On November 3, 2015, I was fired.
Sure, they tried to paint a prettier picture when they said, “We have decided to terminate our working relationship moving forward.” As we all know, sadly, you can’t polish a turd. The truth of the matter wouldn’t set in right away, but the panic attack that I had in the parking lot was pretty damn real. I’m married with two kids and I had no idea what to do. I made it home before my wife and the kids got back from the library, so I had plenty of time to hate everything as I stared at the ceiling.
My wife received the news surprisingly well. She directed me to go to the unemployment office with a few very choice expletives intertwined into the dialogue. She wasn’t mad at me, as much as she was mad at the situation. Although at this point I felt like I hated myself, so I had no idea how she could even tolerate me. On my way to the office she called me to reassure me that things would be ok. I almost half believed her at this point when, after a 20-minute drive, I learned that the unemployment office was closed. I forgot that it was Election Day. I really didn’t need any more ammo for hating that day.
That night, on her way back from a client’s house, Natasha stopped at our favorite local restaurant and got a job. She came home to tell me that since she was now going to be working and I had unemployment coming in, I could take this time to figure out what I wanted to do. I never thought of doing anything other than working as a chef, but she was right. Food is my passion and that will never change, but now I can take a step back and look to see if there is a different way to express my love of food and cooking. Natasha was willing to slow down her training as a postpartum doula to let me find what I wanted.
I now have the opportunity to reestablish my relationship with my daughters and my wife. We are going to repurpose the dining room that normally is unused to put in an indoor garden. I am going to hone the cooking skills that were going dormant, by baking and making as much from scratch as I can to save money. I have the opportunity to become a contributing member of my family and not just a paycheck that they see in passing.
“Mistaken Chef” is a moniker that I have been toying with for a while. It is not only a play on my last name, but a little look into the path that I have taken and how it has lead me to become a chef. I’m not sure if this blog is meant for strangers, for friends who are interested in what’s new, or for me to attempt to stay sane. I’m inviting anyone and everyone out there to come along on the journey with me as I attempt to reinvent myself as a chef, a husband, and a father. I hope to document my attempts to network in the culinary world, explore cooking methods that excite me, and try and be the man that has been missing from my family for the last 2 years.
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