“Make sure you wear a suit.” These were the words of wisdom from my Uncle Edy as I prepared to head out to my first job interview on the East Coast. My first job in New York , was at an High end restaurant as a busboy. Needless to say prior to arrival , in my mind , my preparation for this “interview” needed only to be walking through the door and stating that I’m indeed available for work during these hours. However,to humor my Uncle, who had so graciously opened up his house to me for the time being, I put on the suit and even read up on the restaurant group. When I arrived 10 minutes early to the svelte building address, I began to feel grateful that I had indeed heeded the advice of my Uncle. By the time I arrived at the door of the office, I was nervous. When the girl ahead of me was brisked into the office with the words “You’re late.” “let’s get on with the interview with the time we have left,” I almost forgot my name. Impulsively, I began reading my now crumpled resume over and over again. Praying that I did not blank out and forget what school I went to. Ten minutes passed and I heard my name being called. “Fabrice?” “this way” I turned and stood up so fast I you would have thought the seat had became molten lava.
From her first question I realized that this was no normal busboy position, nor was I prepared as I needed to be. ” So what do you know about the Dinex Group?” By rote, I rattled off the statistics plastered on the first page of the website: how many locations, date of inception, what Silverware they make?…… Her face turned and right then, before she said anything I knew I had looked up the wrong freaking Dinex Group. ” That’s not us.” She stated and went on to the next question. “What do you know about French wine?”
“Who is Daniel Boulud?”
“What do you know about seasonal cooking?”
These questions flew by me so fast I began to feel dizzy. I was embarrassed, frustrated and upset at myself for wasting such an opportunity. In my mind, the interview was going bad and I almost shifted to thinking about the pizza I was going to buy until I heard a question that I might actually might be able to answer.
“What did do you feel truly embodies french cuisine?”
I’m drawing a complete blank , when all of the sudden, like vomit, the word flies out of my mouth.
“It’s a dish…………………. I feel truly embodies the French lifestyle”
I paused to let my brain think of more crap to spew out. As I do, the movie Ratatouille by Disney comes to mind.
“The….. Simplicity of the dish, comprised of seasonal vegetables, truly represents a simple complexity that underlines all great french dishes. It is my favorite for that very reason.” As I am stating this, I start to smile, as if the aroma has entered the room , sending me back to my fondest memories. All I can see in my mind is that little mouse in the movie dancing around making this dish for the food critic.
I stop talking and wait for a response.
” That’s very true.” “French cuisine does embody both complexity and simplicity.” This is what makes it so great.”
The conversation got easier as she realized while going through my resume , we went to college in the same area. I found out later that week that I got the job.
I tell this long-winded story to simply say that my stupid story about a french dish that I never had was pulled from a child movie. Everything around us, experiences, books, movies, conversations , all offer some kind of utility , a life lesson if you just look for it. In all things we do we should look for the life lesson. It’s there , you just have to take the time to see it. that’s it for now. This story happened like three years ago but it still affects how I operate now. That’s all I got.