Yesterday at work the Chef mentioned the one year anniversary of the restaurant was coming up at the end of May and we were like, whoa, crazy, right? One year already? Where does the time go, blah blah blah, insert all cliches about time flying.
It got me thinking though, b/c I haven’t been around to see a year anniversary, professionally speaking, in quite some time. Quite a long time actually; since making the career change into the culinary field, I haven’t worked at a place for more than 10 consecutive months. I thought it would be fun to recap where the last few years have taken me (fun for me, maybe a little boring for you, unless you’re nosy like me and like knowing where people have worked). My resume over the last four years has more jobs than either of my parents over the course of their careers, combined. I don’t like to look at it as job hopping; I like to pretend that it’s a lot of doors closing and windows opening, or however that saying goes.
Shaw’s Bakeshop (10 months) - I gave my notice at my office job in April 2013 and enrolled in the baking and pastry program at the community college two train stops from our house. At the time, I didn’t know of any jobs I could get besides an actual bakery. I applied at the bakery around the corner from us, but they weren’t hiring. While complaining about it to Brent, he suggested a supermarket bakery as a good starting point. I applied to a bunch of local supermarkets and a few weeks later had my first job “in the industry,” as they say! Which no one says, especially not about a Shaw’s bakery. It wasn’t a bad gig; it was a ten minute drive to work, the other employees were nice, I got to practice finishing work and writing on cakes, and I had Sundays off, which I would soon learn is a rarity “in the industry.” If you’ve never heard of Shaw’s it’s b/c they’re all closing; they announced our store was closing 10 months after I started, so it was time to look for a new job.
Grill 23 (3 months) – Grill is a pretty lauded restaurant, winning Boston’s best steakhouse and multiple other awards time and again, so I was super psyched to get in here. I was a pastry assistant, helping the pastry cooks and Chefs w/ any finishing work they might need, but the bulk of the job was plating. I’m way too anxious of a person to work the line. In my opinion, either you love it or you don’t. I did it for three months and I was good at it, but every shift made me anxious, even a slow Tuesday night. Did I prep my station enough? Would it be a big brulee night? How many times would I have to run down to the basement to restock ice cream? I had a great relationship w/ the Chef and she knew I wanted a production gig, to actually be making the pastries instead of plating them. So when I started looking around, she was sad to see me go but wished me luck.
Commonwealth (8 months) – I was thrilled when I got a job as a pastry cook at Commonwealth. It’s a really cool restaurant/market hybrid that had only been open for about seven months when I started. Since it was a normal restaurant, I was doing all their desserts, but since it was also a market, we put out a ton of baked goods every day, like giant cookies, breads, muffins, house made granola and caramel corn; basically whatever the pastry Chef felt like. I loved the Chefs there; they knew so much and were really patient w/ me (and all my fuck-ups). I learned so much from them and the other cooks in my time here. One day out of the blue, my old Chef from Grill 23 texted me that one of their pastry cooks was leaving and asked if I would be interested in meeting w/ them about the job. We met and they offered me the job; it was even a Monday – Friday gig, since the rest of the department had it covered over the weekends. A better commute, more money and Saturdays and Sundays off? I was sad to leave Commonwealth, but come on, I’m not stupid.
Grill 23 (again) (10 months) – I was back at Grill, but this time I was making the desserts instead of just plating them. The pastry department, like many restaurants, was small, tight-knit and female. I loved the Chef, sous, and my fellow pastry cook. It was during this time that Brent and I bought the house and moved out of the city. I did the commuter rail thing for a few months before realizing a 2+ hour commute (roundtrip at least, but still) wasn’t the life for me.
Pot brownies (3 months) – We’ll call this place pot brownies b/c that’s what I made. I would have called it Huge Mistake, but I met an amazing Chef in my short time there, so it wasn’t a total waste of time. Medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, so this place grows all the pot and made all the goods for two of the nearby dispensaries. Sounds like a neat gig, right? That’s what I thought, too, until I realized that being on the “ground floor” of a “brand new industry” wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The Chef was as frustrated as I was, and after she left, I started looking for other jobs.
EMC (3 months) – This was when I thought I was burned out from the kitchen life and wanted to get back into an office. I can’t complain about EMC (which by now has definitely merged w/ Dell and I don’t know what the new company is called) since it seemed like a good place to work. It just wasn’t for me. Probably a month in, I started looking at restaurant job postings.
Avenue (1 year!!!) – And here we are. I wrote this post last year, almost to the day, about how giddy I was to start working here, to put down some roots and work somewhere w/ longevity (although in my defense, it’s not like I’ve ever started a job and was like, eh, I’ll give it a few months and then it’s on to the next one). Brent joked that I must be having the itch to get out, but I can say, for now, I’m still pretty content. Making and snacking on desserts all day is one pretty sweet gig (pun intended, obv).