2 minutes please.

Hey dude, we gotta talk. You're not going to like what i'm about to say, but at a certain point a person decides to move beyond the bullshit, and today i'm that person. Do you want a glass of water? Let me get you a glass of water. OK, here we go.

I want you to look at everyone around you. You're surrounded by smart, talented, motivated people. At times, you are one of these people. At at other times you get so consumed by your own fears and insecurities that it seems like the entire kitchen is passing you by. The difference between them and you is that they have goals. Obligations. A compelling feeling that they need to do something--something important...if only to themselves. Your days seem like they're devoted to maintaining the status quo. Granted, maintaining the status quo can be difficult at times, but what would be really nice is to see you push. I want to see you put yourself out there, and take risks, and be able to fully absorb the heartbreak of failure. Your fear of failure is what's holding you back. Your embrace of complacency is the very reason you're not moving up.

And the negativity. Oh, the motherfucking negativity. You see, if you came to me with ideas and solutions about how to fix things, we might start to move forward. Instead, you come to me and you bitch, and whine, and complain. If I didn't know better I would think that you were perfect--otherwise how could a person criticize others so passionately? You start shit with others, and come across with a harshness usually reserved for 3 Michelin star chefs. You, my friend are no 3 Michelin star chef. You need to learn how to communicate with others. This shit is simple; show respect, get respect, say please all the time, and if your co-workers are really letting you down, tell me and I will get your back.

I tell you all this because I want you to succeed. I want you to be good. No, I want you to be phenomenal. You have these little flurries of brilliance, and when those happen, it's almost hard to look you in the eyes--it's like staring into the sun. There is nothing sadder in life than wasted potential...unless you're talking about misdirected potential. Craigslist could fill a million terabytes with all your "missed connections" with greatness.

So starting now, everything is different. I still like you, but in this kitchen we are committed to progress. Get on board, or fuck off.

  • joellen from blue bottle makes the best fucking coffee ever
  • wow, I feel much better now
  • speaking of which, caleb (jr) at nopa makes espresso that tastes like dark chocolate
  • consider this next time you leave a shitty tip
  • if you want your head to hurt, try to imagine how the hell the pixies made surfer rosa and doolittle in the 1988 and 1989. (granted, daydream nation, straight outta compton, it takes a nation of millions, and and justice for all came out then too)
  • white asparagus from dirty girl this year?
  • pick your three favorite people in san francisco, and tell them you love them
  • if we can smell your perfume in our kitchen, you might be wearing too much
  • you should really see our new dance move. everyone puts their own little touch on it
  • wondercon and coi this weekend!
  • amy, corey and I want to do a mission street food night
  • my wife is snoring away next to me on the couch. she is the fucking sweetest thing i've ever seen.

quotes and conversations:

Al: She has problems with her legs.
Kim: Oh, now I feel bad!
Al: Yeah, you should. Yeah.

Maritess: Hey Richie, can we send Paulie an extra sopapilla?
Me: No.

"I look like Kermit and Beaker's love child."
-Amy. Done with the funny pictures.

Me: Al should run for mayor.
Chef: Of Tijuana.

"A nice hairless chest with my underarmor shorts on and Chinese flip-flops."
-Goose. Lounges in style.

"Sassy. Hey Sassy. Smile Sassy. Dance Sassy."
-Kamaal, who would be right at home directing models at a fashion shoot.

"People want to hear about the poor kid from Puerto Rico that came to America and became a chef."
-Corey, who should write Al's biography.

"Fire torta's! Oh, that's a man."

"I like the Pixies. All girls, right? Oh, that's the Dixie Chicks."
-Goose. Loves the rock n roll.

"No dude, i'll punch her in the throat. You want it rough? Go sleep outside!"
-Corey. Into the rough stuff.

"It's a space pen. Nitrogen filled. You can write upside down in zero gravity."
-Eddie. Has a fancy pen.

"If I haven't had my eggs, it's too early for prostitution."

"If I had pepperoni nipples it would be one thing."
-Ponder. Tiny nipples.

Me: When you do the Jedi mind trick, you're supposed to do this. (waves hand)
Chef: I did!

"You look like Jesus Christo when he was carrying his cross."
-Al, who likes the way I carry the ladder.

Me: Necessito ayuda.
Christian: Yo tambien!

"They fuck guys like you in prison Paulie."
-Ponder. Ex con.

Nopalito Kelly: How's things here?
Me: Things are good. You know, i'm on the mother ship.
Nopalito Kelly: Where ya headed?
Me: No, here. This is the mother ship.

Me: Have you ever heard of a blood clam Paulie?
Kitty: It sounds like a dirty sanchez.
Matty: I've had a couple of bloody clams. I didn't mind.

from top: coco, i love torta's, lamb, amy's last pic, short rib, puto, nopalito, bacon!, fernet, lights.


carnifex said...

More people should have that talk. Like, it should be what your college guidance counselor tells you while beating you with a sock of nickels. Of course, guidance counselors need to be more useful for it to really work, but you gotta start someplace.

Josh Schwartz said...

Great post. I plan to print this out and post it on my bathroom mirror so I can motivate everyday before walking out of the house.

chef said...

and sometimes...talks like these feel like they are being directed at someone close to yourself...i.e., yourself.

thanks for this talk.

i am going to get on board my own life...

kirchartfour said...

Whatever you were smoking, pass some my way.

Just Jules said...

This is a talk everyone needs to get and sometimes receive. I would call this print-worthy.

Michael Procopio said...

I really like what you're saying here.

And I really appreciate the link to my post.

Thank you very, very much.

Michael Procopio

Brilynn said...

"if we can smell your perfume in our kitchen, you might be wearing too much" -my chef bitches about this on a regular basis, i hate that we have an open kitchen

"you should really see our new dance move. everyone puts their own little touch on it" -Oh yeah, we've been busting out some stellar amateur breakdancing moves lately.

And on the subject of the spacepen- there was a girl in culinary school who had one and told me about the damn thing EVERY day.

sunday q said...

i love your blog...avid follower...please follow mine...

Sarah said...

Oh man... GREAT POST!

I'm at my corporate conference in Atlanta, and after listening to campy bulls*it all afternoon, it's good to hear something straight from the gut, with no frills or ad libs. I listened to these conservative, over-the-hill, under-the-table snots from corporate rant on and on trying to pump us up with crap we've been hearing for years, when all I really want to hear is, "Hey! You guys work your asses off... I'm not going to tell you it's going to get easier, but if it doesn't, we're going to throw a rope around you and ride it out." But what did I get,"Oh yeah, everything's great. Life is wonderful. We're the fucking Cleavers."

Anyway, great perspective. I appreciate a staight shooter, seriously. This was a great pick-me-up!!!!

Later dude-

calvnnhobs said...

These two minutes and the Bukowski poem a few posts back .. they're kind of the same thing from two view points. You have the benevolent "blinded by passion" good cop and the "shit or get off the pot" bad cop both saying, do what you love and do it well.

The negative spiral, it happens to the best somtimes, its good to remember to be part of the solution.

Killer posts man.

katgirl415 said...

So many of the themes you write about resonate with me - and my work is not related to cooking or restaurants. Thanks for reminding me not to be one of the people I don't want to work with. Sadly, I needed that talk.

And please give us a heads up if you guys do Mission Street Food. I need to make sure I have the night off.

George Biron said...

Great post I am from a different generation and we went through the same stuff and still do. But it is wise to remember that every diner is a critic but on a slow burn compared to the ones with the column inches. So hard not to get sucked into the star system take it for what it is and enjoy your kitchen days. Have linked.

George Biron said...

Great post. I am from a different generation and we went through and still go through the same stuff.
Its also wise to remember that every diner is a critic on a slow burn as opposed to the ones with the column inches. Yes the analogy of medical results is so true and I have seen such unnesesary destruction from within from negative or mediocre reviews.
One way we have found to humanise the whole service is to name the tables as opposed to numbering them so everyone knows they are cooking for a real person.
Will ling