Home always smelled delicious! My grandma was the chef at home and the kitchen was the most important place in the house. Everybody in the family loves her food. Lunch time was always full of beautiful surprises and I can't remember a single bad meal at her table. Everything was delicious and full of appreciation. That was her way to tell you - ' I love you, now eat all that's on your plate!.'
Years later after finishing high school, opening my own "cevicheria" and trying a couple small jobs I ended up in Switzerland, where I started working as a dishwasher in a small hotel named "Mothotel Pilatus Blick" located in a small town near the city of Lucerne. This was my first job in a real restaurant and my first chef supervisor was an angry German guy from who I learned a lot, despite the ferocious and intimidating way that he managed the kitchen.
I worked there for two years and learned how to dish wash, make salads, dressings, cold plates, break down vegetables, prepare desserts, make pizza and finally but not the least how to clean and keep everything organized the "Swiss way" if you know what I'm talking about. All this experience became the foundation of my profession today as a cook and by doing this I learned German.
At that time a friend asked me if I could cook for a Mexican-night event at a local youth cultural center where they needed a Mexican chef, they couldn't find any so she came up with the great idea that the best next thing was a Guatemalan guy who worked as a cook and knew virtually nothing about Mexican food. I was getting tired of my old job and I had learned all that I could learn there so I took the opportunity to test new waters. The event was a success! and not only I took care of the food and decoration but also convinced my old music band to perform Mexican music even if they didn't know a how to speak Spanish. The guests and the general manager of the restaurant liked the whole thing so much that they decided to offer me a position as the new chef since the old chef was leaving for good.
It's interesting how you learn to appreciate things better after you take distance from them and realize their true value.
The way this restaurant worked it is one of the best models I ever encountered working in restaurants due to its efficiency and sustainable alternative model. With the help of another cook, an occasional dishwasher (the general manager) and a very good equipped kitchen we cooked two different dishes and one appetizer every day (one with meat and the other vegetarian) for approximately 150 people, plus special events, music bands, and artists coming to play at the venue. The food leftovers that we couldn't sell could be used for creating completely new dishes during that week. Throwing away food and having leftovers at a restaurant is something that you learn to accept with the time because there is no way to know how many people is gonna show up to eat that day. But in comparison to the dominant industry model, this is a great alternative.