Part 14: New Chef in Town
This is the latest installment in a continuing series that documents my personal quest to become the host of my own cooking show. Since this is a relatively new “career,” there are no vocational programs or community college courses to prepare me for it. From what I have seen, the two most important elements in securing such a position are passion for food and plain old dumb luck. Born with a passion for food, I set out to make my own luck.
New Chef in Town
Roughly a month after I am hired as the executive chef at Mars Hill the church that owns the cafe brings in a new general manager to oversee the operations. That’s a load off my shoulders. The FOH manager is a great guy who works hard but doesn’t have management in his blood. He’s not comfortable being the bad guy. The new GM is perfectly happy being the bad guy if needed. With a new management team in place we were ready to resurrect this noble enterprise.
My job was revamping the menu. I had to make flavorful food that was “wholesome and healthy” and have it out the window in 10 minutes. Well there is nothing healthy about pasta Alfredo plus it took way more than 10 minutes to prepare. Gone. The jerk yellow fin tuna wrap with mango salsa? Though delicious it was hardly ever ordered and therefore led to a lot of spoilage. Gone. The sweet potato hash brown – oh yeah, those were staying. Also gone was the nastiest potato salad ever. Not gone (but should have been) was the nastiest chicken salad ever; it was the one recipe I was forbade to alter.
In just a few weeks the word was out that the food was faster and tastier so people began to notice oft forgotten Mars Hill Cafe once again. Word of mouth is great stuff, press is even better. One day the general manager informed me that the local food editor was coming in to do a story on the cafe’s turnaround and mission. He also informed me that one of the local TV stations wanted me on to demonstrate a dish or two.
That’s right, I was being asked to cook on TV. And here it is, my first ever appearance as a TV chef: