It’s who you know.
No question about it.
In some Middle Eastern cultures, they believe that everyone has “markers” in their life that guide, inform, and help them as they make their way through this world.
I’ve had several myself; I include my big brother Ed as one, as he was very supportive of me in everything I ever tried in my life and once told me “You are an accident of success, ready to happen.”
The volatile and lucrative resort business saw me actually leave a very prestigious position at the busiest restaurant on the entire west coast, with sales of over 6 million dollars per year (in the mid 80’s mind you).
I was making big bucks as Executive Chef, and it was basically my little kingdom.
The newspaper (remember those?) had an article about a French Master chef who had just taken over a venerable old, ultra-luxurious, and historically beautiful resort overlooking the Santa Barbra harbor and on a clear day you could see the Channel Islands.
Evidently the French Master was one of only four men to have trained alongside Julia Childs, Jacques Pepin, and Paul Bocuse.
So what do I do?
To the amazement of pretty much everyone in food service in Santa Barbra, I resigned my post and answered the ad for the only posted position available in the chef’s kitchen, Breakfast Chef.
I was making twenty-thousand dollars less per year at a position about four levels below my previous one.
But I was learning from a Master.
Today, everybody is a Master Chef.
When I started training, there were twelve.
In the world.
My mentor quickly recognized the intricate, colorful edible garnishes I came up with for my breakfast plates, and I treated them as the items from a 4-star French kitchen that they were, and my obligation, as chef put it, to guarantee “buzz.”
He loved that word and you could hear him buzzing at you at your station if he thought you were meeting his expectations for your performance.
Believe it or not, that was very high praise.
We were only allowed to speak French in his kitchen, which was also fine for the Sommelier, the Pastry Chef, and the Food and Beverage Director, who was German, but also spoke French.
You learned quickly; if you wanted to spend any length of time learning whenever the chef would dole out his precious time to actually teach us the art of French cooking, he treated it like the treat he knew we would think it was.
Chef was short in statue, but tall on ego.
I have no doubt I inherited that bad trait in my chef career.
And he did things you would not believe with spun sugar.
It was also who I knew in several missteps I made in Las Vegas, and then later, in Northern Ohio, that kept me out of getting the justice I deserved and actually going to jail. I always had money to extricate myself out of the stupid shit I was doing, and thank God that nowadays the laws are keeping our roads safer.
Now that Maddogg doesn’t drink anymore, the roads are WAY more safe.