Turning Sh!t into Gold

Brown Beard was working at this big shit golf resort years ago when he was still earning his stripes. The owner of the place, a guy who was worth millions happened to walk through the Kitchen one afternoon. Brown Beard had, as he describes it, a tray of vegetable scraps laid out. The old man walks past and makes some kind of remark along the lines of “What the hell is that shit? Throw it out!” 

Brown Beard don’t give a fuck. 

Don’t let his quiet demeanor fool you, the guy is as savage as they come, he’s just a lot better at playing the long game. He simply looked at the old man, smiled and replied “Yes Sir.” while he continued to work. No point in arguing or explaining, no need for any kind of confrontation. You can’t blame the guy, he’s got a wife and kids, he can’t risk losing his job. 

The next day the Old Man comes back. 

He sits down for lunch and orders the Roasted Vegetable Bisque and then heads straight for the Kitchen. “I want to know who the hell made that soup and I want to know right now!!” he screamed as if he owned the place because, well, he did. Brown Beard immediately steps up to the plate knowing this could go either way. “I did Sir.” 

“Son, I am 74 years old and I have eaten at the best Restaurants in the world. I have had meals by some of the top Chefs in Paris and that is one of the best soups I have ever had the pleasure to put in my mouth. How in the hell did you make that?” he exclaimed, clearly thrilled. 

Again, Brown Beard don’t give a fuck. 

Deadpan and as plainly as he could, he smiled and said “I made it with the shit you told me to throw in the trash yesterday….Sir.” 

The room went silent. The Old Man was not known for having a sense of humor and unless you had at least six figures in your bank account, you didn’t look the guy in the eyes and you damn sure didn’t talk back to him. As I’ve said, Brown Beard don’t give a fuck. 

“Well son of a bitch!!! Get this boy a raise.” he laughed. Turning to the Head Chef, Brown Beards boss, he continued, “I told him to throw away that shit yesterday and he turned it into gold! That boy turned shit into absolute gold.” he exclaimed. And yes he was serious, Brown Beard got his raise. 

The moral is a bit different than you might think. 

It’s not that Brown Beard doesn’t give a fuck, it’s that he does. He was able to take vegetable scraps that most anyone else would have thrown away, put a little love and heat on it and turned it into something that even his harshest critic ended up raving about. It’s about being able to make the most out of what you have to work with instead of making bullshit excuses why you can’t. This is the core of the punk mentality, to find a way to make it work. It’s easy to make a good meal in a well equipped Kitchen, it takes skill to cook in a stranger’s Kitchen, drunk at 3 am and make it work. 

If you look at the history of food, it was the lords and nobles that got the good cuts of meat and the best produce. That’s easy to work with and make tasty. It was the peasants and servants that got the scraps and tough cuts and, since it’s all they had to eat, they figured out how to make use of every bit of it and make it delicious as well as being able to make it last as long as possible. 

What it really comes down to is respect for everything that we’re working with in the Kitchen. Respecting the fact that everything we cook with was a life that has entrusted us to give life to others. It’s reminding ourselves that the pasta we’re cooking was wheat in a field and that the steak on the grill was a living breathing being with a conscious and showing respect. It’s really fucking easy to forget this when you’re in the middle of the weekend rush. 

Even if you’re working in a bar serving, god fucking forbid, Sysco shit to drunks, you’re still working with life and giving life to others. True, most of the people don’t, won’t and will never give a fuck. That’s fine, as long as you do, as long as you’re cooking from the heart and paying attention, it’s going to be good. Cook like you fuck

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