Thursday, July 22, 2010

No Experience Necessary

In order to create sustainable success many other professions require years of schooling, grueling certifications, demeaning apprenticeships, state licensing or other strict requirements usually accompanied by crushing school loans and years of practice unrecognized by anyone save direct supervisors.
It also takes months, years even of carefully planned steps culminating in a critical path which, if one is persistent and has a healthy share of luck, will result in something tangible that may stand for many years for all to behold and wonder on. Engineers and architects work in advanced mathematics, logic and physics only to pass along their brain child to another pair of, hopefully, competent hands, hearts and minds in order to manifest the project into reality.
I’ve heard it said that, given all the complexities, personalities, time and money constraints it’s a wonder that ANY movie gets made let alone be viewed by the public. Anyone working in the Arts or Humanities, or for virtually any professional occupation, has to navigate the slippery slopes of subjective morality, shifting fashions and the nightmare of grant writing in order to see any of their work come to the light of public view.
I know a few of you in the Hospitality Business will be jumping to their feet to protest my simplification but give me a moment to make my case.
Some of my best friends have sacrificed much to attain a certain amount of acclaim or in my case notoriety. I’ve got 23 years in and still learning. Greg Barnhill, one of the best chefs in the west worked through not one, but three year long apprenticeships, each with a different European trained, Michelin rated chefs. I have the honor of being part of the advisory board of The International School of Culinary Arts and know first hand the dedication of the teaching staff and the work that the students put in – all in the name of a title that many, much less deserving, use with impunity.
The true leaders of our industry have given up their children’s birthday parties, anniversary dates and holidays in service to our treasured guests; in the quest of that perfectly plated meal.
All in dedication to an experience so fleeting that most diners are vaguely aware of the hours of daydreaming, planning and experimentation that backs up every plate that hits that window.
‘The Making of Ironman – The Movie’? How about ‘The Making of Beef Milanese Neopolitano’? Now that’s something worthy of 20 minutes of film draped with a voice over from Morgan Freeman!
So I may have misspoke before when I implied that this business is something that can be done by anyone with little or no training – yet there are those out there who believe that. And bless them; I really mean that – it’s for these intrepid souls that I sing this particular song.
It’s for these stalwart, courageous business people that I say, ‘RIGHT ON!’
Here’s to: the contractor who inherits a restaurant because the owner couldn’t pay for the renovations, the public servant who nurtured the dream of his own little diner to retire to; here’s to the business man who, because of prior success in other industries, believes that he knows what his guests really want.
Here’s to the father that wants to build something with his 2 hands because he wants to leave a legacy for his children; here’s the mother, left with an empty nest and her grandmother’s peanut brittle recipe. Here’s to the college student who works summer’s on an oil derrick off the Texas coast and winter’s in Alaska fishing salmon because he has a vision of a restaurant where his crew LOVES to come to work.
Here’s to all the lover’s of life, and food, foolish enough to give this business a try – it’s to you I say, “Come on in, there’s always room for a good idea”. My brothers and sisters are here; ready, to turn your dream into a reality –just because we SAY SO!
Dedicated to the memory of Sean Foley; a gift to all she touched with her food & her spirit!

1 comment:

  1. Very touching, Adam. I am particularly sensitive, even more than a year after he passed away, to being reminded of the complex bonds that exist between fathers and sons. I have two sons and can only wish that, when the day comes and I am no more, they too can conjure up meaningful memories of my life with them. Touched also by your dedication to Sean. She was beautiful inside and out and her loss brought about great sadness. I see her smile as I write these words.