One Step Closer to Senility

January 22, 2008

It is nearly impossible to write anything substantive after closing a restaurant kitchen. Muscles ache. Your skin is covered in a thin film of dish detergent, food oils, and your own sweat. Vaporized cleaning solvents burn your sinuses. The liver whines for abuse.

I’ve only been closing kitchens for a year or so. I started in the dishpit at Gabriel’s Gate, home of the best wings in Buffalo, NY, home of the best wings anywhere. (Exception: The Ale House in Troy, NY, serves the best wings I’ve ever tasted, though they’re not as filling as the raptor legs at the Gate.) During my training, I learned about “The Mixture,” the brew of about a half gallon of bleach and a half gallon of degreaser the dishwashers swabbed the deck with each night after close. The Gate’s kitchen runs at about 105 degrees with the hoods roaring and the firedoor open. It’s about 6′ x 20′ and with all the sinks, prep tables, and appliances there’s about two and a half feet of walking space that runs down the center. It was this floor that I scrubbed each night…

I’ve forgotten what my point was. Seriously. I just spent about twenty minutes petting my cat and failing to come up with adequate metaphors for the culture shock of entering the kitchen world, and I’ve lost my train of thought. Something about the neurological effects of inhaling pure chlorine. Well, I’ll get her next time.

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