My first job was at a greasy all-you-can eat joint. I was a dishwasher with a short temper and suffered from a distinctly foul mouth. The job was horrible: I would scrape plates, wash dishes and bus tables. I was, in general, the kitchen's whipping boy.
I started with the underside of the dish machine and scrubbed off layers of grime that had been building up for years. My second task was to mop up a spill in the freezer.
I filled the mop bucket with hot water, grabbed the greasy old mop and headed off to the freezer. As I was heading in, one of the cooks stopped and asked what I was doing. I explained that the manager had told me to mop the freezer.
“Oh,” he said, trying to hide a smile. Then he lowered his voice and tried to sound serious “Make sure you do a good job.”
As I pulled the bucket into the freezer, it began to instantly fog up, the hot water reacting with the cold air. I took out the mop from the water and plopped it onto the floor. Then I tried to swing the mop in a traditional side-to-side motion. The mop did not move. I yanked hard on the handle and still, it did not move. I tried to take a step and could not.
Confused, I looked through the mist and saw that my shoes and the mop were frozen to the floor. At that moment, the freezer door swung open and the whole restaurant crew, including the manager, were staring at me trying to pry myself off the freezer floor. The first laugh was reserved but the following laughs were over the top.
Then the flash of a Polaroid went off in my face. We usually used the camera for birthdays, but I guess catching the foul-mouthed dishwasher stuck to the freezer floor was reason enough. For the next few months, my picture hung next to the schedule for everyone to see.
Randy King is the Executive Chef at Sysco Food Services of Idaho. He has served as the Executive Chef at several locations in Boise including Richard’s in Hyde Park, Crane Creek Country Club and the Doubletree Riverside Hotel. Randy is a member of the American Culinary Federation and has been awarded the elite status of Certified Executive Chef. He can typically be found behind a stove making a mess ... and something delicious to eat.