Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Of Chefs & Doctors...

I've been really sick lately.  I caught a bout of gastroenteritis (viral stomach bug) and in combination with the normal stomach problems I generally ignore day-to-day has led me to seeing 3 doctors in 4 days.  Ugh.  But it's reminded me of a story, and since I'm bored as heck right now, here we go.

I once ran into a veteran line cook on a flight out west with my lovely wife Anne (probably over seven years ago now, wow).  We were sitting next to this blond gal a few years older than us that was looking at my scars.  It took her a few minutes to ask if I cooked for a living and after that the rest of the flight flew by.  She'd worked through some of Chicago's older school restaurants... almost all now closed, but definitely knew her stuff when it came to professional kitchens.  She was getting out of the business for the most part, mainly because her ego had gotten her into issues with her family, in particular her mother.

This veteran had been bragging about this, that, or the other thing concerning work and her mom snapped at her.

"All you do is cook.  You're more likely to have poisoned someone by accident, than to have saved someone's life.  You don't deserve to have an ego.  Doctor's deserve to have an ego, but you?  No."

That has never left my memory.  I can't remember the cook's name (Kelly? Kathy? Komodo Dragon?  K something?), but when I see young cooks strutting their stuff, I like to bring this story up.  We can't lose sight of the customer with what we do for a living, be it with food temperature, controversal/risky cooking techniques, accidentally exposing someone to an allergen, etc...  That's all I got today folks, more next time...  

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