I’m back! Well some of you faithful readers (hi mom!) may have noticed that I have missed my last two Sunday blog posts. Believe me, it wasn’t for lack of trying so let me explain.
I wasn’t sure if I should even write this post honestly. It feels very personal, but then I reread the name of the blog and realize that this is truly what goes on Behind the Kitchen Wall; a kind of dark, less spoken about part of the industry that’s not as much fun as recipes and pictures and cooking with the team. It’s a look at the toll of the work that goes into running a restaurant.
So about two weeks ago, I started to get ill. Not the normal runny nose, bit of a headache, kind of nauseated sick, but a complete body shut down. I was covered in lumps, couldn’t move my limbs without help and tears, had a high fever, a massive headache, and partial loss of vision. My body well and truly gave up on me. There’s been lots of hospital visits, IV hookups and even a day of morphine, and we still aren’t very sure what’s going on. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious and I am no where near the food right now! While I am slowly recovering (I can lift my arms again!), I have had some time to reflect on the business and possibly why I am where I am right now. I have heard from multiple people and a few doctors and nurses that prolonged stress and exhaustion were a likely contributing factor. The thing is, this story is not special or singular in our industry. I know of lots of cooks who have been forced into giving up cooking because their minds or their bodies just stopped. Refused to keep going, even when we desperately wanted them to.
Here was my wake up call. I’ve been forced into home rest for the past two weeks. I’m recovering, my body is back where it needs to be except for the vision loss (thanks husband for helping with this post!) and I am working on getting my mind back in the game. It’s given me lots of time to putter in the garden and get some tasty veg planted for the restaurant but more importantly, it’s forced me to restructure my business so that I can step back a touch. It’s always been the dream to have the freedom to step off the line, start really looking at our menu, pairing wine, discover new recipes and ideas and ingredients, visit the farmers more, and test menu items to perfection. So while I am terrified to be relinquishing running the line everyday, I am so excited to move into this new position. I hope i can make the business better. I hope I can make our food that much more special. I hope I can take the customer experience that step further. I hope this step I’m taking is in the right direction. Wish us luck.