly now.
People get yelled at a lot. I haven’t yet. It's bound to happen.
Be fast, but perfect.
11-12 hours later I head upstairs to the locker room.
Throw away the paper toque. Jacket into the laundry bag.
Shoes back into my locker.
Headphones in, angry music playing loudly.
Light a cigarette.
Walk ten short blocks to Union Sq.
Sometimes the train is empty. Sometimes it's so crowded I can’t move.
How many more flights of stairs do I have to walk up today?
A beer and another cigarette on the roof. Decompress.
Shower. Brush my teeth.
Lay out my clothes for tomorrow.
Set my alarm.
Collapse into my pillow.
I hope tonight I’ll fall asleep easily.