This past summer, I held the title of food & beverage manager at The Chequit down in Shelter Island, New York. Those six months challenged me and my team in ways I could never have fathomed. Let this be a kind remembrance of that crazy summer.
I'll always remember that time when:
Freddy and I bleached everything in the kitchen for two weeks.
we continuously stapled the screen back on the outside kitchen door.
we finally pulled off the screen.
I received my first wine order.
the hotel's breakfast chef quit at 1 am—the night before we needed to make a giant breakfast.
we found out from Freddy that the chef quit. The chef brought all of his luggage out while Freddy sat outside smoking. Freddy nodded toward the chef's luggage and with his limited English, said: "Laundry?" The chef commenced to blow up on poor Freddy.
I cooked granola, Jason made chia pudding, and Paul woke up early to make eggs.
Jaime agreed to work as many shifts as she did. She was among the many that saved us.
Dmytro and Maria walked into our restaurant by happenstance.
Amalia, Leslie, Yeimy, and Yary agreed to cook for us after we lost our first executive chef.
Sean went behind the line to cook because we had no one else to do it for a weekend.
Paul did what he was born to do.
the Rational oven, the bar cooler, and two of the kitchen coolers stopped working all at once.
I had Danielle serve while I bartended and had Paul expo during our busiest night of the season.
I blew it.
Jason and I bought $130 worth of ice cream at the Tuck Shop.
we bought a cake while Amalia and Leslie cooked an amazing Guatemalan meal for Yeimy's birthday.
we had those amazing fiestas.
Yeimy made delicious milkshakes.
Yeimy taught me how to make tortillas while singing Leslie's song "Me Gusta Tortillas."
Paul made smoked salmon Benedict.
Yary helped me with my Spanish grammar.
Paul cooked oysters Rockafeller and offered them to guests.
Yary drew Waffles and I.
Freddy hooked up the air conditioners in the food prep area and in the upstairs kitchen.
And, of course, I'll always remember when:
I cleaned out the cooler for the first time. Most of the Bud Lights exploded over the winter.
we cleaned the friar for what appeared to be the first time in a year.
we'd enjoy an adult beverage during Sunday brunch shifts while writing the schedule and going over the payroll.
Jason drove to IGA three times in a day.
Freddy played with the lobsters.
Yary developed her skills in beautifying salads and desserts.
Freddy knocked on my door to give me a cookie.
Paul owned the Perlman Music Program benefit with his Crabby Crab Beignets with Double Duck Hollandaise and Crab Apple Wood Smoked Salmon with Gaufrette potato chip and triple lemon creme fraiche.
Dmytro and I talked crypto and governance for hours.
we were understaffed (dangerously so almost every day).
Jaime and I imbibed an unhealthy amount of lattes.
we hid the good almond milk and eventually the good oat milk in the bar cooler.
Jaime made me a bracelet in one night.
Paul cooked Waffles her first hamburger.
Freddy was being Freddy.
Jason brought us cupcakes.
I ran around like a madman (always).
Gionni crushed it as a busser.
Amalia made the most exquisite Guatemalan meals for me.
a flash flood completely soaked Maria outside on the patio.
the internet went down and we almost had to use the old school Addressograph.
-ever it rained, our amazing team came outside and helped me bring in our napkins, silverware, and cushions.
Jason, Allie, and I put up the patio lights through the tree.
we hung out post-shift at the bar completely exhausted.
in our last week, we napped in the kitchen with an empty restaurant.
I said these magical words for the last time: "Kitchen's closed!"
We endured what I can only describe as the toughest months in all of my years in the restaurant industry. I'm incredibly humbled to have worked with Paul, Amalia, Yeimy, Leslie, Freddy, Yary, Jaime, Dmytro, Gionni, Gabrielle, Steven, Danielle, Maria, Jason, Allie, Pao, Sean, and even Tom. During our bleakest moments, we rose up to the opportunity. I'm immensely proud of the resolve, courage, and benevolence displayed by everyone. Somehow, we not only survived but thrived within all the chaos and turmoil. I love each one of you, and I'll never forget our setbacks, our triumphs, and our time together.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being by my side at Shelter Island.
All My Love,