I titled this post as such because although it was an awesome year, one of the best by far, it wasn't an easy year by any means. It seems especially fitting since I closed out 2008 going down in flames at work. Rough night of service, New Year's Eve. Though all of our guests were happy as clams and the menu was fantastic, I was behind on prep the minute I walked in the door, still prepping well into dinner service, and I cooked a record 53 steaks to order, not all of them to the proper temperature. Goes without saying that it didn't exactly go smoothly. I felt really terrible, but in order to refocus I tried not to beat myself up too badly during service. I saved the self-beating-up for today instead while nursing my weird work-thrashed hangover. Heh.
(I should clarify that none of those improperly cooked steaks went out to customers. Neither my chefs nor I would ever send out something that wasn't up to the high standards they've set. We got only positive comments from the customers and front of house staff that night, but hey, every cook has their rough nights.)
Worry not, kiddies, I did manage to turn it around at the end of last night, following my chef's orders to "finish strong", and enjoy a sip of champagne with my coworkers as the clock struck midnight.
2008 itself as a complete year, however, was an absolute dream.
I moved to Portland into a great apartment.
I reconnected with long lost friends, and made lots of new ones.
I enrolled in culinary school.
I landed a kitchen rookie's dream job.
I "found" myself in the kitchen.
I set a record for most finger cuts and arm burns in a year.
I worked my ass off like I've never done before... and loved it.
I bonded with my family, visiting them in faraway places, and honored the ones I missed the most.
I met my new family: my fellow cooks and coworkers.
I gained amazing mentors, from my culinary school instructors and especially my chefs at work.
I turned 28.
I successfully completed culinary school and my externship.
I ate some amazing meals.
I made some pretty good meals myself.
March 2008. Look at me, so naive...
I hope that this year will be the year I focus on the path I want to take, and make my family and my school and work mentors really proud. I owe so much of my growth this past year to them, and I really hope I'll do their teaching some justice.
So happy new year, everybody. Here's to life-changing, course-altering moments. Can't wait to see what happens this year.