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Has anyone seen the over-night chef?
gourmet articlesarchivestories from the kitchen

Fictitious kitchen stories based on plausible events...

A story of drugs guns and jail time...... New Orleans 1992 - We had been having a bit of a problem with our over night guy - the love of beverage interrupted his life from time to time and his late arrival interrupted ours. Then one day he just did not show up for work. What ever happened to him has never really been confirmed but in true hotel style there has been many an outlandish rumor.

That night we found ourselves in a time of need. The least favored job of the kitchen was open. The cooks scurried like cockroaches, praying not to be - "the chosen one". Then a hero stepped forward. His performance had been somewhat of a roller coaster, but in the weeks leading us up to this even we had seen a new guy. His work had improved and his mood had become very positive to the point of being hyper. He still had the problem of borrowing money from anyone that had not got wind of the rumor - Dan was bad at paying back his loans - not our concern though - this guy just offered to work the overnight shift!

Dan was our man, coming in early to help out on the dinner rush, staying late to help with breakfast. The overnight meals had never been so good. Man this guy was kicking butt. Then the rumors finally got to us........ it could not be true? Was our boy Danny partaking in the use of drugs? Maybe a bit of weed but that is not the worst thing - is it? I had never known of pot heads bouncing around the kitchen at 6:30 am when I rolled in. Other than my dog - no one bounces around when they see me.

The rumors grew but the sous chef team happily remained in denial - that's our over night guy - a modern day hero, of sorts. Then that fateful night came. Dan was a no-show. Our world was crushed. Still in denial we were sure there would be a good explanation.

Three days passed and his termination followed - no call no show for three days equals no job. One week later Dan came in to work he did not let us down either - he had a good excuse in tow.

His new found crack habit had made him a little irrational - although this never effected the overnight meal. On finding that a guy he knew had assaulted an old girlfriend Dan, a friend and a 357 magnum had paid the dude a visit. Two shots later he found himself sitting in the back of a police car.

A murder charge is not the best thing to be up against however the local hospital team were able set him up with the lesser charge of attempted murder. An iffy lawyer got in down to self defense. Dan got about a year and served six months.

After his release he came back to see me - hoping for a job. You have to remember that overnight candidates do not grow on trees. I thought about it for a second - well maybe a split second and then resorted to hotel policy. He understood. Dan left - not as bouncy as he had been the months before, but still intoxicated - this time by freedom and not narcotics.

Its tough to find a good overnight chef.

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