In my dream I was on the lower platform of the el at Division, following my cat. Roly Poly had run away and I chased him all the way to the blue line. I caught him by the train tracks and struggled to hold him to my chest. A stranger walked by with a raccoon on a leash. “You should put him on a leash,” they said.
This week on Top Chef the cooks had to make a dish that represents the moment when they knew they wanted to be a chef. I thought about the moments that brought me into the restaurant business. The first job I ever dreamed of was to drive an ice cream truck. I remember sneaking into service areas at La Renaissance, an old school banquet hall in East Windsor, with my sister when she was in fashion shows. I wanted to know how the waiters lit the baked Alaska on fire table side. But it wasn’t until I dropped out of college and had to feed and take care of myself- when I became a fine dining dishwasher- that I found myself on the other side of dining.