“Wash Your Hands and Come to the Table.”
Have you ever been compared to another so-called family member with a “better” job than you? Those of you that have done this for a long time know exactly what bullshit I’m talking about. That family member compares your career choice to that of your cousin that became a doctor. And how they have a real job and a nice car and a house. Yeah, you know. And we both know how it made us feel. And it’s that feeling that we tried to bury deep in mountains of cocaine. And then boom, bullshit gone. And now onto problem-solving mode where you aim to prove them wrong. But more than that, we want to make them eat those words like you’ve seen their fat asses mow down on some chocolate eclairs from the local donut shop. “I was supporting a local business, etc.” “No Tom, you are just fat, sit the fuck down.” is what you thought in your head. So instead, you just stare blankly at him for his judgment towards you. Because you know that it wouldn’t be much a fair fight, you’d beat the shit out of him. His fat ass couldn’t keep up. I mean not to mention the drama it would start. That idea alone keeps you from winning the heavyweight belt in your aunt Nancy’s living room. But something that we all learn in what we do is that you must always keep your progress pretty private. Or at least start talking about it when no one can steal it from you and run with it. Fuck the passion and respect anymore. And it’s by this that we completely disgrace why we do what we do. People are ruthless and petty sometimes in this career choice. The OG’s aren’t hard to spot. But at the same time, the posers are making it harder and harder every day to uncover them. However, there are those of us who can and cannot do things. And the OG’s will openly admit this. They do this because they know that they can learn from it. It’s just bad timing. They’ll keep moving forward and come back to it.
Anywhere, we didn’t punch Tom in his fat fucking face. But we did make an adult decision and feel pretty badass about it. So, time, to pretend to have to piss and go do a rail of that white line fever in the bathroom. This place is lame as fuck.
After shit like this happens to you, you always wake from the dead each day. Drive something caffeinated into you and find the cleanest coat and pants you can find. And try getting to work however you can, punch in and then realize you're still fucked up from the night before. But soon after setting up your knives, and a nice cup of shit coffee and halfway decent ganja from the front of the house manager, you start to feel somewhat sober. Weed and coffee, now that's a well-balanced chef breakfast. That is, until the day after payday, then you'd just replace the weed with some pretty decent blow. Those days would usually have the best nights. Shit got done, and the line won't stop moving no matter what. Just pumping and cranking food out. Sometimes it would seem that a kitchen would only run on cocaine. Fuck, smart cooks and chefs would see this and buy the line whatever they needed to have a smooth Saturday night. And we would fucking love them at first, and then the dinner service rushes it. That's when we started hating everything and running on pure hatred and anger. But then, lettuce flying, fires roaring, you feel that one slow breath. Everything around you slows down, and it seems like time would stop. All you could hear and focus one is the exhale of this one breath. And then, like in slow motion, you look up and look down the line to your right then the left. That's when the sound of the printer starts to penetrate the quiet. Warping, and like a sound that could blur sight, you are pulled back into action. And fucking somehow, you're more focused and faster. That feeling, no matter the drug, cannot be found. That's a different high. Not to mention a fucking good feeling of accomplishment. This type of work defines what you can emotionally. But sometimes people just aren't one of use. They aren't scared of nothing they would claim. That's when you know that they are bullshit. Everyone is scared of something. Everyone. Whether its death or cotton balls, you're afraid of something. And that's the realness that the kitchen teaches you. I've worked alongside people who have claimed to have died and come back to life. When asked what it felt like, they always answer the same way. They would begin talking about this out of body experience or something along the same line. Truth is, if you've ever died, it fucking hurts. Like painful as fuck. That's a type of pain that doesn't go away. Like, imagine the coldest fucking water you can imagine, and then go straight into boiling water. That middle ground and the body rush of pain, yeah that shit fucking hurts. I'm pretty sure that people sound the same and the next guy, wouldn't be talking shit like that if they felt it. Notice that idea though, they keep revolving away from you on the line, as you're still fucking there.
Our jobs are not for the faint of heart is something we always hear. And some say that this shit is too plush. And that's what separates the people with love for the food from the people who just want to talk shit. You can taste the difference in the food. Not to fucking mention how they carry themselves. Now I have tattoos all over my body, and apparently, that makes my food taste bad. I had some entitled fuck called me out for having ink on my arms. And when he continued to explain that he wouldn't trust anyone like me to cook anything for him, we explained that the steak that he had just complimented and kept bragging about, was the filet I had made. For his self-entitled ass. A perfect medium-rare. Which was his main point when he started bragging and boasting. But you couldn't and didn't do what I just did, so sit the fuck back down. I feel like people that are assholes like this are just made that they have to go back to their bullshit ass existence at their jobs the next day. How the fuck would you feel if I popped up into the investment firm tomorrow and fucked your wife on your desk? Don't think I can? Because the business card she just slipped me says otherwise you limp dick fuck. But hey, I'm lowlife because I have tattoos? Too bad I have a little bit of honor and used that card to light my cigarette out back in the alley. Thanks for the compliment though man. Come back soon you stupid fuck. I swore to myself the next time it happens, I'm keeping the card and calling them. But that must have jinxed it or some shit because it hasn't happened anymore. That or I'm getting fat. Either way, it would seem like I need to step my fucking game up. And that kind of challenge is something that we love in a kitchen. Hitting unreal numbers each service, stacking paper, you know that real shit. I know my real people in the kitchen feel this.
No matter what, we do this for a passion. And some are always going to be more passionate than others. But that doesn't mean that they are wrong or right. It just means that they may or may not have something to lose. At the end of the day though, I don't give a shit. It's none of my business, and as long as it doesn't affect me, I could care less. Wolves aren't bothered by the words of sheep. Not to mention, they can't win at a game that I don't play. But when it happens in the kitchen, that's when it involves everyone. We rise and fall as a team in the kitchen. It's not a hard concept to grasp. Though, there are those jackasses that will try and argue semantics here. Fuck off, I've got shit to start prepping for your station tonight, I know you're going to run out. You always do, and still can't figure out how to fix the problem. It's easy, so eyes forward, pay attention. If you keep running out of gooseberries, prep a backup. It is simple numbers dumbass. If 1 of something isn't enough, maybe 2 will be enough. Kitchen gods forbid you to have to make 3. What will you do then? Make 3? Nah, you'll probably just make 1. You don't seem like you can count higher than 1. And come to think about it, you only care about yourself. So that makes perfect sense. You live by the rule of one. Got it. Know what's better than 1? 100. 100 is so much more than one, and that's how many covers we have to begin dinner service. So, start fucking prepping. If we run out of gooseberries tonight, I'm beating your ass.
Mercy. Not that's something that the kitchen didn't provide for some of us during our careers. But we at still here. We have become the same bad-asses we used to look up to. Was it worse for them? Or did they have it easier? Either fucking way, I'm sure they made our lives a living hell on purpose. Or so it seemed that way sometimes. At the end of the day, the assholes were all the same. All crooked and had a price. Or some sort of bullshit they were caught up in that was held over their heads so their wives wouldn't find out. And somehow, I had to make you look good so that you wouldn't have to face the music. Well, don't start shit, and there won't be shit. Plain and simple. So many people do this for all the wrong reasons. They don't have any love for the kitchen left. And when they claim to have come from nothing, in the end, they only do it for the money. Thing is, that if you did come from nothing, you'd be more fucking humble. That and, your lawyer dad, and doctor mom, don't match your story bro. Not to mention the fact you drove up in a murdered-out Benz makes me hate you. Coming from nothing, I can tell you that I drove what ran. So, spend a week driving my jeep around. And I think you'll change your story. Oh, and by the way, sometimes it won't start, so you have to take the hammer in the backseat and have someone start the car while you bang on the starter. She'll start then, real good. That's been that way for a while now, I'll get it fixed next paycheck.
This is how you know you love what you do. You’re willing to sacrifice in other aspects of your life to succeed at something. Who cares if it doesn’t matter to someone else? That feeling is mine, and you can’t fucking have it. That’s how I know that we are not the same. You’re trying to steal credit for my success. You can’t do what I can. Yeah, you may have a list of ingredients, but you don’t know how to use them. But hey, best of luck to you. I’ll send you a postcard from the top. Hell, I’ll tell them to save you a seat at the door. I got you. You have to pay for your food, but the drinks are on me. Because again, I am not like you. And the kitchen family always pays that respect forward. No matter what. So please talk some more shit. I love hearing shit about me that I’ve heard all my life. But please do me a favor, wash your fucking hands.
Rodney Lienhart is a Chef formerly of McKenzie, TN but is now working and residing in Lansing, MI area. Starting at the young age of 7 years old. He worked his way through the ranks in his mom's kitchen in the hills of Tennessee. With a background in southern, Italian, French, and nouvelle cuisines, he uses what he knows to learn more about what he doesn't. When he isn't putting a flame on a sauté pan, he can be found reading and researching about what makes people tick. A massive overindulgence in psychology has led him here to share what he has witnessed in his experiences. Make sure to keep a close eye one his videos coming out soon. In these videos, he will be closely working with Wayhot sauce and Krystilion CBD on future recipes and concepts. You can follow his story and insight into the world of cooking food and adding the health benefits of CBD to his dishes on Facebook also on Instagram @chef_rodney_117