I’ve learnt that I can teach, and that I have patience. I’ve learnt that working with a person that is your polar opposite can inspire you, and push you. I’ve learnt that traveling to locations for work is not always glamorous. I’ve learnt that developing a menu and training it, comes with an roller coaster of emotional baggage! I’ve also learnt that you are only as strong as your team, and when you prove that you actually know what you are doing, you don’t have to prove that you “belong” (I think that makes sense)
I’ve also learnt to not judge a face, but take time to understand their brain and their emotions. It’s so disfunctional sometimes. You shout, scream, fight, argue, and you come back the next day and do it all over again.
I’ve understood that not everyone is fast, and that they don’t all get it the first time around. I’ve tried to lower my voice, and talk instead of shouting like a complete lunatic. I’ve vented and tried to understand the entire story without getting hot headed (doesn’t work sometimes) because as humans, we always believe that we are right.
It’s really a task. I’m away from home. I miss my creature comforts. I miss the convenience of sleeping in on a Sunday or just a random trip to Woolies. I miss my family and friends, and most of all for some strange reason, my pillow. In saying all of that, the past seven weeks, have been an intense, overwhelming, sometimes draining, always tiring, hurdle after hurdle of complete chaos and energy and personalities and insane talent.
Here the thing. Take 40 people, from all over the world. Some with experience, others not so much. Put them in a kitchen. Train them. Copy, paste, repeat, for 18 hours a day.
Here’s the magic. Watch them come together. Watch them fight, watch them have moments of meltdown, watch them create, watch them inspire. Watch them get it right. Watch their faces when you say hello, watch their reaction when you tell them “well done”
Kitchen staff will forever be pirates. We are a “dysfunctional” batch of people, put into a space, with knives, fire and hot oil. We graft. Hard. We find energy somewhere to keep going, plate after plate, after plate.
The magic happens when we come together. Nothing takes the feeling away of a “good service” or that sauce that comes out right, or even that soufflé that doesn’t flop!
Dubai. You have been tough. Hard. Hectic. Draining. Tiring. But thank you, for all the magic you’ve added to my life and for introducing me to a team that I don’t want to leave.
Natasha, thank you for allowing me to have my way on most things and for meeting me half way a lot of the time. Thank you for your guidance and understanding and for the freedom to be myself in the kitchen.
Just excuse the little shout outs to my kitchen team but they all deserve one
Elze. Oh goodness! Where do I start!!!! Thank you for coming on board. Thank you for your reassuring hugs and for allowing this menu to be so fucking amazing. I’m so proud that I was able to work with you, it was such a learning curve for me, and I will be forever thankful!
Tanith. Thank you for everything. For allowing me to vent, for accommodating me in a space that would be yours to run, for allowing me to make changes, for holding my hand, for your guidance. Thank you for you constant support and for your AMAZING balance that you bring to my complete craziness sometimes.
Johan. Thank you for your dedication to this menu and for making sure that all my needs and wants where made a reality. Thank you for allowing me to change products and suppliers and for not hesitating in making sure that everything on this menu is really phenomenal.
Liberty, Danilo, Chris, Raymar, Kabelo, Virginia, Noks and Rowell. Thank you for your hard work, for your hearts, for your concern, for your smiles, for your ideas, for you commitment. For all your random stories and little comments, for your constant talking and support. You are really the soldiers that have gone to war with me.
Sangiwe, Bianca, Jamie, Manuel, Francis, Ronel and Juliet. I’m sure you are so over table bread, plating lobster pasta, ricotta hot cakes, breakfast vol-au-Vent and making hamburgers, but thank you for your hard work and your smiling faces.
Zandi, Pamela, Raquel, Con, Jay, Nelly, Lexter and Mukai. I’ve watched you all gain more and more confidence in what you do and how you run your sections. Thank you for the laughs, the countless Texas salads and calamari starters.
My Chef line. Blessing, Roy, Thembani, Valentine, Christopher, Moses, Ozzy and Raymond. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for your patience and thank you for your dedication to making sure the lemon butter sauce is just right, and that the ten thousand Lobster catalan that we’ve served comes out perfectly.
Ali and Nishaal, sorry for the headaches and thank you for making sure our stock arrives so that we can cook.
Kairat and Charles. You guys are really such a big part of what happens behind the scenes. Thank you for being patient, for understanding, and for dealing with ALL of our attitudes.
My little babies in Pastry. Bae, Joseph and Nelly. Thank you for learning everything so quickly from Elze, and recreating her vision everyday.
Lastly, Mateus. Thank goodness that you finally arrived! Thank you for bearing with our (mine) temperaments and for understanding all the chaos. You’ve already added value and your ideas and direction have already brought about change.
Ok. Back to work. NEW ORDER!!!!!
(Also, I don’t have photos with my entire team, but stay tuned for that on my Instagram)