So I just read this tear jerking article by some Chef talking about how the game is over for the industry and we’re all more or less fucked. Now, maybe some of you feel this way and those feelings are valid but I’m also here to tell you that it’s total bullshit.
I know how bad it is.
Trust me, I had big plans this year to go on the road and film a new series, etc etc. I ended up spending most of it stuck at home losing my mind. When things like this are happening, it’s easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed. I’m watching cornerstone places that have been part of the community for decades shutting down and while it’s very much breaking my heart, it’s also driving me to fight back.
It’s not game over, not by a long shot.
My God, some of the sappy shit that I’ve read by these so called Chefs, as if they’ve never had a catering event go sideways or had a grease trap overflow during service? For fucks sake, get it together boys, you’re supposed to be the ones leading us out of this shit, not crying in the walk-in like a dishwasher on his first night. I mean come the fuck on, you have not only your own crew, but the ears of hundreds of thousands of Chefs and you chose to write about your personal pity party?
What? You really thought the government was going to do what? Bail us out? Really? Since when the fuck has the government, especially the administration over the past four years, done anything for us? Fun fact, no one gives a shit about us except for us. We as Chefs need to be leaders now more than ever.
The reason I started calling this site CulinaryAnarchy isn’t that I like to set things on fire and cause chaos, it’s because I know how to adapt to the situation and I don’t make excuses, I figure it the fuck out. Want to make X but don’t have Y? If you know what you’re doing and get creative, there’s a damn good chance you can pull it off or come up with something new. If all you’re doing is bitching about things not working, if you stay focused on the problem and not the solution, nothing will get done. It’s easy to cook in a well-lit Kitchen with working equipment but it takes skill to walk in blind and adjust for the oven being miscalibrated or any other countless things that tend to go wrong.
Now, I can bitch about how shitty my equipment is and how I wish I had a better camera. If I wrote about that, it would be a bummer. But, at heart, I’m a punk and so I’ll take my shitty laptop and my camera phone and I figure out what I can do with what I’ve got and make it as cool as possible so that I can continue to engage with you.
It’s up to us.
Nope, I don’t have the answers and no, it’s not going to be an easy road back to normal if things ever do get back. But at the end of the day, most people are too lazy to cook and they damn sure can’t do what we do. It’s up to us to figure out how to take the hand that we’ve been dealt by the various factors and still continue to do our jobs and feed the fucking masses.
Now, more than ever, we have to get our collective shit together and do something. It blows my mind to hear people bitch about what’s going on while they do nothing to fix it. A great start would be for us to get more involved with local politics and use our voice. In fact, I’ll be attending a city council meeting here in Oakland next week. Out of any industry I’ve worked in, construction, farming, tattooing, we as Chefs are by far the most hardcore. We need to put our attitude and dedication to good use and come up with a way that we can both feed the masses and pay our staff.
I know it’s hard and I question myself every single day. Most of the time I don’t see the point but when I go to do something as simple as fry an egg, I’m reminded that, despite how I feel about the industry, this is what I am, this is what I do and this is what I’m going to continue to fight for. Go burn one in the walk-in, if you still have one, scream, cry, do whatever the fuck you gotta do to get yourself together then help be part of leading us out of this mess.