Usually bad things turn into good things (at least that's what I've been telling myself for the past 18 months).
A few months ago, I lost my cooking mojo. I'm not sure if it's because my taste is becoming better and pointing out to me that my cooking has always sucked, or if I lost inspiration, or what. It didn't change the fact that I seemed to no longer be able to cook. Maybe it's one of those "the older you get the less you know" sorts of things.
I needed to stop assuming I knew how to do everything and learn from someone. I emailed an old Chef of mine, the Chef from whom I had learned the most, and asked if I could come back as a line cook. There are all sorts of ironies here, which perhaps I'll collect one day for My Life in Bistro Aprons, and I'm happy to give him a chance to laugh at me for returning to him after years away.
Of course, I'm way too old to be a line cook - when Bourdain was here last November, he told his audience that if you were over 30 and thinking about going into restaurant work (especially Back of House), you were nuts. 19-year-olds will be able to cook me under the table even under the influence of 14 bong rips. I'm going to have to learn lots of exercises for my unhappy tennis elbows, and I have no idea how my lazy waitress body is going to respond to 12 hour days, but we'll see.
Why would I want to do such a thing?
Because I have to learn. I know nothing about really working in a kitchen. I need to learn, and I need to learn how to do things the right way. Not in culinary school, but in real life.
Also, Chef has been ordering local, fresh hogs and cows and butchering them himself. His staff collects to learn how to butcher, turning the presentation counter into a butcher shop, where they collectively break the animals down, and grind the meat into sausage and burgers and patés.
I start on Friday! Wish me luck!