“There aren’t enough tables.”
Five minutes were left before the Revolver Dinner Presented By Texas Star began and it was already a mess. There were not enough tables, the chef didn’t have enough plates for the entrees, and the first of the 75 people who reserved was starting to seat themselves. In the very pit of my heart, a panic was settling in and was threatening to anchor me down. I had my boss breathing down my neck and at least 7 staff members waiting for me to give them an order, a word of reassurance, even a mumble would have sufficed and I was already feeling the beads of sweat drip down my face. This was the moment that determined if I was meant for leadership or to be follower, the moment that determined if my prowess for planning and implementation was truth or a farce, this moment was shared by many people from the very beginning. Some failed and some passed this trial of fire and I am proud to say that I passed, not with flying colors but with colors nonetheless. At 6:30 PM on April 30th, I joined the ranks of restaurateurs and chefs as I led a staff, including kitchen workers, of 15 people to provide a fun and enjoyable evening to over 75 guests. This is my journey.
One day, in a sudden burst of inspiration, I approached one of the chefs at the restaurant I work at with an idea. Both of us were young, full of ideas, and we were ready to prove ourselves. I wanted to plan a dinner paired with beer, since I read that beer dinners were trending in major cities across the states. The restaurant I worked at was not exactly the forefront of trend setting events. We were old school with our chicken friend steaks and homemade mash potatoes, with most of our clientele being old enough to have seen action in Korea. Therefore, this made it the best place to host an event that thousands have enjoyed across the US. Now the only problem was to convince the higher ups of Texas Star to actually go for my idea. I approached the General Manager with my idea, with my plans aside, putting on my most confident smile I could. The conversation went a little like this:
Me: Do you have a second to chat?
GM: Sure. Come on in. How can I help you?
Me: Well one of the chefs and I wanted to plan a beer dinner for Texas Star and we wanted your approval.
GM: OK. You have it.
Me: Wait. That’s it ?
GM: Yep. Have an idea of what brewery and a simple draft by my desk next time you work.
With the hard part over, now the chef and I had to find a brewery that’ll help us, a full course menu with different beers paired with it, an action plan for the event itself, food and alcohol costs, meet a goal of forty guests to break even, and organize a venue that will hold all the guest, entertainment, and the food. Easy, right?
Over the course of the next few months, my partner and I sat down everyday at work to work out the details. What beers we would use, what kind of food we want to prepare, our theme, all of this was debated and compromised over. We knew our roles in this project of ours. He would make the recipes and take care of the food costs and I would organize the event itself. It was a match made in heaven. Where I was optimistic and he realistic, we balanced our dreams and our realities. Two days before the event, we sat down at the bar, notes sprawled out on the granite counter top, and we all of a sudden both stopped. We looked at each other and we both realized that this was really happening. We were planning our own culinary event. This was so different than planning a function for a club or school. These were paying customers we had to please, a boss that we needed to impress, and to prove to ourselves that we are professionals. We just sat there in awe of what we have and will accomplish and we fist bumped. We both knew what each other was saying, “Let’s kick some ass because we got this.”
The day of the event started rather lackluster. I was 5 minutes late to work and I was a bit hungover, just enough to cringe at the very loud bangs and clangs coming from a busy kitchen. But I needed to persevere, this was my job after all. I had 4 hours and 30 minutes before the event started, which I took full advantage of to make sure things went smoothly. The time slowly ticked to 6:30 PM, there I was in my nicest dress shirt with my black knit tie, and my partner was slaving away in the kitchen. The pieces were set, the servers were informed of their job, and I was ready to work. If I had known how much I would be running that evening, I would have applied some serious body glide to all of my body. I was like the Forrest Gump of the culinary world, just less chasing Jenny and more saving Bubba in Vietnam (I really did want to go home). While bringing out the hors d’oeurves took a little longer than I have wanted it, everything went off without a hitch. Everyone was happy, the band played all night long, and most importantly everyone drank themselves full with our beer. That is the whole reason why I even went into the business in the first place. To satisfy people with good food and good drinks, that there is the goal.
Photo credit goes to Dillon.
When everything was cleaned up, the servers were long gone, the reports have been logged, and we clocked out, my partner and I went out to the kitchen dock. I saved us two beers from the event. We popped those bad boys open, and we just stood there staring into the night sky. We clinked our glass bottles together, which we took a big gulp out of. We savored each sip as if it was our first. Once our bottles were done, we simply shaked hands and left to get some sleep. We did it.
After everything was said and done, I was honored to work with such a great person such as my partner (whose name I have clearly avoided since he insisted on keeping his identity a secret, he said, “It’s about the food”). Well I am still going to honor you since without your hard work, this would not have been possible. This event got the ball rolling however, now people know that we are not here just passing through, coursing through life, waiting for something to happen. He and I are here to work and create and entertain the masses with our food. Just you wait world, we are going to show all of you just how awesome we are.