Own Your Mistakes

*Hot! Knife! Behind! Order up!*

When I was 22 I worked at a fine dining restaurant as a line cook. It was ‘open concept’. The kitchen was ‘open’ to the rest of the restaurant.

30 + tables could see us cook and hear us laugh, swear, and yell.

A Friday night in the mid-2000s in July, (one of the hottest nights we had on record in my city) I was working at the restaurant in question – salad and dessert section. I would put together spinach salads and creme brules.

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Our spinach salad was made with pecans, dressing, and large spinach.

I plated a salad and put it up in the window. I turn to get something out of the fridge and I hear from the other end of the line:

“Who THE FUCK made this spinach salad?!?” said the head chef/owner (he was visiting and helping us cook).

I did not hesitate. I put my hand up, “I did.”

The cooks, servers, and rest of the people in the restaurant turned and looked at me.

“Don’t you EVER put that many pecans on there again!” said the head chef.

“Okay.” I said. Face went red. I was sure I was going to be fired.

The dinner rush ended. We cleaned up and went home.

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That night when I was falling asleep I thought I was going to wake up and not have a job the next morning.

I woke up. No phone call or message. I still had my job.

Same deal as before – night time dinner rush on the weekend in the middle of the summer in a hot kitchen.

I plated a spinach salad. Turned to get something from the fridge then I hear, “Who THE FUCK made this spinach salad?!?” the head chef said.

I did not hesitate. I put my hand up, “I did.”

“Everyone stop cooking.” said the head chef.

He looked up and down the line at all the cooks, “THIS is how you make a proper spinach salad. D, good job.”

I was barely able to hold back a smile.

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After the dinner rush, and when the restaurant emptied out a bit, the owner gave us cooks 2 cases of beer to drink.

Respect earned.

I knew that night and I knew growing up – the quicker you own up to your mistakes the faster the problem can be resolved.

Speak up. Don’t throw anyone under the bus. Take responsibility for your actions.

You do not need to apologize every time you make a mistake. Everyone makes them everyday. But you’ll never learn from failure if you cannot accept that you fucked up in the first place.

Learn from your mistakes, own them, and continue refining your character to become the best version of yourself you can be.

*Hot! Knife! Behind! Order up!*

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3 thoughts on “Own Your Mistakes”

  1. Working in a kitchen one of the most frustrating things is when someone doesn’t own up to their mistake.
    Many a times I’ve heard the same shit, “uh, I don’t know” or “it wasn’t me” or the worst “it wasn’t my fault, you see…” It doesn’t matter what the conditions are you are responsible for yourself.
    I wish some guys in my kitchen would read this article, they just might learn something.
    Great read

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by Graybusch (haha great name).

      I will admit that I have been the younger guy making those same excuses.

      But I eventually learned a couple of things:

      1. Maybe it is not everyone else in the restaurant that sucks, maybe I am doing things others do not like.

      2. Tempers flair when the tempature goes up in the kitchen. I wish I had learned some mindfulness strategies when I was younger so I could calm the fuck down and instead come up with solutions on the fly so as to move on and keep working away and give our customer the best version of our product.

      3. Taking responsibility for my mistakes. So what if you get yelled at? It is way better to get disciplned by your superiors, and learn from your mistakes, than it is to never learn and end up chopping your finger off, spilling hot fryer oil on yourself, or even putting your coworkers in danger because you are being lazy.

      I took years for me to learn and adopt better working habits.

      Over the years I have heard others make the same excuses you shared.

      Having a coworker that understands the grind, has an appreciation for a hard days work, and tries their best every shift, is not that common. That is why one must strive to become that type of coworker. Someone people can rely on.

      You never know Graybusch, try dropping some knowledge on the guys inthe kitchen, maybe one will come around. It can happen https://dcllive.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/the-johnny-appleseed-effect/

      Like

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