Back to Reality.
While I was in Japan, the demolition had begun. I was a bit hesitant at first, not knowing exactly what was going on while I was out of the country, so the anticipation of seeing what had happened when I returned was unbearable on the flight home. The space had sat untouched for too long and something had to happen.
I, like most Chefs, get a bit antsy when progress slows. I start asking the question WHY? and how can we make things move faster. The process, at least with regards to the opening of the restaurant, has forced me to develop a whole new level of patience. I don’t like the fact that I do not have total control of what is going on at all times. It makes me extremely nervous. You are at the mercy of the people working for you, and if they want to take advantage of you to make a little extra money, they probably could and you would never know it. I have slowly been learning that there are a few key terms that can save you time, money, and stress: Why? How much? And what for?
I just heard about some colleagues that recently opened a restaurant with a budget of four million Danish Kroner and when they received the final bill from the builders it was… eight million. After hearing about that I immediately went into defensive mode, questioning everything and every number that was presented by the builders. For those of you that have started your own business, this is nothing new to you, but you cannot imagine the extra costs that start to pop up…and the little things do add up. And this isn’t just about the numbers – it’s the mental cost as well and we’re still months from opening.
With all the stress and the anxiety, today I did something that was absolutely amazing. I turned off my phone – well, kind of: I really just turned it to silent. (The other one sounds better though.) And I worked outside in the garden with Jacquie for eight hours straight. While I don’t remember doing yard work as being so therapeutic as a kid, for those of you that have access to a green space, I highly recommend it. And thankfully, after seeing nothing but weeds, it’s nice to see it really starting to take shape. Maybe it was so great due to the fact that we are planting the seeds that will feed our guests not only in the next coming months, but also in the coming years.
Towards the end of the day, a group of people came by to see the garden and to hear a little bit about the project. When you sit there and explain to people your plans and ideas, you find yourself getting overly excited to the point that they start looking at you funny. When that look appears on their face you then catch yourself acting like a spaz and you try and tone it down a bit. But as embarrassing as it is, it’s hard to hide my excitement. I may not be able to control how fast the construction progresses, how soon I get my permits, or how much the restaurant will ultimately cost, I CAN control a spade and some dirt. And the ability to see something progress out of my own hands is incredibly fulfilling.
There are so many speed bumps along this road to creating a restaurant, but none of them outweighs the fact that you are going to have the chance to make people happy. I know that sounds so cliché, but as many of you out there know it is the truth.