A Day in the Kitchen

by Portfolio Co-Editor on September 13, 2018

Creative Non-Fiction

by Sam Pellman ’20

     It was a humid and sticky day. The clouds were just starting to move, and the sun was beginning to peek through. I parked in my normal spot and immediately felt the hot air on my body. “Ugh, can’t wait to sweat all day today,” I thought to myself, sighing. But, as much as the hot, sunny days sucked and I would sweat from my head to my toes, I’d rather it be a hot day than have it be raining and nasty. See, I work at an outdoor restaurant on the water—well, there is an inside, but it’s mainly outside seating—so of course, I make the most money when it’s nice out. On a rainy day, forget it; not a soul shows up. But on a beautiful summer day, even though I can’t breathe, the money is insane.

     It was 11 a.m., and only one other busboy, a waiter, and I were scheduled to open, which meant we had to set up the outside. This had pretty much become a habit for me. I had just closed last night and here I was again opening the next morning. The sun was glaring down, I could already feel the sweat on my back, and I hadn’t even gone into the kitchen yet. See, I work here as the “runner.” So I’m not waitressing, but I am the person who brings out your food. Unlike most restaurants, the waitresses and waiters here do not bring out the food…like, ever. It’s all me. I’m in the kitchen getting the tickets they send me and making sure everything is in order and that the food is leaving the kitchen in a timely manner. Although it doesn’t seem stressful, my responsibilities are key to the restaurant running smoothly. Without me, the food wouldn’t be out in time or go to the right tables. And when it gets busy…yikes. The cooks honestly turned out to be my best friends. We work as a team. I keep them on track and let them know who’s antsy and why. I knew today was going to be hectic. I was working a double, so I expected to be there until 9:30 p.m. “Just think about the money,” I struggled to remember with every shift.

     Something always happens to keep me from walking out and leaving, so today I was hoping something extra funny would happen. Then my coworker Brendan, the owner’s son, came in. Brendan is probably the sweetest boy I’ve ever met. On the other hand, his dad is the scariest man I’ve ever met. Brendan is my age, so I don’t mind working with him, and it makes the shift go by faster. He waits and runs, but always helps me in the kitchen if I’m the only one on for the day shift.

     The rush started at 12:30 p.m. We were moving pretty steady, the kitchen was working but not exploding, thank gosh. It was boiling in there—the thermostat read 110 degrees. Was I dripping? Yes, most definitely. Brendan was rushing around, but was helping me as much as he could. Then the skies all of a sudden began to darken and the clouds looked gray and ominous. I knew rain was coming. Luckily, lunch was just about over and there was only one table still chatting outside. Brendan just dropped the check and they were about to pay. The man slipped a 50 dollar bill into the holder, and just as he released it from his hand, the wind scooped it up and brought it all the way into the canal! I cringed when I saw the man’s face­—he looked horrified. There went 50 bucks. I know I’d be upset if that were me. But, Brendan being Brendan, had to save the day. And what does he do? He dives into the canal. Luckily I got it on video, because I knew all our coworkers would get a kick out of it in the group chat. Not so much his dad…The table gave him a round of applause and even let him keep the 50 dollars just for his act of heroism. Although Brendan has to live with the reality that we’re all afraid of his dad, he’s one of the most selfless people I know. I’m just lucky to have gotten to work with him for a summer and experience the craziness of “Smuggler Jack’s” each and every day.