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Eternal Sunshine of the Pasta Mind

by Marcel Grabowiecki 10 days ago in restaurants

It's all about the range.

Padella Shoreditch

Is working in a restaurant something I want as my future career? No. I mean, never say never, but for now, no. Do I judge the idea of it? Absolutely not. My mom has worked in almost every industry over the last thirty years. And when I say this, I actually mean it. This woman had her own food truck, worked in a pharmaceutical company, and was a film make-up artist. And that is just a modest 1% of all the things. In her 40s, though, she realized that what brings her most joy is being a waitress in a great restaurant. As simple as that. And I can totally understand that.

Being a waiter/waitress is a beautiful yet very underrated and undermined profession. I love being a waiter/host. There, I said it. You bring a smile to people's faces every day and deliver the most satisfying thing in the world- food. You learn about the products, meet the suppliers, taste the new dishes, laugh with customers, mock the customers. I'm just kidding. Or am I? When you work in an outstanding venue, the dining experience gets a whole other level of greatness.

It didn't take me long to realize that my job is like its pasta menu. There are some things I like less, there are also things I adore, but it doesn't change the fact that overall, I love it. Why do I love my job? Well, I'll let the pasta do the talking.

1. Because... it's spicy like

Fettuccine with nduja

There is always a bit of spiciness needed, a hint of drama. A bartender snapping on waiters for not leaving the dirty glasses on the tray, a kitchen chef getting red because a new waiter dropped food on the wrong table. The overall stress vibe because a manager woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Did I ever cry at work? Yes, but I like to think it's a common thing. Okay, maybe not very common, but what can I do? I'm a very emotional creature. I still think about this one time I dropped the nduja Fettucine (that contains sausage) to a vegan. The fault was not mine, but still, I was the one who got the big drama wave right in my face. Oh well, life without drama wouldn't be the same. And I oddly can't wait for tomorrow morning when the faulty printer stops working a minute before opening when I need to print the menus. It's a thrill that hits better than iced coffee. It hits you like the spicy kick in our nduja fettuccine.

2. Because... it's as heartwarming as

Pappardelle with beef shin

My workplace was born out of pure passion, just like the recipe for a beef shin pappardelle. It took 11 years for the owner to master this gem. And wow, it really was worth it. I love when you eat a plate of exquisite food, and it warms your heart when you feel the love that someone put into it. That's another thing I love experiencing every day at work. The passion for good, honest food. Imagine spending 11 years perfecting your signature dish and having people queue for three hours to try it. Things like that come out of passion and love for what you do.

3. Because... it's as simple as

Gnocchi with nutmeg butter

You're not one of those "trying too hard" venues where everything feels a little bit pretentious. Quality comes first. You are a long-held dream of opening a pasta restaurant serving fresh, hand-rolled pasta with delicious sauces and fillings. That's it. There's no magical Roman granny recipe involved or super cool marble plates, only countless bags of flour standing as strong as your reputation.

4. Because... it's bold like

Tagliarini with crab

I will never forget when we had to shut down for the first-ever lockdown. We only just opened the restaurant, and its future was unknown. The owners told us they would do anything to keep us employed. Hearing that from a crying owner with a breaking voice was as heartwarming as it was heartbreaking. But here we are, a year later, the restaurant is stronger than ever, and the pasta rolling never sees the end. It takes balls to keep the ball rolling.

5. Because... it's as challenging as

Tagliarini with nettles

Do I hate you sometimes? 100%. Especially when we're understaffed, and I need to do a 3 people job by myself. I also don't understand why sometimes you order a diet coke instead of a regular one for staff drinks. Like, do we love ourselves? It is as tricky to meet your standards as placing an egg yolk on top of the nettle tagliarini. But standards are good, and I like a little challenge. The devil is in the details, and you've got that one covered. Also, thank you for making me be on my feet for twelve hours a day. I can at least tell myself that a decade in ballet school was worth something after all.

I can't wait for tomorrow. Do I get to eat a leftover chocolate tart? Is the printer ever going to work with no issues? How many guests will laugh at my jokes? How many times am I going to pretend I laugh at their jokes? Are we going to have gnocchi for staff food?

I guess I'll find out in a few hours, but two things are for sure.

1. I am definitely going to eat the leftover tart.

2. I will do what I love and spread that love to everyone deciding to dine with us tomorrow and any other day that I'm lucky enough to work with all those pasta enthusiasts.


Marcel Grabowiecki

Look at you doing what you once thought you couldn't do.

Actor / Writer

@marcelgrabowiecki on Instagram

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