• Inside the mind of a restauranteur

    by Dorothy Ildiz

    Now and Then…

    When you least expect it, a column will actually write itself.  I thought I would share this exchange of e mails between my dear friend and first time business owner, Tamie Aceves, of Crema in Pacific Grove which has just celebrated its’ first year in business. As all restaurateurs are aware …that first year is the worst year. The honeymoon is short-lived and the unexpected is the norm. Tamie and I have been walking through her first year together and she has just reached that point where you feel as if you truly have a handle on the damned thing…. Please enjoy this hilarious insight into what a restaurateur feels and thinks about their world. From: Tamie
    To: dorothy maras
    Sent: Tue, Oct 1, 2013 6:05 pm
    Subject: sooooo. . . .

    What a queer thing to feel so exhausted and so energized at the same time.    I have gone through, cleaned and organized every space in my kitchen, every shed every storage space.

    I know how many staplers we own (7), how many sugar free caramel monin syrups (15-more than we will use in 4 years, keep that in mind if you order it in 2017), I know that we have 8 bottles of nut oil (4 open which are probably about to go bad), I know every spice and chili pepper we have (6 varieties of dried pepper). . .

    I know every utensil and serving piece, every piece of equipment.  I know that I can get a giant can of pineapple at Smart & Final for less than the cost of two small cans at the grocery store.

    I know that I have a loyal staff that loves me. . .and I know that leaving the office to check up on one of my staff members; who celebrated a year of sobriety last month, who calls in sick  the day after her boyfriend breaks up with  her. . .and hugging her as she tells me how hard it is not to use is one of the most important things I did over the past two years. . . Though the fact that I have created an amazing wedding weekend for 40 couples over the past year and a half feels pretty special to me too.

    I know that I am a certifiable restaurant geek because I get a rush from the smell of sanitizer. . .and that having a bottle of that and a clean bar rag. . .ahhhhh,  the process of cleaning my prep tables always lifts my spirits.

    I know that I love what I do.  It is so freaking awesome to have someone in my life who loves this crazy world as much as me.

    that’s all xo T

    From: Dorothy

    To: Tamie

    Sent: Tues. October 2, 2013 9:35 AM

    Ohhh Tamie,

    Awww yes,that brief respite between chaotic moments….congratulations on finding all 7 of your staplers. This is indeed vital to any operation of any quality. In the event of a sugar-free caramel monin syrup crisis, I will keep your number under emergency contacts in my phone. You just never know when someone will require an IV of that stuff to sweeten up their disposition, right?

    Please test the nut oils for rancidity and proceed accordingly. Google “What to do with lots of Nut Oils” and see what comes up. Maybe, some sort of stocking stuffers??

    Hugs are vitally important for all staff members (and yourself as well). They go a long, long way in quelling the demons that possess us at times. She will remember that hug for a lifetime, as will you. 40 couples are indeed lucky to have you at the helm of their nuptials. Hopefully, they will all remain married, but if not…..repeat business is never ‘a bad thing’.

    Now, about that sanitizer scent…you are indeed a restaurant geek. However, there are different levels of accomplishment in the world of geek-dom.

    1. General sanitizer geeks- G.S. is their proper designation- i.e. windex and a bar towel.

    2. Advanced sanitizer geeks- or A.S.G. – those who thrive on getting their high from things like – bar keepers’ friend, brasso and kitchen degreasers.

    3. Master sanitizer geeks – M.S.G. for short (and you thought this stood for monosodium glutamate..ha !)  – for the truly twisted who enjoy the distinct scent of enzymes eating away at the swill that lives in restaurant grease traps. Now, that is truly SICK.

    So, as you can see you have a few more levels to climb in your progress to M.S.G. I have faith that you will climb this mountain, just as you have scaled the small hills, deep valleys, endless crevasses and forged the rushing rivers of the first year restaurateur. Congratulations and keep your waders water-tight.

    xoxo D

    3. Master sanitizer geeks – M.S.G. for short (and you thought this stood for monosodium glutamate..ha !)  – for the truly twisted who enjoy the distinct scent of enzymes eating away at the swill that lives in restaurant grease traps. Now, that is truly SICK.

    So, as you can see you have a few more levels to climb in your progress to M.S.G. I have faith that you will climb this mountain, just as you have scaled the small hills, deep valleys, endless crevasses and forged the rushing rivers of the first year restaurateur. Congratulations and keep your waders water-tight.

    xoxo D

    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 24, 2013

    Topics: Food For Thought

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