the last few weeks have brought some big changes to my life. some of you may know that I’ve been teaching cooking classes part-time with Sur la Table now for a little over a year. Meanwhile, I have also working full-time as a line cook at a very popular restaurant here in Chicago. eventually, I was working 6 days a week between both gigs and pretty much laying catatonic on my sofa on my one day off, watching Netflix and Hulu til I was cross-eyed. I refused to cook or clean on my day off- I only had one!! so, on days that I worked, I’d squeeze in a little meal prep or light cleaning here and there…
and then the restaurant started serving lunch, which meant that there were 10 more shifts to fill each week. we were already very lean on kitchen staff, so all of a sudden I went from working 6 days a week to 7. and i got promoted to saute station, which was so much fun, but that also meant longer shifts when i worked. how my body didn’t just give up, i have no clue. at one point, i went 23 days in a row between both gigs. the only thing that got me through that was that i’d already requested a week off to visit my family in Florida! and then a month later, i took a few days off to go to Vegas with my honey. the overtime pay also helped a bit, i’m sure. but it got to the point where i just wasn’t seeing my honey. like, at all. i’d kiss him goodnight when i got home around 2 am and he’d kiss me goodbye when he left for work 5 hours later.
moving to saute was a blast. i got to cook steak, roast whole fish, and make pasta, among other things. i also got the bulk of all the daily specials that were created by my wonderful chefs, which sure kept things interesting. for example, when i came back from Vegas, half of the dishes that were my responsibility changed, and i had to learn all new “pick-ups”, so that was fun. a little nerve-wracking, but fun! working saute also meant that i started using groups of muscles that i wasn’t using on the previous station. That whole roasted fish required me to use an 18″ cast-iron skillet that was kept in a 450° oven, which meant that i was basically doing weighted squats during service. since i’m so tiny (i’m 5′-2.5″ tall, ya’ll!), that also meant lots of standing on my tippy-toes to reach plates above the range (stove) and mise en place (prepped ingredients) in my reach-in (refrigerator).
the downside of it all was that working saute required me to taste foods that i don’t normally eat, like pasta and freekeh (roasted green wheat)… yes, line cooks taste your food… we have to make sure it tastes good before you get it. not to worry, though- we don’t double-dip! anyway, even though i only took the tiniest bites possible, i found myself craving more and more carbs and sugar. between that and my exhaustion, no matter how clean i ate at home, i started to give in to the cravings while at work… i slice of pizza here, a piece of bread there. it definitely didn’t help my energy levels at all, and my skin started to break out, too. ugh. i realized that even though i was loving what i was doing, this just wasn’t a sustainable situation for me.
and then an opportunity presented itself. The position of Assistant Resident Chef was created at my Sur la Table- a full-time sous chef of sorts. previously, it had been a part-time position. anyway, the ARC works hand in hand with the Resident Chef to ensure that the cooking program is successful and grows organically. i was offered the full-time position and i chose to take it and start a new adventure! I’ll be teaching more, and also learning the financial side of the business- scheduling, small event planning, keeping costs down, bringing in new customers and in turn, revenue. i’ll also have a little more disposable income and full benefits, which is always nice. plus, i only be working one job now, which means i get some time to myself again… and time with my honey, friends, and family.
this also means that i have more time to create Paleo classes for my store! and blog more! it’s a win all around, really!
this wasn’t the easiest decision i’ve made, but i think that i’ve made the right decision for my long-term goals.
if you’re ever in Chicago, stop by my store and say hello!