THE OTHER SIDE — The kitchen staff at Final Table was in a scurrying prep frenzy yesterday afternoon.
“How are we doing on those pork buns?! Come on dumpling team, this is your time to shine!” a Chef yelled as we walked through the swinging doors. “I know I don’t have to say this but we have one reservation tonight, and it’s the one we’ve been training for!”
We gazed across the massive kitchen that seemed to go on forever. Clusters of chefs from various cultures — Scandinavian teams, West African teams, teams hailing from the Mediterranean, even a small group from the everglades barbecuing a whole alligator. It was a magnificent, grand scene.
The sheer scope of this kitchen isn’t what struck us the most though. What really stuck with us was how happy the room was. It’s no secret that kitchens are typically tense places. We asked a chef, who was prepping puff pastries near the door, why the mood was so light.
“In this kitchen, we’ve decided to accept nothing less than happiness for ourselves and others around us. It’s a lifestyle choice. We do this at all costs, and work hard to hold each other up to this standard. Sometimes it feels impossible, but we believe it’s the only way to fully live…” the pastry chef was cut off abruptly.
“Okay, team, he’s here.”