I've tried it all: meditation, yoga, do not disturb mode on my iPhone, deep breathing, jogging, pushups. As a chef and small business owner, the day never ends. The week never pauses, and the responsibilities never take a break.
My dirty little secret? I love it! I enjoy all the ups and downs, the anxieties, the delicious dishes, late deliveries, new menu testing, menu planning, broken pipes and robot coupes, daily human resource frustrations. I love the people I work with. The cooks, the dishwashers, the chefs, the servers, the bartenders, the cashiers and my partners - they all uniquely drive me crazy and make me happy. This life is fuller and richer than I ever imagined when I dreamed all those dreams in block one of culinary school.
But I still need a break sometimes. As I've gotten older - my knees creakier and my tolerance for the spiciest dish on the Thai menu waning - I've realized that moments of escape and relaxation are essential to maintaining my health, both physically and mentally.
When I think of escapes, few things in this world fill me with more wonder, joy, and peace than cookbooks. My favorite thing about being a chef is the total awareness that I will never know it all. I will die with dishes uncooked, ingredients never tasted, and techniques never tested. In my career I have learned so much, and yet, when I open a cookbook, I feel as though I am peaking into an alternate food life that reveals how much left there is to know.
To sit with a pile of cookbooks and a couple of hours to spare is a chance to learn, dream, and challenge my assumptions. Flipping through a cookbook is a break that returns me to the reasons I started this journey.