Or by the seat of your pants, if you will.
There was a day for it.
The flashy, frenetic operator that was too school for school.
I saw them come and go in several of the arenas in which I toiled.
The smooth-talking, hip, trendy metropolitan chef with all the right credentials, and the cool, color-coordinated chef togs.
He will put out a beautifully-crafted 4-star gourmet entrée, but fall absolutely flat on his CIA-trained face when the tickets start coming in and he needs ten of those same plates.
Or another one was the flavor-of-the-month chef that wanted to use herbs and spices to garnish their plates, oblivious to the aromas the warm plates were producing.
In the kitchen, there are some things you just can’t fake.
Some great chefs can’t work without a recipe, but most chefs I have worked with never used written instructions with the exception of the pastry chefs. With the exactness of their measurements and procedures, you would think they are doing scientific experiments instead of producing such treats as Sacher Tortes, Black Forest Cakes, and other French delights. One of the very best chefs I had the privilege to work with had a much simpler system of measurement.
If you went to him and asked how much salt, for example, that a recipe called for, he would reply mains. This means hands in French, as in show me your hands. Depending on the size of the hands determined how much of an ingredient to add.
I had three hands (trois mains) worth that equaled about a cup on the rest of planet Earth.
When I was a restaurant General Manager, it was easy to spot the guys who were putting on a show, but they weren’t exactly tearing up their numbers on their Profit and Loss Statement. Establishing successful systems, empowering your employees, and growing your business will make the GM’s job a kush assignment indeed.
I once was literally playing blind.
I was in England, and I had been invited to play on a traveling baseball All-Star team. I went to one tryout practice and their best pitcher couldn’t get the ball past me. I was spraying the ball all over the field.
As I got up to leave the dugout, I dropped my glove and my glasses were in it.
I heard the crunch as my cleats broke both lenses.
I couldn’t see shit.
The coach came up to me and said he wanted me to start third base for the team and we had a game the very next day in a tournament.
I was elated and told my parents. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to get to the ballpark the next day. I totally spaced out the glasses.
Rather than do the smart thing and tell the coach I would have to wait to get new glasses, I tried to fake it.
Remember the title of this writing?
He asked me to shag flies, and I am out in left field.
He tosses the ball in the air and pops up to center field.
I started running for the left field wall.
Blind as a bat.
I couldn’t even see the game.