This week as a Chef

May 7, 2019

After 6 months of scheduling and rescheduling three different contractors to repair the decking and rotting trim on the front porch of the restaurant, I finally found someone to come and do it.  I had painters working inside at the same time, painting the ceiling, all the wood work.  The contractor and the painters both said they would repaint the porch after it was finished, but low and behold neither did.  The painters stopped showing up and contractor moved onto another project.

So every morning I pulled up and saw the unpainted trim, the chipped paint on the steps and 10 year old paint showing up in spots.  So yes I painted, cursing that I hadn’t found someone reliable to do it.  It’s is oil base, so for three Mondays in a row, when we were closed, I painted.

It took another two weeks to get the bench and planters reinstalled (screwed in so they wouldn’t be stolen) but it’s done….Well, there are a couple of tweaks to be done.

So then I finally had a regular week.


A good night.  Some late deliveries which throws production off.  After service, I caught up on paperwork, closing out the bills for April, missed invoices, a lost check.


Off.  Restaurant was very busy, but manager called in another server instead of me.  Kitchen was staffed.  From home, I caught up on  February and March’s bookkeeping, before April was through and I would be another month behind.  It takes me about 3  hours to do an easy month and up to 5 hours if I’ve made mistakes.  7 hours total.  The last hour with a Manhattan by my side.


Busy night, but only because guests all came at the same time.  I was fried when I left particularly because I knew I was going away for the weekend.


Weekend in Tulum!  Early flight meeting up with friends at the airport.  Husband not invited.  Easy flight, nightmare car rental, tedious drive, nice rented house that was hotter than heck.  But we were there.  Rushed getting ready and changing money to dine at Hartwood.  All meals are cooked over open fire, hot, hot, hot.  A former employee of mine has been working down there for the last 4 years as a server and now a manager.  He was a great host.  Snapper, ceviche, beets, ribs and on and on.  I could look up the menu and describe in detail, but I’m not that kind of writer.  The flavors were bright, fresh, acidic and fragrant.  I scooped it up with spoons and drank too much booze.


A dip in the pool, then out to a lunch on the beach with a buffet.  Tongue and onion tacos, turkey with mole, tamale,  iced coffee.  My clothes were starting to show splatters of food.  We walked along the beach, smoothed our way into a cabana with a beautiful view.  I went swimming and passed on the pizza and drinks ordered.  I drank Coke.  A real Coca Cola which I haven’t had in years.  The margarita’s were probably healthier.  A walk to the car and stop at a club that wouldn’t let us in dressed as we were, a hop to a small Italian Restaurant.  More food, and now I’m drinking.


My friends dropped me off at Hartwood so I could work in the kitchen for a bit.  I had wanted to come during service, but I guess they knew I would be in the way and after seeing how hot it was, I was relieved.  Chopped some peppers, onions, more peppers of various degrees of pain, and watched it be made into a chutney on a back fire.  It’s like camping on a grand scale.  Helped a group of women pick herbs (lots) trim mangos and peered over the shoulders of the fish monger portioning ceviche.   Joined the staff for a shift meal of batter fried snapper, slaw, jicama.  Walked to the beach to meet my friends and was greeted with a fresh coconut with a straw under another cabana.

Back to the house to change for another dinner, but first drinks at this amazing, amazing club with fishnet pods for sitting, a very high cover fee and terrible service.  After our first drink which came to each of us 20 minutes apart, I asked if we could write this off as a bad investment and leave.  I didn’t want to be late for dinner at Arca.  Sizzling Bone Marrow, lightly fried Soft Shell Crab, Sweet Potato Empanadas, Snapper with the lightest, freshest sauce and more cocktails.  My head was swimming when we left. My “good” pants were spotted.  Another dip in the pool.


Return to Atlanta….kind of an all day affair that began with me putting on the one pair of shorts I had left that didn’t have food on them, because I hadn’t worn them.  Even my bra had food on it.  A slightly rumpled top completed the travel attire as did a head cold.

A long hot shower, air conditioning turned down low at home, my own bed with clean sheets.  Heaven.  At 3 am I go to the bathroom and step into either cat or dog poop and pee on my bathroom floor.  Welcome home mom.  You shouldn’t have left us.  After a cleanup and another long hot shower back to bed.


Into work, meeting with a  new tea company to upgrade our hot tea service.  Sous Chef has things well under control.

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