My zen alarm clock gently informs me it’s 4:30 AM and time to rise.
I get up, check in with emotional and physical state. All good there today. Let’s do this.
Get dressed in the whites, check Twitter feed, food blogs, NY Times. Sharpen knives. Grab some nuts, dried fruit, and an apple.
And I’m out.
I grab a fresh cup(or two) of coffee from my love working early morning at the bakery. She texted at 4:45am saying “fresh pot is on!”
It’s 5:30 AM, and I’m on the road, friends. Hour commute to school. Oops, I just totally high-beamed that on coming car. While I’m in the car, I dictate this blog to Siri. I record some beatbox onto voice memo, run through the details of the day, sip coffee, get pumped.
Arrive on campus 6:28. Pull into the commuter parking lot. Any spaces? Yes. Word. Switch out of comfy shoes and into chef shoes, in the style of Mr. Rogers. Won’t you be my cheffy! I look up at the building and think, “Dang, how the heck did I end up here?!” And I count my blessings.
Roll up to the dining hall, and review the days prep list for class. Got a lot to do, but it’ll all work out. Why? Because I’m organized and my teammate is the man. Definitely no worries.
Give baby bro a pound, say what’s up to my peoples, grab a cup of ice water, and I’m on my way to class.
There’s usually a hush that blows through the kitchen right as we enter. It’s a fleeting yet palpable moment. Everyone is winding up in their heads, the outside world getting bleached. A list of priorities is solidified, knives are drawn from the knife roll…and bang! It’s off to the races! It’s mise en place time. If there’s no hustle now and you don’t get what you need, you ain’t gonna get it unless you’re lucky. And nobody wants to be at the mercy of luck. In the kitchen, luck can be your savior or your destroyer; there’s no way to know which one you’ll get so best not to take chances. Get ingredients and equipment to the station promptly. Get it secured, organized, and stashed away.
I clutch a duck, give thanks for its life, and break it down. My teammate and I finish the prep list early, get ahead for tomorrow, we make some tasty ass food, and we’re ready for service on time. Our chef smiles.
We eat the usual daily family feast, I text Natty, and relax for five minutes. Then it’s back into the kitchen.
Service goes smoothly.
Now we cleanup, chef gives a lecture, we take a quiz and a product id exam, and it’s time to go. Wow, it’s been 8 hours since I got to campus?
I head upstairs to meet with my guidance counselor to discuss how to be taken seriously as a chef and earn a decent salary when I graduate. He says build a website, and expand my blog. Will do!
Bye-bye for the day, Señor Campus. Time to hit the real world running!
Now it’s down to Poughkeepsie to the Oriental grocer to pick up some stuff for my dad’s birthday dinner tomorrow night.
What the hell is that?! I’m getting it!!
A beautiful drive on the Taconic. A beautiful sunset. Use your imagination.
I’m back in Hudson by 6 PM. Natanya’s waiting with a glass of wine.
Oh yeah, it’s Friday! In the flurry of the week, I didn’t realize. That means I can sleep one extra hour tomorrow before I get up for work. Sweet.
Cook some dinner, do some homework, clean out the fridge, ruin a broth with rotten dried lily flowers, plan out my weekend (another busy one), maybe do some yoga(probably not), finish up this blog post, publish it, pass out on couch with Natanya.
My life is what it is, my friend. There is no rockstar story here. Just another 36-year-old jewish white guy trying to find his way in Amurika.
I like being busy. It keeps me happy and healthy. Stealing more than a day or two per month for relaxation makes me depressed. These days I am using my time to the fullest, so that I can use my time to chill when I retire. I’m building a future. And it’s fun as hell.