Band of brothers

I haven't put on a chef's uniform, tucked my knives into a blue cloth, and made a mise en place sheet in 6 days. It still seems surreal, that it's all over, but it is, at least until I decide what's next, but more about that on my next post. 

The year in review

For the past year, I've struggled to explain my working environment and it's not for a lack of trying. It's just that the kitchen world is a strange place, one where almost everything taboo in the 'normal world' is allowed (shouting, screaming smashing eggs on each other's work stations). I'm not entirely sure, I'll ever get to the point, where it all becomes normal to me, but each day it certainly became less shocking. 

The boys of the kitchen (technically there are a few ladies, but we aren't your typical ladies) cover all of the major stereotypes\: 
  • the naive/gullible one
  • the manwhore 
  • the stoner
  • the ladies man
  • the wannabe ladies man
  • the bully
  • the party animal
  • the good guy
  • the quiet guy who oddly becomes the guy you can't shut up
  • the greek 
  • the other greek
  • the pylon
  • the prankster
  • the hulk 
  • the surfer dude
  • the crazy one
  • the know it all
  • the lazy one
It may seem like a smorgasbord of personalities, that can't possible work together, but it does work. I love them and I hate them, but the fact is, after a year of working alongside these guys, they have become my dysfunctional kitchen family. The kind you would never choose, but somehow wear you down until you can't help but be charmed. 

ps. guys if you are reading this post, you all should know which one(s) you are and if not, I'm never telling.


Proof that nothing in the kitchen obeys normal decorum, is the fact that on your last day, or last month before you leave they boys have the right, nay, the obligation to 'get you'. I'll come back and explain what I mean by 'get you'. 

Now, having been employed there for about a year, I had seen what they have previously 'done' to other people and was quite anxious about experiencing it myself. Part of me was hopeful that they would do something inexplicably horrible, because it was sort of a perverse display of affection, that is only done to the beloved. On the other hand, I was basically terrified by the potential cocktail that the guys would create. Having known them for a year, I knew there was basically no limit to their creativity and access to excrement.

In the month leading up to my last day, the boys lived up to their reputation and did well to harass me each and every day. I've never had a younger brother, but the boys at work, made me feel like I had 20 younger brothers, each one with the ability to annoy me oh so well. 

On the 'day', I was given the option of taking it like a man or fighting back. I weighed the option carefully, on the one hand some of the guys are only capable of 3 push ups.....however, there are others who more closely resemble a bear, a friendly bear, but a bear none the less. I opted for the man option. 

There was a tap on my shoulder, by the kitchen prankster, "It's time".

I slipped off my shoes, emptied my pockets, and removed my glasses. Next thing, I knew I was hoisted by 3 of the guys and lead to my fate. 

There are no words that can describe it properly, but luckily there is a video. So here it is, I think it both explains the difference between boys and girls and how the kitchen is another world all its own.....

BB from Jane Tran on Vimeo.

Let's just say 4 showers later, I still needed to get a haircut before I felt clean again. Well done boys, you should be proud!

Thank You

In the kitchen any display of emotion/weakness would basically be mocked, so I didn't really express too much emotion on my last day, but as I am safely at arms length, I wanted to say thanks
  • for toughening me up, I still have a way to go, but I'll get there
  • for teaching me not to panic, when I'm in the weeds
  • for telling me the most offensive British words and jokes, I'm sure my family and friends appreciate my new found sense of humour
  • for making me intensely suspicious of anyone sneaking up on me
  • for showing me there are many ways to skin the cat
  • challenging me to think for myself