Whoa!!! Just heard the confirmation that our sous chef, John, will be leaving us May 1.
I’d heard the rumor about 2 days ago from our butcher Jorge, but I didn’t really think much of it since John’s always taking time off for something. Once it was a trip to China. Another time, it was Iowa State University’s Meat School (a meat class where you learn about sausage making). Other times: a farm dinner in Michigan, the SXSW music fest in Austin, a collaborative chef dinner in Ohio… you get the picture. He’s out and about so hearing news of “leaving” meant little to me.

Though I did wonder if it meant what I thought it meant.

I doubt anyone at work knows this (unless they’re reading this blog, then secret’s out) but I have an inner love/hate for John. I respect him and (sort of) admire him because he’s my senpai (bordering on sensei) and he’s worked a very long time to get to his current position. He can be funny and disarmingly charming. He has tons of food ideas that end up on the menu (way more than my current zero). He’s got pretty good taste in music. (If you’re wondering how music figures into my kitchen admiration, it does a little. If I’m working next to you and your iPod is blasting shitty music that does not fit the situation; for imaginary example, drone metal while I’m peeling carrots; I won’t tell you to turn it off, but I will dislike you for playing it in the first place.)

But you can take those same reasons and look at the flip side: he became sous chef when his predecessor stepped down to take the chef de cuisine position at Big Star. (At the time I wondered if he had what it takes, but I guess now I have no choice but to grudgingly concede.) That same charm can sometimes border on douchery; once one of our servers mentioned she couldn’t drive and he said laughingly, “That’s okay, because you’re a woman.” Sure, he as lots of food ideas, but sometimes it leads to larger food cost for the restaurant (toward which I sometimes wonder if he occasionally turns a blind eye). Well, despite all this, at least he still has pretty good taste in music! (Even if he does pay for it all on iTunes, and I’m just a pirate >_>)

Anyway, I heard it from his lips that he will indeed be leaving to help open a place in Logan Square. And with that piece of news, I wonder: who will be the new sous chef?
I’d imagined Elliot, since he’s worked here next longest, and has a good head on his shoulders to boot, but there’s unconfirmed speculation that he’s leaving to follow Johnny. I don’t know what to think about that, but I’ll definitely be blogging my 90 cents about it when news of it hits my ears.

Katie, my sister-in-arms, will also be leaving sometime in the week before Easter. Hers will be a temporary leave, as she will be participating in Outstanding In The Field, a cross-country event dinner that honors its farmers and local artisans…yeah I’m not going to copy the description word for word from the site itself. Anyway, Katie will be gone til December, whoopin’ it up outdoors preparing farm dinners and being all badass and cool, while I will be slaving away at Avec, trying my damnedest to be a line cook with even a tenth of her capabilities. Not that I’m lesser or nuthin’, but when all you’ve known for most of your professional culinary life is the equivalent of a military desk job and you suddenly get stationed on the front lines (in part cos you asked for that position), you’d be a little insecure from time to time, too.

My fellow blogger, Ms. Nao, kindly let me know that Avec will be participating in Chef Week. Hmm… not only will we probably be hella busy, I’ll probably see line time during that week.

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