My Life Might Look Like This

Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963

At least that’s the idea. Here’s the story…

Some of you may remember about a month-and-a-half ago, I posted the sole recipe to be seen thus far on this blog (What’s that about? Maybe that will change now.) with a story about how I told my chef that I was planning to leave the café. And then I never mentioned it again. Because I didn’t leave.

I told him I was looking, but I didn’t really look. He told me I had a great thing going where I was and summer was coming with lots of fun prix fixe meals and great dessert menu opportunities, and we both just kind of hung tight in that comfortable place. Except that I wasn’t very comfortable. I was working a job at which I felt kind of stuck on the premise that it was good for me and helpful to a friend.

Then two things happened. One day, we got slammed at lunch and I ran out of several ingredients because I hadn’t sufficiently prepped my line. I had figured, “we’ve been pretty mellow, and I have at least a bit of all the things I need, so I don’t really need to prep everything.” I took the lazy, unmotivated route instead of the proactive, passionate approach. Come service, I got caught more-or-less with my pants around my ankles and my chef let me know he knew it. Which I totally deserved.

After one afternoon of feeling sorry for myself for getting yelled at, it hit me. I was out of integrity, and I needed to make a change. I wasn’t committed to the work I was doing and that was negatively impacting the restaurant, my coworkers, and myself. Fortunately, it only took 86ing (running out of) one sandwich for one day and getting yelled at one time to make me see that it really was time to go after a month-and-a-half of procrastination.

Wayne Thiebaud, French Pastries, 1963

Then the second thing happened. I went for a walk on the beach one afternoon and spotted a new pastry shop on my way home. I parked, walked in, fell in love with the place on the spot, and asked if they were hiring. They were.

That was yesterday. Today, I gave my notice at one restaurant and put in my first hours at another. I’m moving from my first real restaurant job to my first real bakery job, and I am both thrilled and grateful. Grateful to the kitchen I am departing for giving me my first legitimate chance in the culinary industry, teaching me a ton, and sending me off with well-wishes. Grateful to the kitchen I am entering for giving me a chance to join their team and learn and welcoming me enthusiastically. Grateful to the universe for giving me a kick in the pants to move forward and then clearing a path to do so.

Bakery Counter, Wayne Thiebaud, 1963

This is why I am inundating you with pictures of Wayne Theibaud’s desserts. Because I have loved them since I was a child. Because they are the perfect medley of painting and pastry. And because, maybe, just maybe, now…my life will start to look like this.


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