Bobby Flay tells us what it took to get him in the kitchen.
What happened was my father had called me over to his office at Joe Allen's to talk to me about life, because I had just dropped out of high school for probably the last time. And he looked at me and he said, well, go get a job, you know?
And my father is a very, to this day, very scholarly guy. I mean, he goes to school for this, that and the other thing. And he said to me, go get a job. Like this is-- you're not just going to hang out with your friends in the street corner. And then the very next day, he called me at home, and he said, OK-- he didn't ask me, he told me. He said tomorrow, you're going to be the busboy here for two weeks. Two weeks, because the busboy has to go back home to the south or something where his grandmother is not feeling well and he'll be back in two weeks. And obviously, I'm going to give him his job back.
Two weeks went by. The busboy came back. And I was literally walking out of the restaurant, and the chef said, do you want a job in the kitchen? And I went like this, sure. I mean, literally. Like, only because I had nothing to do that afternoon.
You know, if I had some-- if I had some big plans that afternoon, like hanging out with my friends and playing pool or something, it wouldn't have happened. And basically, he started me in the pantry. He should have started me in the dishwasher.
Right. That's the classic--
Which I then made-- yeah, I made it back to the dishwasher later on. But he started-- he was like, he took pity on me and started me in the garde manger station, or in the case of Joe Allen's, the salad station. And that's how I started cooking.
First of all, let me just go back and say that when I first started working, there were days where I was like an hour and a half late, because I was just so immature and irresponsible and 17. And you know, I remember turning the corner and seeing my father standing on the steps. Now, he knew my schedule, obviously.
And there would be moments where I'd be like, should I just turn around and just forget it, you know? And I would sort of go there and take my verbal beating, so to speak. And you know, he would just be so angry about, like, what are you doing? Like, you have a job. This is your responsibility. You're getting paid. Like, do not be late.
But then about six months into it, I remember waking up one morning, staring at the ceiling, and saying to myself, I'm really looking forward to going to work today. It just happened one day. Like obviously, some things had happened. Maybe that week that got my interest going, I learned something new that kept my interest. Or you know, it could have been a small thing, like a knife skill or some sort of cooking technique. And from that point forward, I really looked at it differently.
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