A lot can happen in a month. This time last month I was packing my bag for a trip to Portland and Montana, where we traveled by bike and train only. It was a hell of a trip that included Praline-bacon and a familiar faces at Screen Door in Portland, eating and drinking chocolate at Cacao, meats from my favorite charcuterie, food on a train, buffalo burgers, a run at Bison Bourguignon and a sighting each of a bat, a mountain goat and a bear.
Like I said, quite a trip.
Then I came home to a day of work followed by no work at all. The day after my vacation I was let go from my job. Riding down the Embarcadero on my bike, I felt little more than relief. I was free. Free from anxiety about my job coming to an end. Free from trying to muster true passion and enthusiasm for video games. Free from the four lunch places in a two-block radius I’d been lunching for nearly two years.
I went home and immediately fixed myself a lunch of Prather Ranch steak and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. And I haven’t stopped cooking since.
In addition to taking up racquetball and compulsive craigslist searching, being unemployed has also put me in the kitchen a lot more. Last Friday’s lunch was a kick-ass Patty Melt with carmelized onions, Everett & Jones BBQ sauce on Langer’s rye. Earlier in the week was a salad of Little Gems, strawberries, basil and burratta. And I’m finally indulging my pizza impulses and I’m doing it from scratch. Bagels are next up on my list.
But it’s not just my kitchen I’ve been spending time in. A friend asked me to help in her’s catering a wedding reception. I had the opportunity to be behind-the-scenes cracking eggs and washing dishes for another friend’s pop-up Izakaya. I was on my feet for 10 hours at a clip and it was great. I liked the sound and movement of the kitchen. The instant comraderie. The buzz at the end of the night that kept me up past my bedtime. And I wasn’t even really cooking.
So I think it’s time for a change. To step away from the day job and into a different one. To indulge my indulgences. To see if I can make it in the food world. Because there’s a reason I end up talking about chocolate stores at job interviews. Or why when someone asks what I did over the weekend I end up detailing my meals. Or why I will always find myself in the kitchen, no matter the occaision.
I figure I’ve got a little bit of time to see how this can go. To do what I did when I got into advertising. Talk to anyone and everyone about the industry and how they got their start. To read and write and meet people and get into any kitchen that will let me. I’ll volunteer at soup kitchens and network for catering gigs. To cook every damn meal and subject the contents of my fridge to all kinds of knifework drills. My apologies in advance, carrots.
I’m excited and nervous. I’m anxious for all kinds of reasons, good and bad. Wondering what path I’ll find, what flavors I’ll discover, how I’m going to pay rent. It’s all exciting and scary at the same time, which is a pretty fun thing to feel. Wish me luck, and if you know of anyone looking for help in the kitchen, get in touch. Seriously. I could use the experience.