With the changing of seasons there are always… well, changes. Even in a quiet mountain community like Girdwood, Alaska.
Besides the obvious transition in weather and procrastination that precedes opening day (winterizing of vehicles, making sure your ski/snowboard gear is dialed, getting back to the grind of a full time work schedule… ), there are the other, less obvious changes that factor in the opening of a restaurant like Seven Glaciers. The welcoming of new faces and new positions, and fond farewells to friends and colleagues who choose to migrate south with the birds.
According to Steinbeck, “The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry”.
I think we can all relate to this in some degree, but professionals of the food and beverage industry more than most. Plans change often, sometimes several times a day and at the whim of a gues, even more frequently. For chefs, although we are all artists at heart, there is a method to our organized chaos (aka our kitchen). We want to know everything, we want to know everything IN ADVANCE. We want everything to be perfect, all the time.
Thomas Keller, in his cookbook The French Laundry, opens with some thoughts on perfection, “When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy.
That’s what cooking is all about. But to give pleasure, you have to take pleasure for yourself. For me, it’s the satisfaction of cooking every day: tourneing a carrot, or cutting salmon, or portioning foie gras—the mechanical jobs I do daily, season after season. This is the great challenge: to maintain passion for the everyday routine and the endlessly repeated act, to derive deep gratification for the mundane.” Sound familiar?
In a week that should have been one about the details, last minute attention for the new winter lunch and dinner menus, final training for our staff on the nuances of everything from a new dish or wine being offered, and the anticipation of opening night… well, life happened. The powers that be put challenges of all nature before the team. But, the end result? We were pushed hard (and humbled at times) to the state where we currently find ourselves…seeking “joy in the mundane.” PATIENTLY. It has been challenging, frustrating, exhilarating and overall, a huge success.
Thanks to all who joined us Thanksgiving weekend! Stay tuned, we are patiently striving for greatness.