Flunking Retirement

May 20, 2018

I’ve written a couple long letters over the last few years about hiring a Manager, Chef, etc.  I wrote how I wanted to learn the names of the plants in my yard, travel with my husband, read more, get in shape, write more….

In October last year, I found myself ironing sheets on a Saturday night.  Now, while I love ironed cotton sheets, I realized that I would like it more if someone else ironed them.  I also found myself watching really bad, old, old TV shows while my husband read, did crosswords and listened to the shows he had missed years ago when working.  I found projects around the house, but after a kitchen reno two years ago and a redo of my daughter’s old bedroom, I didn’t really feel like doing anything.  Plus, it was cold outside.

The manager didn’t work out; I realized that I had delegated the work out so completely that there wasn’t much left for a manager to do.  I have a history of 25 years with our guests and that can’t be easily replicated.  I decided not to fill the spot again and went with hiring more support staff and higher pay for the people already doing the work.

My husband and I took a couple of vacations to National Parks.  (Bucket List).  No cell phone service vacations.

Even so, I wanted to be at the restaurant most evenings and I found myself in people’s way, sometimes helpful and sometimes causing a problem.  Sometimes I would go back and sort silverware with the dishwasher.  He would patiently let me.  Chef Justin and I would look at the menu together, but it wasn’t completely his and it wasn’t completely mine.  I would look at food magazines and wistfully toss them to the side.  I felt as though I couldn’t go in the kitchen and create something.  I missed working with my hands.

This month, Chef Justin has taken another job that is closer to home and offers him more time in the evenings with his family.  I do not want to hire from outside Babette’s.  Long time AM Sous Chef, Mel Hernandez will become the Chef de Cuisine and Jennifer Murphy will continue as Sous Chef and Kitchen Manager.  It’s a great opportunity for both of them.  I will be creating new dishes with their help.  I will be tweaking old menu items while working a few nights in the kitchen to assist them.  You’ll still see me out front, pouring a glass of wine, hosting while Alex takes a long overdue vacation, running food to the table.

I will take more short vacations, catching up with old friends at every opportunity.  After all, house guests are like fish – they get old after three days.

This is one of the strongest teams that Babette’s has had in a long time, and I am taking the opportunity to teach and mentor them.  That is my new job.  This is the new retirement.  By the way, my garden is beautiful.

See you at the restaurant…Marla

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