Yesterday I did a 13.5 hour shift with no break except the requisite midday dumpathon. Aside from tasting the prep, I managed to scoff down 5 pieces of cold, semi braised beef and a gob of rice. It was a good day because service was smooth and without hiccups and my partner in crime managed to bust out the prep whilst I worked the line. Compared to most regular human beings, chefs are thankful for the small things. I made it out at 11pm and smiled as the darkness of the outside hit me; freedom.

The previous night, I was in an auditorium at the Sydney Opera House listening to a bearded Danish guy rattle off entries from his journal. I quote the man himself: “who writes a fucking journal?”. But listen I did and so did a buncha other guys just like me. You could see the same jadedness in their eyes, the phantom checked pants that would’ve been worn just a few hours ago, the stain of miscellaneous proteins caught in the crevices under the fingernails, the thoughts revolving around stocktaking at the end of the month…

I think Redzepi’s prose is making me more morose and contemplative than usual and also a lot more wordy. I went without any expectations and/or ideas about what was going to happen. I think I wasted my money but I also kinda enjoyed myself somehow. $45 is about 1.5 hours work for me gross. I shoulda been chillin’ with Fifa 14 and some Four Pines instead.

Anyway, it was kinda funny. Redzepi got his chance to promote his new book, A Work In Progress, which is actually 3 books. One has recipes. One has photos. The last is his fucking journal from 2011 to 2012, sometime after winning the Restaurant of The Year award for the first time. It all starts when his wife asks him one day “Are you OK?”. He thought he was but then stared at a zombie in the mirror to realise that he wasn’t at all. Resolving to write the journal, he ended up chronicling his successes, frustrations, annoyances, fears and the scarily huge pile of failures that were so confidence depleting.

I left the talk with a certain optimism, something echoed in my housemate who’s also a chef and been at it as long as I have. We spent the remainder of the night walking to Chinatown and chatting about the profession. Had it actually become one? I mean, you got guys like Redzepi talking at the Opera House and starting symposiums and stuff. Well, he’s the fucking chef patron of one of the most innovative and exciting restaurants in the world. Us? We’re just kitchen slaves doing the dirty work.

Still, it’s good to know that one of the world’s best chefs is kinda just like you. It gives me hope to know that whilst I’ll probably never make the top 50000000 restaurant list, I might still be able to enjoy really well the 5% of my time that is actually pleasurable and ignore the other 95%. It’s good to know that you’re not the only moron slogging away trying to eke a living out of coagulating proteins.

This is my journal.

Advertisements