She learned to shape tortillas from fresh masa dough through her mother, whose family owned a tostaderia in Mexico. Using Maseca-based dough, they press and cut each tortilla with a machine before cooking them on a searing-hot flat-top until they develop their characteristic bubbles and charred notes.
Richmond, British Columbia, is a thriving community that welcomes tourists and new residents. The relaxed pace of the people and close access to nature helps relieve everyday stresses.
Now, over a decade later, I no longer work in restaurants, but I do have the pleasure of telling their stories. Those meals taught me the value of time spent with family. One of my first serving jobs came after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University. My friend suggested I come work with her at a family-owned Mexican eatery, so I went in for an interview, slightly embellishing my serving experience.
During my first shift, an eight-top ordered a round of jumbo margaritas. I approached the table, the tray wobbling like Jell-O.
The drinks spilled everywhere, and my boss was furious. When I worked at an upscale Italian restaurant, I was a server and a key manager. During the managing shifts, I also doubled as the bartender on duty. For the most part, these were slower nights that consisted of me pouring wine.
One evening, a couple came in and asked for a complicated martini. I clumsily made it while maintaining a conversation with them. It taught me to fake it until you make it.
Circle of life
During a busy Saturday night when I worked at a restaurant in Short Pump, the bar was beginning to back up, with cocktails lining the well. After he delivered a parade of insulting comments, I looked into his eyes and sternly told him he was bothering me. It taught me to be the bigger person.
One summer, I interviewed for a job at a fine-dining restaurant downtown, and they asked me to come in and shadow one of the servers. I arrived 10 minutes early, and the owner spent that time bashing his employees and their lack of work ethic. That restaurant is now closed.
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It taught me to trust my gut. My last year serving, I helped train the staff at a new location that the restaurant group I worked for had opened.
When my co-worker emerged from counting the money, she revealed that we had done really, really well that night — it was the most money I had ever made in one shift. The next morning, I bought a plane ticket to Spain for my first trip abroad.
Restaurants, i’ll love you forever
It taught me to explore the world while I can. A sushi chef I formerly worked with was like my work dad.
He often asked me about my future and what I wanted out of life. If I had a bad shift, he would hand me a takeout box, my favorite sushi rolls inside.
I told him that I wanted to be a journalist, and he encouraged me to start applying for jobs again. In FebruaryI got a call for an interview at Richmond magazine. When I hugged him goodbye on my last day, I cried.
It taught me that co-workers can become family. This year revealed the fragility of restaurants, but also their resiliency.
It taught me about unwavering dedication, and to fight for what I believe in. To keep up with the latest postssearch for the hashtag SundayStory on Twitter and Facebook.
Connect With Us. Illustration by Rachel Maves. Back to Search .