12.30.2010

2010, you were a motherfucker.

2010, you were a motherfucker.  Without a doubt, you have been the most difficult 12 months of my life.  If we were cellmates, you would've had me in lipstick.  I was your bitch.  2010, you ambushed me in the dark, shoved my face up against the mirror, and forced me to look at myself for who and what I am.  I fucking hate you 2010.  And I am forever indebted to you for everything that you gave me.

2010, you revealed my weaknesses by slapping me in the face.  Very public failures that led to sleepless nights that led to wildly aggressive, mildly productive days that led to more sleepless nights that somehow led me to a logical idea of how to proceed in the most efficient way.  You took my dangerous overconfidence and stripped it down to it's core; an inflated ego resting on a wobbly scaffolding made up of too many compliments, too few challenges, and the idea that I could do anything, at any time.  2010, at a certain point you were beating me down in such a brutal way that you made me feel deeply connected to the world around me.  Turmoil, frailty, unrest, rage.  You forced me to find a way to escape myself if only through running until my legs cramped and my lungs ached, and I was far, far away, with no choice but to walk back home alone, insecurities and fears taunting me the whole way.

2010, you made me smarter, by showing me how stupid I am.  It's been a hell of thing, being out there alone, and trying to figure things out...especially after I thought I had things all figured out.  I made my decisions based on a frail mix of past experiences, instinct, and common sense.  And this would work fine for me until I realized I had been being completely inefficient; burning up money, hours, and my teetering sanity.  Then, one moment at a time the pieces would start to come together, and I would quietly curse myself and let in a smile, if only for a moment.  And to think now that I have it all figured out would be ridiculous.  I'm sure that in six months ill be feeling many of these same frustrations with my past self.  For as smart as I like to think I am, I sure am a fucking idiot sometimes.

2010, you forced me to be better.  If for only one reason.  For the first time in my life succeeding had nothing to do with trying to advance my career, or ego, or money.  Cooking wasn't about being the best, or the guest, or self-fullfilment.  2010, you gave me the most profound/terrifying experience of my life when you gave me my son, and you showed me a whole new way to approach my work.  There is no motivation in the world like working for the survival of another person, and as a cook, to experience this...it's illuminating.  Every goal, every idea, every plate, every task, they all end up relating back to who it is that you're working for.  Suddenly the way people react to your craft becomes so much more..personal.  To impact my work this year was to impact my son, and even if it made me unreasonable at times, it absolutely made me cook better, and try harder.

2010, through you I accomplished so much.  Achievement.  Hurt.  Humiliation.  Elation.  The making of new friendships.  The transformation of old friends into enemies.  The abandonment of the familiar, the safe, for the great unknown.  You gave me a son.  You gave me the feeling that everything and nothing was impossible.  2010, you scared the fuck out of me, and never let me act like a little bitch about it.  I hate you 2010.  And I thank you for every single minute.


whats been going on the past 9 months:  SF, father & son, colton, colton, vic, colton, work, sold out, mer mer, last days at nopa, colton, to-do lists




21 comments:

adriene crimson said...

At least you've got a realistic, grounded, positive perspective. AND, it's all uphill from here?

Christine Kessler said...

Followed a link to your post and it's kinda creepy. How is it that 2010 managed to steamroll SO MANY PEOPLE? Other than the fact that I'm not a man, a chef, or a father, this could be my story. Except I think you survived more intact than I. That's something, right?

On the 25th, I sent jolly texts reading "FUCK 2010". So, yeah, I feel ya.

torque said...

I'm glad I finally got to have a bowl of hapa ramen, then, in my last chance of 2010. It was *delicious*.

Congrats on starting something from scratch and making it work.

Matt said...

your son looks so happy amidst the gourds.awesome pic. amazing post.

Megan Gordon said...

Your little guy is quite a looker. As a big fan of your food, here's to an even better 2011. Congrats. Happy New Year.

Michelle Myhre, ERYT500 said...

You rock, Richie.

The Irish Hitman said...

Richie: It seems our 2010s were probably related. Your blog and podcast have helped me in discovering what my life is supposed to hold and how I'm supposed to go about it. One can read books and get an idea of what life in the kitchen is supposed to be like, but that is nowhere near reading someone's personal experience of day-to-day life in one. And then when I started working in a *real* kitchen, I realized how far I have to go. I've gone from a hopeless college student depending on his parents to a prep-cook at a shitty steak place and getting kicked out, grabbing a place to crash wherever possible, to working at garde manger for one of the best up and coming chefs in the Southeast. And your blog and podcast have been there holding my hand, letting me know things are going to be okay. I appreciate your help and hope that we can both make it through a better 2011. Cheers, Richie.

Joseph Bayot said...

I loved reading this. If you put a book out, I'd freakin read it. And tell all my friends and family to buy it. Heck, I'd buy it FOR them. Make them read the thing.

Here's to 2011! Kill it, man.

I hope I get to try some of your stuff this year. And then I hope I get to try some of your food.

Executive Dishwasher said...

It's scary, but getting outside of your comfort zone is the only way to push things forward. While it was tough, it looks like you've accomplished some great things in 2010, with more to come in 2011. Love reading about it and seeing the great pics of RAMEN! Keep it up and keep the great writing coming our way!

Thanks

Daniel Smith said...

Richie,

First. for me, your words seem to be stolen from my mouth not just this post, but nearly every post.
for the past couple of of years your blog has been a place that I can come and reassure my sanity. when I feel as if I am too obsessed with the details of cookery, the odd goose who had to work 60 hours a week making 8.50 an hour, not going home with my wife for holidays, and never being satisfied regardless of praise and recognition.
2010 has been a bitch for me as well... growing up sucks... I have given up on my dreams of becoming the next Pepin, White, even Adria. leaving the world of fine dining for family, to become a hack santa fe rice making shoemaker cafeteria "Chef". But it pays the bills, and I am home from work by 3 daily.
Well I want to thank you for your posts, and sharing your life with the world. It has been a highlight of the last couple years.

best of luck for the future.

Daniel said...

This is a spectacular post, Sir. Thank you for sharing.

Queen of Cuisine said...

Missed you, Richie. Hope your 2011 is great. Looking forward to the next post, the next phase.

Lisa.

Burke said...

Fuck 2011 hard, all will be well. good thoughts going your way

Burke said...

Ride 2011 hard, bareback with no lube, and all will be well. Sending good thoughts your way.

3*Ziel said...

Hello, I have to say, your post is exactly what I would say. I realize lots of others have said the same, but so many things hit home.I moved to another country in 2010, 1st to work everyday, became "the commis" and was fired after six months to later find this is a regular practice of the chef, after six months he would have to increase my post and salary. After complete devastation to end the year(I am also a runner, and know how hard it is to walk home), next week I have an interview at something ^6 of where I was. I learned alot about myself as well, and ego, well now thats only part of the waffle commercials, thank you again for printing such personal thoughts. And congrats on your fantastic son

vignette design said...

Fuck 2010!

Paul said...

beautiful look on 2010. I have not read something that could of summed how i felt about 2010 so perfectly. Aside from a child. I'm a tad too young for that.

james007 said...

Ok so it's exactly what I'm going through right now minus the kid. The wife is a real bitch but yet I am growing up now. It's funny I'm starting out all over again and 2010 was ok until december and then it's been down hill to realizing what an asshole I am and ego driven and over confident and honestly no reason to be. No job yet but promising opportunity get the answer tomorrow on that but no money saved don't own anything can't pay my rent on time etc....... Yes the list goes on and I haven't even started the job yet. One thing I can say is I've raised my head and going back to something I love (Cooking). I'm looking forward to having life kick my ass the exec telling me how shity i'm doing and then killing my self at night because I didn't do something right or think of something quicker and so on. I'm looking forward to starting my life at 33 and all I want to do is forget everyone throw myself into the kitchen work 12 to 16 hour days no life no nothing just save money, become better at my craft, and then move on to something bigger and better. Also move to the west indies to become a chef there in like 5 years mabey 7 but what ever. Ok I'm done but wow that felt good. Thank you for saying the things that i've been thinking for the last 5+ years. It was nice to see someone out there feels or felt like me and does give me a bit of confidence. Look forward to reading the next one.

Rich S

Lloyd Taganahan said...

This blog is hilariously awesome!

Daniel Stoller said...

I've been reading your blog for the past year and a half, and I keep coming back to it for two reasons: one, because you write with clarity and purpose, and two, because you make me want to be a better cook.

I recently started a new job for an amazing chef, and its been challenging coming up to his standards. Basically this meant the sous was yelling at me, a lot. And I was losing my confidence, which is a fatal blow. But I read some of your more memorable posts, and today, I killed it. So thank you Richie, for being an inspiration.

Chef_Roadhouse said...

This is an awesome post! It flows like modern poetry and it is something I think anyone aspiring to greatness should read. Young cooks especially.

I actually was linked to your blog from Micheal Ruhlman's.