Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Arizona Stories, Sammy the Grill Cook

Sammy was awesome.  I first learned a busy grill station from him as an intern in Phoenix and he was quite the character.  He originally moved to Arizona from Texas after getting into some gang problems in Dallas.  He was shot a few times in the knee and ended up getting his right leg amputated.  You wouldn't know it except for his limp, and it wasn't the first thing he'd run up and tell you.  This led to some interesting stories... mainly because Sammy had a warped sense of humor.

He used to play box with the saute cook, Kenneth.  Kenny used to draw pictures of Sammy in permanent marker on the line, and repeatedly hit it with things while muttering, "Can you feel that?!  Can you feel that Sammy?"  I had to work the middle and set up plates for them during service when I first started, which honed my trash talk a lot better than my cooking skills for a brief period of time.

One day Sammy decided to play box with a newer cook, and the two of them were having a great time.  It was the beginning of our shift, and the newer cook hadn't buttoned his jacket up all the way yet.  Sammy grabbed a small Braun stick blender from a bain marie and started to "fence" with it.  It was still plugged in, and tore into the skin on the new cook's chest.  While it wasn't a deep cut, the new cook looked down with disbelief before he was rushed off to emergency care.  Neither were fired, but Chef J had an hour long reprimand waiting for them both about goofing off at work.

Now, in Phoenix, the bars close super early in comparison to Chicago, so it leads to more and more house parties & socialization after work.  At one party, Sammy had been drinking quite heavily, and was getting more and more angry at a rich girl that wouldn't stop talking about all of the skiing equipment she'd just bought and how great of a time she was going to have in Colorado when the snow fell.  She was sitting next to him on the couch, when he hopped up, threw off his leg, and stated drunkenly...

"I'll never hit the damned slopes again!"

He then proceeded to hop to the kitchen to pour another rum & coke.  His "friend" screamed and ran out of the party, proceeding to ditch her boyfriend taking the only car.  He was about to start a fight with Sammy until our friends broke them up, and some samaritan gave the unhappy man a ride home. 

I couldn't stop laughing.

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