I cannot remember the last time I have done anything productive at 6:45 in the morning. When I was growing up in San Diego, we used to wake up early to go surfing. Now you may say, surfing?! That is not productive! But you would be amazed by how productive you are throughout the rest of the day after having a little session before work. OK, now I am rambling. That’s what happens when I am up this early. NEED COFFEE NOW!!!!!!
It is not the first time that I’ve managed a team of people, but it is the first time I’ve managed a team of people in my own restaurant. Before I just had to worry about the kitchen staff and if anything went wrong in the dining room I went straight to the Manager and he or she addressed the situation. Ironically, I have my hands literally in every pot and need to over-organize everything so I can do what I love most – COOKING.
So a lot has happened in the last two weeks. We had our first all staff meeting with everyone. We were short a few during the first staff meeting due to some of our members living outside of the country. It is really incredible to stand there and talk to all these people about how you envision the restaurant and the culture that you want to create around it. When you work for someone else, even if you are running the show, you still have to work within the boundaries of that particular person’s culture and ideologies. Knowing that we have a blank canvas and we have the chance to set the standards from the beginning is amazing. You sit there thinking about everything that you have experienced over your career, the good and the bad, and how you process that information to create what you believe is the ideal place to work in. Throughout your career you are constantly chasing this myth of the perfect restaurant to work in. It does not exist, but the idea of it does and that is what keeps you motivated.
Speaking of motivation, last Monday was the first official day for the entire staff. But before we started the nitty-gritty of getting this place in order, we took a two-hour walking tour of our immediate surroundings, Refshaleoen. Formerly the site of the old Burmeister and Wain shipyards, the location of the restaurant defies description. There’s just so much history here and that energy still lives in space. Anette Skov, who is somewhat of an authority on the old shipyard, was kind enough to walk us around the island. We were also joined by Kim, a friend’s father who actually worked in the shipyard 30 years ago. The first thing that we learned is that the building in which the restaurant is situated in is the old tool depot for the shipyard. It’s where the workers would collect their tools and clothes for the day. By the way, we also learned that the space was nicknamed “The Death Cave.” (I’ll personally explain it to anyone when they come and eat at the restaurant). We gained a whole new respect for the island after I realized who came here before us. I hope we can translate this new-found respect to our guests and show them how special this area really is.