Full circle. I’ve had my hands in food since I was a young-un. At 12, I was flipping pizza in a converted bread truck. We had an oven in it and the side would open up to serve customers. We would travel around to colleges and softball games plying our wares until we acquired a store front. This was my initiation into over-the-top customer service.
At 15 years and three months, my mother wrote a hardship letter to City of Somerville School Committe, relieving me of my stellar academic efforts. 🙂 I was gone and never looked back. Until I G.E.D’ed to study music at Berklee College of Music years later.
I’ve been banging around in kitchens in one way or another ever since. Correctional institutions, the Army and major culinary sweat shops, is where you could always find me, behind a hot stove, serving up the delicacies of the day. Always loved the idea of making someone’s dining experience enjoyable. An act of love that not always made it into my personal life.
Interestingly, when I entered the Dupont sales force, my kitchen skills proved invaluable. I would commandeer restaurants and hotel kitchens to ensure that my evening with my targeted thought leaders would go off swimmingly. I would usually show up earlier in the day and meet with the staff to pick my seating and give them instruction on service and the wine list.
I gave them my AMEX card, told them not to drop the check at the end to avoid any embarrassing gestures, and add 20% to the evening unless they heard differently from me. I always loved it when a plan came together. It was how I turned micro into macro.
At times, depending on the target, and how badly I needed their business, I would call Legal Seafoods on the east coast and have them ship me a case of live lobster, steamers and chowder, along with a pot to cook in. When the FedEx’d crate hit my intended victim’s door, so did I. I wore a Dupont apron while I served, told jokes and played their piano. I even washed all the dishes at the end. Not part of my corporate sales training by any stretch.
Upper management neither condemned nor condoned. They preferred to look the other way as the coffers filled up. Much to the chagrin of my field sales contemporaries, who sometimes cried fowl. 🙂
Recently, I was offered an opportunity to fold my passions into a unique soufflé that will satisfy my diverse, creative tastes. I am joining an outfit that offers a rich, personal gourmet dining experience.
It will offer me sales, marketing, deep customer empathy, online marketing, over-the top service, and even blogging, to highlight my cheffing skills and ensconce me back into the lifestyle I have been part of all of my life.
So it’s time I headed back through those swinging kitchen doors, because after all, I could always stand the heat.