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You are batshit crazy to open a restaurant. Put aside the hours and physical demands, for now. Just look at the economics. If this train comes off the tracks, you are unemployed, most likely owing Sarducci’s Seafood a pile of cash that they will collect, you will be putting a bunch of guys on the wrong side of the kitchen door and swallowing the bitter failure pill. You can be the hip, cool kid wearing torn jeans, dropping out of Pricey University. You don’t want Monsanto telling you what you should eat or cook. You are the Digital Native that wants to forage, fish and have a bad-ass menu. Skilled, some would say about you. The Instagram of Marcus Samuelson, Chad White and Lucky Peach are required viewing. Nights out are not theater, but pure theatrics and just as cultured. Just a very different culture. Banging on the door of Co Ba for Banh Mi at 3am with all of your fellow kitchen miscreants isn’t unusual or even uncommon. You enjoy swearing like a sailor, even when talking to somebody in a suit, you sonofabitch you! Traipsing all over the market for ramps, Delicata squash or 'nduja is an erection-worthy adventure. And that’s just the start of it.

All of that defeat goes down the grease trap when you get to name this kid. Actually get to birth a fire-breathing offspring from, hopefully, years of experience, some good decisions not made in a whiskey-filled stupor and grounded in enough business acumen to beat the odds. Those odds, by the way, are roughly equivalent to sharting out tonight’s winning lottery ticket.

Rational thought dissipates as the hum of a new exhaust hood is the soundtrack of this epic tale. The hooligans in the kitchen become co-stars and blood brothers with the supporting cast of bussers, servers and technical credit to the vendors, the linen guy and general manager. This t-shirt wearing, pot smoking tattooed army of misfits will crawl across a desert of broken glass to get their mise ready for service.  And to make you happy. They will break all the rules—as if any exist any more—to make food that puts the culinary world on its quinoa and slider-loving ass.

The hours are the hours; no surprise, to you. The nights, the holidays and weekends are not your playground anyhow. Haven’t been for a while. You aren’t privy nor partial to that lifestyle anyhow. The physical load isn’t as victimizing as we purport. Ask a plumber, a welder, a carpenter or a nurse how their days went. Cooks aren’t colorblind to a blue collar even in a white apron.

All of that for three-percent profit?

Wait, we get paid for this? You do it because you love it.

Written by Jim Berman — November 10, 2015

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