the magic of the experience
Interning at a 2 Michelin star kitchen - 🧵 for story number seven:
Some of my friends have asked "has working at the 2-star restaurant ruined the magic of dining there? Would you go back to eat there?"
I chuckled at the question - it's a nuanced answer, not a simple yes or no.
From a literal perspective, working at the restaurant has not detracted from any of my prior experiences as a guest. How could it? It's already happened.
Ok, ok, I'm being cheeky. I'll stop sidestepping the question.
My answer is that the magic was replaced by narratives. And like learning a language, it's a one way street - once you learn it, you can no longer hear gibberish.
Part of this rationalization is that inherent in the word "magic" is the fact that you don't have a working explanation for why something occurs.
Once I had more context, whether by understanding the process or by being in the trenches with the people who work with the food day-in and day-out, I was able to build narratives around the unknowns.
This lessens the magic in a way where the unknowns become more known. When you're operating more in the realm of knowns rather than unknowns, you have more explanations, and therefore less magic.
When I return to eat, I'll have a hard bias to shake. I won't be able to separate the narratives of the chefs and the food. They would be one and the same. I won't be able to view the dishes in isolation anymore.
Instead, I would see stories.
Stories of the time we almost ran out of peas and the executive sous was downstairs prepping them as fast as we were serving them (clutch 💪).
Stories of the CDC staying up until 3am, experimenting and perfecting that super-duper-special-occasion hazelnut soufflé. 😋
Stories of the heroic dishwashers that somehow keep the entire night going, dishing out (pun intended) clean plates for the guests. 🐙
Stories of the unseen commis downstairs ravaging through hundreds of pounds of produce, washing, cleaning, picking, prepping, working faster than I could ever imagine (or keep up). 🌿🌱🍄🐟
And of course, seeing a glimpse of the layers upon layers of flavors that go into each dish, and experiencing the logistics of the whole entire operation that keep the restaurant going. 🔨
So, in a way, the magic will be gone, but there'll be a different kind of magic that takes its place, which is an unbelievably cop-out answer to the original question. But it's the one you'll get. 😜