It would remember our opening in June of 2014, and it would probably laugh quite a bit at our naive optimism. The stove would remember our original chef, Wally Siebel, working 90+ hour weeks doing all he could to keep up with our first few month, while fighting to keep the payroll in check.
It would remember the first health inspection. The inspector we got has a reputation for being challenging, but she was so impressed that we were given the green light that day with a short list if simple improvements.
The stove would remember thousands of entrees being created and warmed and sampled and refined. And the smells, oh the smells; the aroma of garlic and onions and herbs and soups and sauces and desserts. The stove sat close enough to the grill to enjoy the amazing smell of steaks and chicken and pork grilling each day and just close enough to the smoker outside to enjoy our favorite smell of all… our house made bacon.
Most of all, the stove would remember our team. Abbie moving from a high school dishwasher that first summer to a key leader on the grill on our busiest nights. Peggy and Chris and Ryan and Brad and Emery and Jeff, growing as kitchen professionals as they work tirelessly to keep up with the ever changing menu and flavor combinations that are thrown at them – often without a recipe at first.
It would talk about John, our seasoned veteran Chef, with more experience than several others all put together, giving us everything he had each night and taking the occasional rest in his car to build up enough fight to get back on the line for one more dinner rush. And Greg, who joined us with far less experience than the others but a desire to grow and become a professional– and what a professional he has become.
I am sure it would talk most about Josh, our Executive Chef. He arrived with all of the passion and energy he brings every day and he did his best to contain it as he learned about our team. His passion and talent pushed the stove and the staff harder than they had been pushed before, and they rose to the challenge. But the old stove just couldn't keep up as well as the team so, as difficult as it is to say good bye sometimes, the stove knew, as we all did, that we had outgrown it.
We said good-bye with a heavy heart but we also know that the new unit is what we need to do our jobs better. It is tough to enforce expectations if you don’t give your team the tools they need to deliver; we always say.
I am sure that the stove would want to add, as a final good bye, that for sure Good Things Happen in Jake’s Kitchen.