A New Hope

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Not the Star Wars movie.

I had my interview at Fancy James Beard Award Winning Chef’s Restaurant today. I was so anxious as it was my first job interview in this industry and really the first one since I interviewed for my office job almost 5 years ago. I had trouble falling asleep as I kept rehearsing my answers to the expected questions (tell me about yourself, strengths and weaknesses, etc.) and when I finally rested, I was startled awake having forgotten what the fifth Mother Sauce was in case they asked. (They are, by the way, veloute, bechamel, hollandaise, espagnole, and tomate.)

But I arrived, on time and nerves intact, at the loading dock behind the restaurant as instructed by the sous chef who had called me. I was greeted by a guy loading up boxes of produce who, with a southern drawl, informed me that I could not in fact park there and that the sous chef “done lied to ya, home girl!” Luckily I had some time to spare and moved my car to the underground parking structure.

In the building, I had to check in with Security who had someone escort me past the HR office and into the kitchen of the restaurant. There I met one of the other sous chefs, a friendly youngish female, and the chef of the hotel’s other restautant who both conducted my interview. I was told to expect this but it still surprised me that the very first question asked me what I knew about the James Beard Award Winning Chef. They were more than satisfied with my answer, saying that I “hit the nail on the head.” Yay!

Being part of the hotel (though functioning like a freestanding restaurant) meant that the rest of the interview consisted primarily of HR-mandated personality questions arranged in a worksheet that they filled out as I talked. Thankfully, they broke up the monotony by discussing more “normal” interview topics in between questions. Topics like perks and benefits. WHAT? It took all of my professionalism and willpower not to let my jaw drop as they mentioned health, dental, vision, 401k, and discounted stays and meals at the sister restaurants and properties in the hotel group.

I put my best foot forward and I think it went well. The biggest clue was that toward the end, the sous chef started phrasing things like “when you start working here…” instead of “if.” She also told me I should be hearing from HR with an offer later this week. Ahhh!

This would be an amazing opportunity to learn the crazy and cool techniques in “modernist cuisine” and really help build my resume to be affiliated with this chef’s legacy. I’m just worried that I’m getting a bit attached to the idea of working there, so I really hope the offer actually comes through. Trying not to count my proverbial chickens before they hatch. Wish me luck!

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