This is the life of a chef.
My hands and forearms are covered in a web of blisters, scars and knife wounds. They have been for years. I recently spoke to a Normal Person who remarked upon this, and several moments of mutual incomprehension followed as I explained that I have fairly good hands for a chef.
At this end of the trade, it's not all about signature dishes and experimenting with flavours. It's about turning out the same thing time and time again both consistently and prettily. My fellow chefs at O'Murphy's all come from, let us say, a somewhat basic background. All of them got their experience at a Wetherspoons pub: I've had to hold my ground even for cutting onions correctly. And presentation? Gwae, gwae a thriwaeth gwae i fi. I don't even have fucking parsley to play with. But, even so, is it too much to ask to stick a pat of butter on top of the mash, or garnish some tuna mayo with a bit of spring onion? Not that any of them have the basic knife skills to chop some sping onion thinly.
There's not a night I don't go home without being at least slightly pissed. If I'm not having a couple of drinks "to relax" after work, I'm getting utterly slaughtered in order to forget quite how crappy my life is. Below, for example, is a picture of me "having a quick drink after work". I got home that night at about four in the morning and went on to work the following day at eleven.
(I'm the one on the right.)
This evening, for example, I closed the kitchen at ten and got out by half past. I then encountered my friend from the restaurant over the road and we swopped stories, pints and tequilas for the following two hours. That, for me, is a "quick drink".
Unsurprisingly, I long for the day when I can wear a suit to work rather than whites (not just because I look fucking good in a suit, obviously.) I need to get out of this trade, for the sake of my liver if nothing else. Which doesn't explain why I applied for a sous chef job at a nice little pub on the quay...
1) Yes, I'm depressed and feeling cynical. Indulge me, it's been several months. I promise that my next post will be about something religious, and not cynical-religious either.