As it is in the reality of the restaurant world, no one flashed a smile at me in New Orleans and proclaimed me Top Sous-Chef. There was no physical reward. Nothing personally to play for and win. I had never met Josea prior to those moments when we were introduced. Hell, I haven’t even been able to spell his name correctly half the time here on this blog. But, in all honesty there was plenty of incentive. And it’s the same thing that drives every serious chef. Regardless of the challenge, or title, or reward. You just want to do your best and make people happy. It’s a simple driving force. And one that lies within every great sous-chef.
As we entered the yard of the museum, I’ll be honest, I was just really happy to be there. I’ve missed the competition immensely. It’s a thrill to compete, and I was going to drop any ego and push as hard as I could for whomever I got paired with. It didn’t matter to me who that was. And it may sound brash, but I knew I could help any one of them win. I wanted to win.
When Hosea picked me first, I was truly honored. It’s been awhile since I’ve played kickball, dodgeball, or any other schoolyard sports, but no one wants to be the last kid picked. To be the first chosen, that’s both thrilling and unnerving.
I was ready to be a great sous-chef. A partner in the ideation process. An editor. And quite honestly, the blue collar workhorse. As far as I was concerned, and as Hosea and I agreed early on, we were in this together. He encouraged me to contribute intellectually. And I did. He asked me to troubleshoot and consult. And I did. He asked for me to provide entry-level prep work. And I did.
Truth be told. I was ready to physically tackle either Stefan, Carla, Tom, or Padma, upon the order from my chef. Just like any quality sous.