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So Long and Thanks for All the Fish…

Yes this is goodbye and as this chapter of my life comes to a close, down here in always sunny Florida I want to say thank you to a few groups of people and also just post some random fun pictures of people and little things down here that I will miss. As much as everyone back home and anyone else who spent the winter in the cold and snow will hate me for this, and I know I will eat theses words myself very soon, of all the things that I will not miss its the weather. The beach and the ocean I will miss very much, but I need more than just sun and heat all the time. I want it to rain and I miss the cold and snow. Before I get stuff thrown at me just imagine that every day is the same, some days a little warmer or cooler than the next but for the most part always the same. This can and did play some very mean tricks on my mind as I was getting adjusted to life down here in Florida. I also will not miss my room down here, the rules of not sticking anything to the walls means that it never got personalized or never felt like my room, just the place where I would sleep and get ready for work.

Now we get to the goodbye’s and thanks and this first one goes out to kitchen crew. I don’t care what annoyances or problems we may have had at one point or another you guys and gals where my brothers and sisters. We talked about things that had happened at work and what was going on in our lives, we kept each other from going crazy, also drove each other crazy at times, and we had some amazing and fun times. To the main guys I will always be your Sherpa/ phone guru should you need it, I owe you that much at least. To the other parts of the crew that I didn’t work with every much, because you worked different times or locations then I would, we still had a blast together. We helped each other get through the days and months that we worked down here and when it was busy like crazy we were all in the thick of it together. The jokes and pranks we played around the kitchen may have been a bit childish but you know what it was fun and helped relive the stress and pressure of the day or even week.  Along with this goes the Stoop Group. The stoop was a group of conversations that are far too much of a “you had to be there” moment but some catchy topics and titles would be: Plants, Rats, Muscle, Wild Cards, The Brain, What’s your Favorite Childhood Food Asian, Flying tables, Pink Socks, Rat Traps, Cooking Food, The Cheese, The Wine, Whisky, and Beers, Whistling, Music, Women, “Do you know how much she cost a month!?”… the list goes on and on but it was a relaxing and great place to hang out and will be missed. “North Carolina and that’s all I have to say about that.”

This next thank you is to my Executive Sous Chef, who really became like a dirty uncle more than a boss. When it was time to work it was time to work but he could still be counted on to tell a joke or do something to lighten the mood. Even though you worked mornings and I would only work morning ever so often you made the time fly by. I still hum the song you made up about me from time to time and still laugh at it. I’ll also Have you know that breakfast for dinner went over as a huge success, everyone liked the idea and was happy to eat eggs for dinner. Only three people told me my clock was mixed up and I was cooking for the wrong part of the day…

This next thank you goes out to our dishwasher staff, and really I don’t think I can say thank you enough for all the time and effort you guys and one very sweet old lady put in to help us make our jobs easier. In the same boat I have to give a very big thank you to the other staff cooks. Like me we all work arguably the worst job out of anyone else down here. We all know we can’t make everyone happy with the food we make and most of the time we would get disgusted looks or even glares from people. The few people who did say thank you are few and far between so from me to all of you thank you. It is well-earned and very much deserved. Then I throw out a thank you to the laundry services lady. You are a tiny little ball of happiness that rubs off on people. Thank you very much for always getting or leaving my uniforms out for me so that I could grab them for the next day.

Last but anything but least is my Chef. You sir I owe more to than anyone else down here. Above everything else you showed me what it means to be a Master Chef, and that I still have a long way to go before I reach my own goal. You taught me so much and held me to standards that I will always hold myself to from this point on. I made mistakes but instead of just fixing it you taught me to recognize my mistakes and had me do it again until it was right. I learned something new every day I worked for you and anytime I had a question about why or how you did something you would take the time to teach me, not just tell me how you did it. It was the little things that you would explain that really helped make me a better cook, and more than anything I was proud to work for you. I know that I am a long way off from reaching my goal but you more than anyone else put my feet down that path. I also want to thank you for letting me learn from you and taste the food you made. The random fun items that we would experiment with and then the really strange, and had I not been there to try it, wired things you would make. Case in point this little fried number is one of, if not the best thing I have eaten so far in my life. I will tell you what it is but first I want everyone to just look at how good that looks… alright everyone ready? This little fried number is a de-boned calf’s foot, that was used to make veal stock first and then rubbed with Dijon mustard, herbs and spices, then rolled and breaded with more herds and bread crumbs before frying….I want to thank you for giving me this internship and letting me learn from you, if not from watching but doing myself. You asked me what I wanted to do on this internship and I maybe a little too ignorant of what I was asking said that I wanted to see and do as much as you would let me. You threw me into every corner and activity this club had: the darker more somber and sad parties and buffets, weddings, brunches, more buffets than I could count, plantings, banquettes, dances, auctions. You name it if there was a meal going on I had a part in it even if it was only a small part like coming to help the plating after getting off staff and then helping breakdown and clean. I saw everything this club did and interacted with every department of the kitchen and I was happy for the chance to learn it all. I learned things I can’t even think of and probably things that I don’t even know I learned. I am very proud to have worked for you so thank you for giving me this chance.

Alright now that the thanks and mushy stuff is out-of-the-way let’s move on to the random memories and fun times that I had down here. Where else to start but at Scooters, the local bar that many a night was spent at, like New Years, St. Patrick’s Day, and many other nights when it was just a reason to get off the island. I became know at Scooters after only one time of going and with the crowds of random people who would come in I was treated as a regular from the very beginning. This may have been because I was always in with other people from Jupiter Island but hey it worked.

Then there was the random fun that was had around the island or the stoop where I would hang out with some of the other kitchen staff and cook food or just joke and laugh. Then there was the night we became bandits. Yes that is me with an afro… While I don’t have a picture of it, it was even funnier when we covered my face with it and we drew a face on the back of my head and messed with other people. Along with the stoop came the tree rats and yes I do mean rats. This one may only have been a baby but the other ones ran from branch to branch and I never did find out if your noises where sneezes or farts. Finally there where the hours of entertainment that the literally tones of little lizards that run around on the ground walls and even covered walkway roofs.

So I guess it’s time that I end it all and say my last farewells and goodbyes. Pie was used to give people farewells… It really has been a blast and I take back more than just new skills and a better understanding of what life as a chef means. My internship is now finished and I am leaving to drive home in the morning. Some of you may have noticed that I skipped any post about French Classic Cuisine and this is because in order to come down to internship when I did I had to withdraw from this class and move it to after my internship. This means that I will be back in Vermont and back in NECI by June 6th between now and then I am going to take some time off and just spend time with family and very old but the best of friends.

Before I finish this post I send out an invitation to anyone back home who wants me to cook for you. I need practice and I want to cook for all of you, because what waits for me when I go back to school is a new set of Mod’s and I am going to be taking my first step down the long road to become a Master Chef by taking my first certification test. So Chef Fans please stay tuned as there are many more adventures to come and lots more stories to tell. With that goodbye Jupiter Island it’s been a blast but for now so long and thanks for all the fish…

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2 Comments on “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish…”

  1. Tori April 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Even though it took you away from me for 5 months I am very glad you got the opportunity to go down there, I know you learned a lot of valuable skills and had fun. 🙂 I hope wherever we decide to go in 7 months is just as amazing. Can I put in a request for you to cook for me- let’s say early June?

  2. Grandma April 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Grant , I love your post. Made me laugh and also shed a tear. Boy, are we going to be glad to see you, and yes, we are available anytime you want to cook.
    Can’t wait. Have a safe trip home, We love you
    Grandma.

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