Disconnecting, to Reconnect: A Change in Mentality
Disclaimer** Before we get into this blog, we feel that we should warn you that this is our first time doing anything like this. In other words, run away and hide due to the fact we literally are making this up as we go and have no idea what we are doing. EDIT: Not sure if you can see already but this post has now been edited twelve times…….. We are also still planning on figuring out a system that can differentiate to the reader who is writing when, so hang with us. That’s kind of important, right? Or maybe we may have left it ambiguous so that you can get the general idea of our team rather than the individuality of us two. Maybe not?
A Glimpse into Our Thought Process
We have literally had people tell us we are crazy for wanting to spend six months hiking the Appalachian Trail while living out of ginormous packs. Not many people jump at the opportunity of doing this and to be quite frank, I, Amanda, didn’t want to jump at the opportunity myself.
But first lets back up to before deciding to hike the AT. Our whole world revolved around working in a two of the best restaurants in the area. Our goal was to work our way to the top of working at some of the best restaurants in the world. It’s a dream we talked about almost every night after work. The long and stressful hours in the kitchen all day and evening were exhausting but at the time it was all we knew. Luckily for us, we both worked in kitchens so we both had the same hours and understood the stress and demand of it all. Working in high end kitchens taught us a lot. It taught us to work as a team, to face challenges, and come up with solutions. It taught us to communicate and to take charge. However, working in that environment was generally not as glamorous as one would think. Spending time with family and friends was “put on the back burner”. Our one or two days off were spent recovering in preparation for the upcoming week of work. Our families and friends at times couldn’t understand our life style. Why in the hell would you want to work those hours and have that kind of stress and pressure every day? One of Alex’s favorite chefs, Dan Barbour, said,
“I believe strongly that good cooking is physical. It demands a kind of conditioning. Because of the drudgery and the hours and the exhaustion that this kind of work demands — it does attract people who are attracted to a certain kind of abuse. It’s exhilarating, and the challenge is sort of, ‘How much of it can you stand?’ And is that the way to live, you know, a happy life? I don’t have the answer to that — at all. I wonder.
It was so thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. At the end of the night when service was over and the kitchen was scrubbed from ceiling to floor and you were sitting on freshly polished prep tables writing your prep list for the next day, it felt good. Really good, actually. To think about the hundreds little things we had to do to accomplish each service is almost unfathomable. I’m going to pass the computer over to Alex because “it’s his turn to write”.
Friends! To be fair, she’s been writing for a while and I’m getting impatient! I digress, let’s move on.
Disconnecting, to Reconnect
To pick up where Amanda Sue left off, career wise, we had it all. We were learning from the best, on how to be the best. To be the best, or at least to pursue being the best, required sacrifice. I’ve never found balance as a person; which is why Amanda is such a perfect woman for me. She is the complement to everything I have and also fills the voids of what I am not. Anything I’ve ever done I’ve taken to the extreme. I still do not know whether that is a gift or curse, but is something that I have been working on since I left the kitchen on March 19, 2016.
It’s weird writing that date because I still remember my last service at Herons. I still remember my last interactions with everyone, including that whipped cream pie I took to the face and also being garnished with the purple blossoms that I picked earlier that day for service. Thanks Chef Spencer. That’s the last time I give you a hug.
To wrap this up, we can sum the reasoning behind leaving everything we know and venturing into something completely unknown due to restlessness. We felt uneasy with the people that we were becoming and figured in order to come full circle as people who want to “live right” we needed to step away from the stove. While we are unsure what awaits us after this journey, we know that we are headed in the right direction – whatever that is.
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