Changing tides; from bags to tabs.

Ten years ago the landscape of restaurant substance abuse was a much sharper edge than it is today. I noticed at an afterwork gathering a month ago (the first i had attended in quite some time ) that there was a much more jolly tone to the evening. It turned out that instead of EVERYONE being on cocaine it was just two people and the rest were floating around on LSD. The psychedelic drug once used covertly at early attempts of mind control by the us and canadian governments. The party was pleasent, something i couldnt say about many other after work hangs i had experienced in the past.

I started my path towards “sobriety” about five years ago when I was arrested for several counts of trafficking and posession with intent to distribute. At the time I was mostly selling to my fellow classmates and kitchen colleagues. I was mostly selling MDMA and Cocaine as this is what people were looking for and what I found to be profitable. I wrote sobriety in brackets because to this day I still have yet to live a life free of all substances. I have settled on the term “california Sober”; meaning i will take psychedelics and maybe the occasional glass of wine or beer but no stimulants(cocaine,speed) and no downers( percocet,xanax). I have been able to rebuild a relationship with my close family and have kept pretty stable employment since i started my recovery. While trying to rehabilitate i worked through different styles of programs from Narcotics Anonymous to Harm Reduction workshops and found that there were very few people trying to recover from psychedelic drug abuse. Since then the idea of Micro dosing has come into popularity with publications such as GQ and Times magazine publishing articles on its benefits.

1,026 Lsd Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime
twenty five hits of LSD-25

The Aztec among many other South-American peoples used the sacred psilocybin mushrooms to enhance their accuracy and intuitiveness during sport, battle and ceremony. Many shamanistic practices involve the ingestion of combinations of roots and herbs thought to allow the users to transcend into other planes of existence to facilitate deeper healing. I was eavesdropping on a table eating out at my restaurant and the one person talking a local chef was expounding on how helpful micro-dosing mushrooms has been for his daily moods and energy levels. So is this the new old friend that the restaurant industry so desperately needs? I for one am happy to see a shift from the stimulant to the psychedelic taking shape.




chefs on line


Kai Millson Taylor

The clanking of pans and plates settles down and dinner service has settled in to a lull. Every cook’s station is clean and they are stocked on all mise en place they could need for the next rush. There are three things that a cook can do in the fractured downtime they have the first is hop off line to smoke a cigarette if the chef doesn’t smoke then maybe they scrounge for some food to eat. Regardless of habits the third option seems the most enticing ; pull out the phone and start scrolling through instagram . I have worked in a few kitchens that have banned non-essential cell-phone use for this very reason.

Social media can be distracting to people of all types but it feels like a double edge sword for cooks who are asked to maintain or build a social media presence while also focusing the bulk of their time and energy on executing their chef’s culinary vision. How does a chef find time to take pictures of the food when there are more service chits that need attention. I have seen a couple strategies that i will outline.

The first is a quantity over quality approach, always be taking pictures and videos and always be posting regardless of how it may affect others around you. This can lead to mistakes during service and angry co-workers picking up the slack of the prima-donna. This is not a sustainable model of social media diffusion.

The other way to skin the cat is to set aside time before service starts to take pictures of the dish, produce item, guest chef, new bottle of wine. This assures that you are not slowing down the flow of dinner service and you are being more mindful in your choices regarding the post. The only problem this method runs into is that it necessitates free time, something not readily available in all kitchen environments although it is something you can prepare for by coming in earlier or working faster and more efficiently.

The topic of the cult of fame is not limited to chefs and cooks. Lots of people want a big following on-line and there are sacrifices we make to try and achieve this . Do you find yourselves distracted by social media during work hours? Does your profession necessitate you build a presence online ? How are you able to balance the work and play aspects of scrolling and posting?