It was a good week before anyone replied to the advertisement. The reply came from a gentleman who stated that he had recently moved to the area and was bored at home a lot of the week. He was looking for a reason to get out of the house….oh and he was in his late 70’s.
He had also stated that he was very active for his age. I didn’t hesitate to invite him in for a chat. Outside of the kitchen I am a member of Ipswich Jaffa running club. I am by no means a super athlete but I like to call myself a consistent middle of the pack runner. But this aspect of my life has taught me many things. One of which being, age is not but a number. I have been beaten regularly in races by ladies and gentlemen of all ages. So for this man to say he was active and able was all I needed to hear.
Like I said, I invited him in for a chat and showed him the small kitchen where he’d be working. He was unfazed and looked like he quite fancied the challenge. I made him an offer which he accepted. 4 days a week to start with, which I he was more than happy with.
Straight away. Day one. You could see this man had a work ethic which would be a real asset to the kitchen. Organised, clean and thorough. A real godsend. I’m not going to assume he finds it easy but he’s been with us a few weeks now and he seems to be enjoying it. Not the job necessarily, but the work environment. He is regularly involved in the kitchen banter. Although we do adjust some of our low level jokes out of respect for our elders. There are only so many jokes about balls and phallic drawings any man needs to see or hear. I am currently very happy with how this is working out. At only a few weeks in, he has settled and found his rhythm. This post was normally filled by students or the bar staff who were looking for extra hours. The sink is no easy job. As any chef knows, the kitchen Porter is probably the most important member of any food establishment. If they are no good the whole service goes down. So far, we’ve had no problems like this.
This post is not meant to patronise and I hope that comes across. I know there are a lot of people in the same situation as our newest staff member. We live in a world where discrimination is writhe. More than ever in fact. You just need to look at recent news headlines to see what I mean. I say to you, as chefs/managers and restauranteurs. Do not overlook someone because of their age. Let the individual decide whether they can do the job. They will let you know. Embrace the opportunity to work with someone who will add another dimension to the environment. This gent may stay for a month, a year or whatever. But I hope this gives you food for thought.