Yesterday, for the first time in many years, I went to work and did not change into my whites. I'm still feeling weird about it.
The GM is visiting her sister and I'm filling a bit of her role. Payroll mostly, but other office work as well. Nothing I didn't used to do, before she was gracious enough to take this grossly underpaid position, but things I haven't done in a while.
I'm trying to be out of the kitchen some while training, especially in the day so my guys can learn their rhythm and set their priorities which will give me more time to play with food. So I set about payroll and then dealing with little loose ends and our ongoing Micros dilemma. At this point I will have to either ship or bring the machines in for Micros to repair. We'll be heading to SF next month so I'll see how the GM feels about being with one machine for that long. Seems like it would be cheaper to bring it in on our regular trip but with the price of gas who knows?
By staying in my street clothes I was able to force myself to do some rather boring tasks like reconciling 6 months worth of bank statements. If I had changed my clothes I would have started some kitchen project and tried to go back and forth from kitchen to office, burning everything and royally screwing up the statements.
I love my uniform. Not in a fetishistic way (an instructor of mine said if anyone fell in love with you who had seen you in your whites, marry them because they are some of the least flattering clothes in the world) but in a functional, utilitarian way. I like the idea of changing my clothes when I arrive at work. It puts mind and body on notice that I am now something other than myself. This is why we have insisted the waiters wear uniforms. First, I didn't want to put myself in the position of arbiter of taste and second, I believe putting on your uniform does produce a different mental state.
I do however, have to transcend the working chef role I have filled for years and move toward one where I am supervising more and cutting onions less. Not that I don't enjoy cutting onions, I do. But at this point I am more valuable to the restaurant for other things. Staying out of uniform will keep me focused on that goal.
This does have a price. After baking the shortcakes my day prep guy had done, we saw there was something radically wrong with the results. I'm not sure what he did so I'll have him show me today. Sometimes my recipes confuse new cooks because I write my fractions as decimals so 3/4 cup becomes .75 cup. Until they get used to this mistakes happen. I started doing this because MS Word changes at least some fractions to smaller type and when emailing recipes to people their fractions weren't displaying. I know there's a way to change the setting but I always forget to do it and have developed a different habit. Plus, after one mistake a good cook will pay more attention to the entire recipe.
I probably should start maintaining recipes in a spreadsheet so they can be scaled up or down easily, but that's going to be a major project and I don't know if I'm prepared to be in street clothes for that long.