Years ago, after an especially vicious run of days filled with broken equipment, missing dishwashers, crazy-busy dinners, giant catering events, and extra-surly waiters, we at Soba came to the realization that God, in whatever form He/She/It exists, Hates Line Cooks. We are chosen to suffer, to live a life of pain and sorrow, our only recompense the glory of surviving. We make little money, work on our feet in pain over amazing heat, suffer burns and lacerations expecting of course to continue to function, and endure the verbal onslaught of the particular alcoholic, oedipal, insecure, anxiety-ridden, cokehead chef of the day. We are the Children of Dune.
Even as Chefs, the Wrath of God stays with us. We are expected to be charming, attractive, and brilliant. We need to be available to balance the books at 9 AM and coddle the food critics at 11 PM. How dare we leave the restaurant for a vacation or a date with our sainted spouses? Surrounded by the lascivious temptations of young girls (and boys) of the service staff, we should remain true to these poor sainted spouses yet, if we transgress, so much the better for the titillation of the waiting public. Make money for the investors yet give the guests the best ingredients and a lot of 'em. Why would we be left riven like Job except to be tested? God hates us, he tests us, and we fail so often, so easily, so obviously.
But to survive and succeed, this is so holy. To work the hardest station and be crushed all night on a punishing Saturday, knowing as you fly that each plate shines and that you are fast and sure and in control of every move and that the flavors are correct and the fish is cooked perfectly and the Asshole, Over-worked, Sleep-deprived Chef cannot find fault with you except with your choice of date for later on, that is Brilliant. Nobody who hasn't achieved that can ever understand. I have never broken an athletic world record or recorded a #1 song, but I sure enough outplayed Jeff Bubin and Trent Conry at the Occidental on a few tough nights. And those nights, I know, I beat the odds and the Gods and I glistened like a diamond shard in coal tar mud. I beat God at his own shitty game and rose out of His muck and won. I beat it. I crushed it. I ruled.
God Hates Line Cooks but, hell with him. We are the chosen and we build our powers on his hate. We are Supermen and Superwomen, succeeding AGAINST God's will.
God Hates Line Cooks but Tony Bourdain is the Devil.