Welcome to the fourth installment of the Food Republic serial, The Worst Idea Ever?, in which chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan set out to open a restaurant in Houston, Texas as Pilot Light Restaurant Group. The serial will continue every Monday until they get a restaurant open, hopefully by the end of the year.
We’ve all been there, in limbo, the feeling that happens when you’ve checked out of a job or you’re in the in-between time before a project or big move. Right now, Terrence and I are going on month four of Dante’s Purgatorio and things seem to be either happening at breakneck speed or at the pace of a tortoise.
It’s the start and stop I didn’t anticipate. In the kitchen, it is necessary to be urgent in everything you do. One misstep and the rhythm of service is thrown completely off. And while there may be times in a professional kitchen that you find yourself daydreaming about that culinary industry unicorn — a vacation — being in the kitchen is the only arena we truly feel at home. In the limbo of our present lives, the rhythm could only be described as something clunky, out of whack and utterly without order.
One day, we’re taking four to five meetings, on a conference call, running all across town to look at spaces and organizing private events to keep our heads above water. The next day, we are staring at a wall of cookbooks or watching a bad horror movie trilogy, waiting for the phone to ring.
Our lives have become a nightmare episode of Gilligan’s island — two guys who live and die in the kitchen are marooned in the living room of a bungalow house, left only to plot and ponder.
Attempting to fill the void of not being in a kitchen regularly, we find ourselves contemplating ways to keep busy and maybe put a little change in our pockets. Picking up work as cheese deliverymen for a local artisan purveyor is not out of the question, nor is taking the periodic trip to a heritage breed pig farm to perform needed castrations on young piglets. “Hey, its part of the process,” we tell ourselves.
The joys and inner peace that come from pig castration aside, we know that the endless hours, stress-filled services and constant surprises that come with opening a restaurant are there at the end of the tunnel waiting for us. It’s just that we can’t wait to get there.