Wednesday, April 15, 2009

it ain't where i been/but where i'm bout to go

cooks are all hustlers. if you work in a kitchen long enough, you become one. {i'm not implying we all start out that way}

maybe it's because kitchens are such transient places, and we meet at the intersections between revolving doors, the borders of stations, in the walk-in.

i've been running into cooks and other restaurant i used to work with over the last few days. the questions are always the same:

where are you working now? or me? how's that going for you?

they tell me about the jobs they want/need/left/think i should get, or vice versa. they tell me about the other people that have moved on, ask who i am still in touch with.

cooking is a tiny community in this town, and a cook worth his salt usually has his ear to the pipeline. maybe he's pulling doubles working for his friend's new place, or he knows they're hiring, and hey, you need a coupla shifts? he'll hook you up. maybe he's afraid his gig is gonna go south, and he needs the hookup.

hey, you know this place? oh i saw their ad on craigslist. you should apply.

hey, i need a good pastry person, did that girl you used to work with find something?

it's the hustle. in an unlevel playing field, information is currency--especially in this economy--and so we trade it in whispers on street corners, sliding back from the group to catch up before moving on separately.

i'll call you we say. or i'll stop by. in through the back door.

i get phone calls, occasionally. people trying to pass on information or pick up information, people trying to hustle me into something that suits us both. there's no meanness about it. it's just the game. in this town.

bacon n eggs by orin optiglot

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