This week, I am sitting down to write my blog post with aching feet, a fresh sunburn from farm work, and some eager anticipation for the weekend’s brunch rush. While every part of me feels drained right now, mentally and physically, I know that my energy will surge as soon as the first clicks of the ticket machine start sounding off tomorrow morning.
Growth becomes much more easily measured when you consider the things that used to frighten or intimidate you and how you’ve moved past them. It may be a minor thing, but each and every feat holds power. As silly as it seems, for me, it was the concept of making perfect french omelets on the fly for customers who pay a pretty penny to eat breakfast at the inn here on the farm. All of my previously conceived notions of my egg cookery skill was challenged on the infamous egg day that I went through in culinary fundamentals. Even though I once thought I was great at making eggs, on that day in class I couldn’t achieve a perfectly smooth and soft omelet or flip an over easy without breaking the yolk. It set me up to question my capabilities for the breakfast shift.
When I started my first day on the breakfast shift last week, the prices of each dish felt like they were glaring at me from the menu that hung on our wall. I would analyze every plate I put out and decide how I’d feel as the diner who paid for it, how it would impact their morning and subsequently the rest of their day, and whether they’d take a few reluctant bites or scarf it down happily. With that anxiety weighing me down, I rushed through my first orders, ultimately being told to dump the ones that didn’t make the cut in the compost tub that was parked next to us for that very reason. My failed attempts were piling up in the compost, a sight that gave me pain in my stomach. But not too long into that first shift, I started to become comfortable with the heat of the fire under my pan while learning to heighten and trust my senses and intuition towards the task I was doing. Each day after that, the compost pile of reject eggs got smaller as I followed the tips from my mentors, and my practice started to pay off visibly. I had a choice to make on the first day, was I going to crumble under the pressure and my fear of failure, or if I was going to swallow my pride and absorb all of the advice I was given without shame. It’s easy to take critique as offensive and shut down, but it is much more productive to welcome the critique as a push to perform. Only a week later, I was nicknamed the Egg Queen by my head chef, and the compost bin has been pushed to the other side of the kitchen because it’s no longer needed. When the incoming ticket sound starts chirping, I excitedly wait by the machine, hoping to see an order of French omelets come through. That simple symbol of growth is a sign for all to tackle their next challenge with gusto.