I like to think that we are more than sugar and butter enablers. The kitchen crew in particular is part of an ensemble. When folks we care about move on, it is reminiscent of a cast change in a long running show. Let’s be honest, change is hard.
Even on mornings when the baristas are too busy to ply us with caffeine, we are a welcoming bunch. Once a new member of the kitchen crew scores their first baking sheet pan burn, (generally on flesh situated above an oven mitt and below a t-shirt sleeve) they become inextricably part of the team.
I would never refer to the kitchen as confidential. We are more kitchen confidants, sharing intimate details of our lives beyond the bench. Our idea of standing around the water cooler is to hover around a Costco-sized bag of Krinkle Cut potato chips. No stories are too mundane, no opinions are ever left unspoken. We repeat and embellish, re-enact I Love Lucy episodes, recap dog park shenanigans. Favorite movie musicals are performed with both lyrics and choreography. There is endless banter about the weather, the Village parking authority, customers we love and those we loathe. Both verbal and non-verbal reactions to the Bunny Hop and Volare are interspersed with some pretty good moves in conjunction with anything Motown or 80s. A few of us have been known to scold and chastise in motherly fashion not simply because we’re old enough, but because we play mothers in real life. This also gives us free rein to worry.
There's a constant exchange of verbal recipes, freshly baked sourdough breads (courtesy of Emily) and sadly in the cold and flu season, a fair share of germs. Each player takes a turn, red noses conspicuous against flour-dusted cheeks. Though none of us (except our fondant artist extraordinare) can boast a background in medicine, we alternate playing the role of doctor, advising and prescribing for any and all ailments. We have even diagnosed each other's malaised cellular devices, tossing around such words as gigawatts and gigahurtz. I can offer little assistance in this area, although I can say with authority that between my neck and my back, everything hurts.
Often, it’s not until people move on that you realize what a swell party it’s been. Baylee and Emily exit the building this week, leaving a huge void in the kitchen. Both women are part of a rare culinary breed, extremely talented and two of the most splendid people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I would be lying if I didn't admit to being the slightest bit jealous of the fabulous opportunities awaiting them and the music they will be listening to as they embark on their journeys. Truth be told, I miss them already.