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Showing posts with label chef life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chef life. Show all posts

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Mayonnaise Chicken

Sometimes simple (and by that I mean 'easy') is best.
Okay, okay - hear me out. I know that mayonnaise chicken doesn't sound tasty at all. I'm really sorry, but I'm committed to honesty and transparency in my cooking. Please just hear me out before you break out the torches and pitchforks and open your mind to mayonnaise.

I know that Millenials have been charged with 'murdering mayonnaise' their fair share of times. I think we all know how I feel about that tired old 'millenials kill' tag, but in case we don't, I'll share: I think that if an industry is dying out because it no longer serves the population, then let it die. Rotary phones weren't 'killed' by cordless or smartphones. Lamp lighters went out of the job because of electricity. We're evolving as a society and that means we're going to live in one that's shaped by our likes and tastes.

If you don't want to read the article above, just know that mayonnaise is being 'killed' because Millenials and GenZ's tend to have more global tastes. Most of us prefer sriracha, kimchi, things like that to mayonnaise. The globalization of our palette is what's letting other things fall to the side, much like mayonnaise. Furthermore, mayonnaise isn't exactly the sexiest condiment, and it's frankly a hard sell based on visuals alone. That being said, a lot of chefs love mayonnaise, if nothing else but for it's versatility.

Do you need to make a large amount of a new kind of dipping sauce but don't want to buy a ton of ingredients and jack up your food cost? Spice up the mayo and call it an aioli. Need a secret to making a super-moist chocolate cake for an 8-top that'll be celebrating a birthday tonight, but you don't have a trained pastry chef and just have a sous chef with a spare hour? Mayonnaise. What's that? Someone wants a fancy grilled cheese? Believe it or not, mayonnaise.

How to make homemade mayonnaise - Ever tried to make your own mayonnaise and it's been a complete disaster? Make mayonnaise the easy way with this failproof method! | Get the step by step tutorial at DeliciousEveryday.com
Check out DeliciousEveryday.com to find out how
to make your own mayonnaise at home!
What does this mean for you, for cooking?

To put it simply, this is nothing but a gorgeous whipped amount of fat that you can use in cooking and baking. Spread it on your bread instead of butter to make the most-beautiful grilled cheese you've ever seen. Use a dollop of mayonnaise instead of eggs for your cakes, to make it even more tender, because of the vinegar and how the acid sort of cuts glutens to make it less stodgy. My favorite, though, is to marinate chicken in it and then roast it.

Mayonnaise is an incredibly diverse substance that's able to be used as an ingredient and as a condiment, and I'm frankly a fan of it. I like the tang, the creaminess, and I like that it's cooling so I can mix it with really spicy ingredients to get the flavor without too much heat. Unfortunately, it's not enough anymore to have just mayonnaise, unless it's on a roast beef sandwich...and even then, I'm probably going to mix it with horseradish because  - hey - horseradish is good for you.

Why should you keep mayonnaise in your fridge? Its versatility, of course! It's not just great for sandwiches, or for being a base for a sexier version of a potato salad or devilled eggs. If you entertain, you're going to want mayonnaise, if nothing else to just help bulk up certain things. If you're busy but want something show-stopping, use mayonnaise as an ingredient and be surprised at its possibilities. But what is mayonnaise?

In essence, it's a salad dressing, not unlike a vinaigrette. It is an emulsion of egg yolks, vinegar, a little salt, and quite a bit of oil. You can make your own mayonnaise, if you like, out of any oil you like. Olive oil, sunflower oil, even chili oil. (No seriously, I've tried it.) One egg yolk can take up to a cup of oil without breaking the emulsion, and you can take that to the bank. I highly recommend using a standing mixer or a blender, though, and I advise you to warm the bowl slightly before whipping. Either way, it's easy enough to put together yourself, but it's even easier to just buy a jar, use it up, and keep the jar later for other uses.

Let's be real, though - we Millenials like stuff that's fast, yet impressive. Here's a fast and impressive dish we can make after a long day at work.

Mayonnaise Chicken
yields enough for 2
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp herbs de Provence (an herb blend of marjoram, savory, rosemary, thyme, and mint)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sumac powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • A few grinds of fresh pepper, ideally a peppercorn blend that has green peppercorns in it
  • Half a yellow onion, julienned
  • 2 stalks of celery, cut into long pieces to serve as a sort of rack for your chicken
  • 1 half chicken, usually found in most grocery stores. You can also use 4 breasts, or 4 thighs, two leg quarters, whatever is available to you
  • 2 cups frozen peas (do not get canned, so help me)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the onion and celery in a little oil, salt and pepper, and arrange the celery sticks on the bottom of a casserole dish and top with the onions. This will be your sort of rack that will allow the fat to drip off your chicken while simultaneously steaming and cooking and adding flavor that you'll want later, I promise. Make a dressing of the spices, vinegar, and mayonnaise. Add your poultry cut of choice and toss about, ensuring that you especially get some of this dressing underneath the skin of the chicken. Arrange on your celery-onion raft and let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes, or until the oven is totally hot.

I know it doesn't look great to start, but trust me - it'll transform itself beautifully.
Pop your casserole dish, uncovered, into the oven for 25 minutes and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. When the timer tings, remove the casserole dish and place it on a wooden cutting board or just on your stove. Pour the frozen peas around the chicken, toss them in the lovely juices that have dropped and formed off your chicken with a spoon, and return to the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes. Serve immediately with couscous, pasta, or some other kind of starchy niceness that you like. I've been on a couscous kick lately, so I encourage you to try it as well. 

I'm sure you've noticed the gorgeous transformation that's taken place. The reason the chicken browns so nicely is because of the fat in the mayo, and it's become quite tender because of the acid. You've got a nicely cooked bird now, too, because hot air and flavorful steam was able to circulate all around, helping it to cook evenly. Salt, acid, fat, and heat, are the four elements of delicious food, as we all now know, thanks to the brilliant chef Samin Nosrat and her Netflix special of the same moniker.

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe! I'm writing a cookbook right now, and I hope you'll let me know if you can follow along easily with my recipes. Please keep touch with me on my instagram, comment below, and follow me on Twitter for requests for recipes! Thanks a million. 

Happy cooking and happy eating!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A (Brief) Love Letter to Staff Meal

Every once in a while, my restaurant does a Staff Meal. This is often when we are slow enough to make some thing decent, yet all hungry at the same time, which is oddly rare. Many restaurants, especially upscale ones, do Staff Meal, also called Family Meal.

When restaurants close between 3 and 5, often to change up from lunch to dinner, they will sometimes gather the entire staff, back- and front-of-house, and feed them all. This gives everyone a chance to sit, to chat, and take a mental break from whatever kind of spanking they'd had in the previous hours.

Usually, staff meal consists of leftovers from a special, a wine dinner, or even just stuff we have too much of. I remember we had a ricotta-mint pasta, once, when we had made just barely too much ravioli filling that we just didn't want to sell again. This could have been because we either needed to buy more things to recreate it for a special, or just wanted to be done with it and move onto the next, new thing. This ricotta-mint pasta was served with the leftover lamb ragout, which was so delicious, especially  because it had been sitting in its own juices for a few days.

Staff meal is not a right, it is a privilege. Many times, hungry FOH(front-of-house) staff slop up everything they can before the cooks can get in and feed themselves, too. This is some rude bullshit right here, because although FOH makes something like $3/hour, they still go home with exponentially more money than line cooks ever will, and the line cooks work such  grueling shifts already without some 20-something English major whining about how she only got $200 today and slurps up all of the food when she probably won't even finish it.

So, basically, if you are FOH, and you're reading this, please, take light portions first. If you want more, come back for seconds, if there are any; but first make sure that everybody gets a chance to sit and eat. Remember, the BOH doesn't have to feed you. They don't even have to do Staff Meal. This is a nice thing the line cooks do in order for the people they work with to sit down for ten minutes and eat.

If staff meal is just something shared with the BOH, that's even more special. Sometimes, we get to really have some fun and show off to our fellow cooks. Oftentimes, when eating versus "tasting", we are a lot less critical. Honestly, I'm happy whenever someone that's not me is cooking for me. Give me lumpy, leftover mashed potatoes left in the steam bath too long over truffle oil-laced puree any day. I like staff meal when it's just kind of thrown-together with a little bit of love; nothing too fancy, yet well-made.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of having some chicken enchiladas, that were so wonderfully familiar and yet so ethereal. The line cooks even rolled them for all of us working on the back lines, doing the prep, and to the dishpit, too.

I love Staff Meal; it's our way of saying to each other, you matter.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pistachio Panna Cotta - The Dish that Changed my Life

This will be different from my previous posts.

This will not have a recipe in it. It will have little to do with food. And yet, all to do with food.

Some of you know that I'm not a classically trained pastry chef. When I applied for the job of Executive Pastry Chef at the restaurant I work at now, I had never done anything like that before. I had been a pantry cook or a line cook or prep cook. I'd only done pastry for fun. There are a lot of stereotypes in the culinary world(apparently) about women ending up to be pastry chefs because they can't handle the meat and potatoes(for whatever dumb sexist reason). I didn't want to "end up" a pastry chef, necessarily, because I didn't go to school for it. I went to school to be a Chef. I wanted to get my arms burnt on ovens. I wanted to be tatted up like a mother-bitch, on the cover of Food & Wine. But Pastry was...

When I was in school, I was mistaken for a pastry student by my Pastry Chef Instructor. I told him I was a Savory. He thought I was kidding, then shook his head and said I had a knack for it. It stuck out in my head.

The dish that changed my life
 I had the pleasure of speaking with one of my customers last night, who had some questions about some of the desserts that one of the servers wasn't sure how to answer. I offered to just go out to the table myself, since it was a slower night. They ended up ordering my Pistachio Panna Cotta, which has come to be my signature/favorite dessert over the years. They were super-nice, and we were slow, so I brought the dish to the table for them.

"So, you decided on the panna cotta, eh?" I said with a smile as I set the plate down.

"Well, we just had to get the dish that changed someone's life!" said the lady, with fork ready.

As I walked away, I had a spring in my step. "The dish that changed someone's life." It really did. It really, really did change my life.

Life's funny like that, you know? You wake up one morning and you have almost no idea how you got to where you are. You look back, trying to find that one pivotal moment. It was the moment I decided to make a pistachio panna cotta for my stage instead of a almond-pear tart with caramelized figs. Turns out I actually really love being a Pastry Chef. Not because I couldn't "hack it" on the hot/savory side, but because I just really truly love it.

I don't think mathematically or precisely. I think artistically. There's so much math and chemistry in the pastry side it's not even funny. I got poor to decent grades in math in school(I know, I'm a failure to the Asian people), mostly because I couldn't understand something on paper. Nobody could tell me how to understand math. I am what you call a kinesthetic learner: I have to have something tangible, something in my hands, for me to understand it fully. Many Chefs I have met are like this. And I take every opportunity I can to meet and socialize with other chefs, because I sometimes feel that they're the only people I truly understand.

I will never forget a conversation I had with my Chef about how we rank at #9 in the career field that's most-likely to contain psychopaths in it.  The long and short of it is that nobody truly sane will ever choose this for their path in life. We are damaged individuals that don't know how to do anything else. We are attracted to positions of power without having to really deal with the everyman. We have our own world in the Back of House that we understand. The hum of the ovens and the whir of the fans. The whoosh of the flames as it comes up on the gas burner. It's a language that we know. We aren't really built for the desk job, or anything with HR. We aren't really designed to be politically correct. Some of the best chefs I know are the nastiest, grossest, most-crass people out there. But damn if they can't cook, damn if they can't work. Some of the most non-functioning members of society one could ever imagine are the ones that are sometimes the best workers in a kitchen.

I'm not saying like I know every cook in the world. But I've cooked in a decent amount of different kitchens, enough to make the statement: The people in this career field can be fucking weird.

We're a sarcastic, crass, snide bunch of bastards. But it's all based on love. Cooking is how we socialize. It's the one way we get to touch other people's lives without actually having to meet them. We are basically introverted extroverts. Most of us, anyway.

I chose the pistachio panna cotta for my stage because, when looking at the menu for the restaurant, I saw that they had a pistachio-crusted halibut. This means they had pistachios in-house. The pistachio is also known as the King of Nuts. The rest of it easily fell into place, and I spent a 2-hour period in that hot kitchen making the best attempt at a dish that, what I thought, a good pastry chef could be proud of.

I also could replicate dishes from Alinea. That, I could do!
Sitting in the wine room, while three chefs and an owner dug into my dish, all making sounds around me and talking around me, all I could think was how much of a fraud I was. I had never felt so dishonest. My inner monologue was rambling on saying things like: "Day 1, they seem to have let me into their camp. They have not yet suspected that I am not yet one of them."

To tell you the truth, I don't know the first thing about pastry, except what I was taught in school. Do you know what I knew how to do? Butcher fish. Fabricate a side of beef. Eight-piece a chicken. I can tell you the perfect time to pull a steak from the pan my feeling it. I know how to blanch pounds and pounds of green beans so that they'll still have a crispy crunch, and will still be green, without being undercooked. That is what I know how to do. This is what I understood. But I saw the Chef de Cuisine's eyes go for the Exec's and whisper to him "this is good." I thought I was going to pee my pants. A week later I got the call saying that the job was mine, and that I started on Monday. All because of that Panna Cotta, that tiny little unassuming dessert.

Oh, and you can forget it if you think you're getting the recipe right now. Wait until I publish a cookbook and buy it for $24.99 or something like that off of Amazon.com.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chocolate Guinness Cream Puffs(pate a choux = love)

These were the books I kept after sorting through a pile 5X this high
I live for the days that I get to experiment at work. It's not terribly often, I'll say that, but it's often enough that I get to think about it on a fairly regular basis. Not that there isn't something beautiful about repeating the same mechanical thing every day, slowly perfecting every inch of your technique, of course. But I do love when I get to put those practiced techniques into play. The words of my Pastry Chef Instructor Damian Fraase(who, to this day, is one of the most-influential voice-in-my-head mentors) ring true, when I asked him about doing a stage for my first ever Pastry Chef job:

"I would rather see a single, well-executed eclair than the most elaborate thing in the world with all flash and no substance."

And such is the truth. To become a great cook, one must master not recipes, but techniques. Technique, technique, technique. The rest will come. This is why I feed my addiction to food with libraries. I mean, seriously, I spend at least four hours of every day off I get at the library 10 minutes from my house. I love libraries. I love the quiet. The reverence I feel from the (probably) billions of pages of recipes, ideas, pictures is indescribable. When I was a child, I would volunteer in my school's library as an assistant, shelving books. The "cool girls" all congregated together and shelved fiction. Ever the outcast, I was stuck with the non-fiction. And you know what? I'm glad those girls were nasty to me. I learned to love non-fiction, and a whole new form of escapism.
"...that same faint arousal."

All of this knowledge-driven curiosity has influenced my work. I think about it while I'm working. I think about all of the different ways I could improve or change something I'm doing. I was thinking about this when I got a call on my way into work.

"Somebody called wanting something called a "crock-in-bush"?"

A pause. "Do you mean a croquembouche?"


"Okay, when?"


A long pause. "Does he know what a croquembouche entails?"

"Well, he asked about a special dessert on Monday, but just got back to me today asking about it. Here's his number. He said if you can't do it, he would love to talk about something else."

I called. It was a man wanting to make a special something for his wife's birthday. And he didn't just want a cake. Gods be praised for that. I asked him what was special about the croquembouche. He said he just thought it looked neat. I told him that the issue wasn't so much the time, but the environment.

I'm a Southwestern girl. I was born and raised in the southwest. You know what they have there? NOT HUMIDITY. Seriously, I never learned how to deal with humidity! And it just happened to be a particularly-gross weekend. I told him that my biggest concern was the sugar work. That I could do it, but I - quite frankly - was just not that skilled of a pastry chef yet to do a croquembouche with confidence in this humidity. To tell you the truth, I was just scared. So I offered an alternative: cream puffs.

We call them cream puffs when in reality they're actually pate a choux puffs. Profiteroles. And, when in the long shape, eclairs. But your average American will call them cream puffs. I suggested a trio of cream puffs, and he loved the idea.

"What flavors were you thinking?" I asked.

"Chocolate? She likes chocolate..."

Long story short, we had a nice long chat about his relationship with his wife and I drew inspiration from that. She loves chocolate so I voted for a chocolate pate a choux puff with a trio of fillings. Chocolate mousse had to be one of them, of course, with a sour-cream glaze, for the chocoholic in all of us...the other would be a citrus curd-filled puff with a milk chocolate glaze. The last, my favorite, was a stout pastry cream-filled puff with a Guinness glaze. Because, on their first date, they went to a bar and shared a beer together. (So I'm a romantic. Sue me.)

Forgive the poor quality of my camera phone. I was shaking with delight.
Chocolate Pate a Choux
  • 8 oz butter
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c whole milk(WHOLE MILK)
  • 11 oz. bread flour, sifted(AP can work fine)
  • 1 oz cocoa powder(or two Tbsp, kind of rounded)
  • 10 - 12 lg eggs, room temperature

Preheat your oven to 400. Line baking sheets with either parchment paper or a silpat mat, whatever you have.

Combine the butter, milk, water, sugar, salt, and vanilla into a heavy-bottomed saucepot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the flour and cocoa powder and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, stirring to bring everything together. Beat the flour into a bit of a paste for about 30 seconds. You'll know your dough is done when there is a film on the bottom of the pan, and the dough has formed a mass lump.

Pop this mixture into your standing mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat on medium-low speed. The mixture will be steamy, but let it cool off this way for about 2 minutes. This is where you add in the eggs, one at a time, beating continuously until this paste is smooth and shiny. You will know you have added enough egg when a ribbon of dough forms and does not break when pressed and pulled between your fingers. Or you dip your finger in and the valley it forms doesn't really collapse in on itself.

Pop this final mixture into a piping bag, fitted with the pastry tip of your choice(I chose star, but you can use plain), and pipe out your shapes. I just did 'globs', but you can use this versatile paste to make any shape you like. Make sure you have a little cup of water nearby, though, to dip your fingers in and smooth out the tips. We wouldn't want any crispy burnt tops on our choux puffs, would we?

Turn your oven down to 350 at this point. Bake these dudes for about 15 minutes. Remove, poke holes in the bottom to let the steam escape, and return them to the oven. Turn the oven off and let them continue to bake for another 25 minutes, or until dried out and hollow-sounding. Or you could just sacrifice one and break it open to make sure it's not soggy in the middle. Then eat it. I won't judge.

This little vessel is a miraculous thing for pastry creams, curds, mousses, even ice cream! Or you can omit the vanilla and make it 12 oz of bread flour instead of 11 + 1 oz cocoa powder to make it your standard pate a choux, which can be used in savory options as well. They look particularly fancy at parties. If you want to make the stout pastry cream, though, keep reading.

Guinness Pastry Cream
 (adapted from Epicurious.com's Stout Creme Anglaise)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 c packed brown sugar(I used light)
  • 1/4 c heavy cream(half and half can work, too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c Guinness(or any stout you have on hand, I just used Guinness)
  • 1 oz butter, unsalted

Whip your egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar together using a whisk attachment on your standing mixer, or just finish off that Guinness and go nuts with a whisk in hand. Bring the cream and stout to a boil with the vanilla and a pinch of salt, and then remove from heat. Splash in a bit of the hot liquid to the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs, then pour egg mixture into the pot with the remaining liquid, whisking all the time. Return to the heat(medium heat, if you please), and whisk-whisk-whisk until it thickens nicely. DO NOT LET IT EXCEED 180 DEGREES F! Keep a thermometer on hand, if you need. But, dear God, don't.

Or you could just cut it in half and put ice cream in the middle. That's a profiterole!
Remove from heat immediately and add in the butter, whisking it in to both stop the cooking process and giving it a wonderful texture. Strain through a chinois or a tamis strainer if you have one, or just your plain ole' wire mesh guy in the back of the cabinet will do fine. Set it into a container and cover with plastic wrap, actually laying the plastic on the surface of the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming, which you do not want.

Once cool, pipe into your puffs. Or just eat it with a spoon while watching "Fargo" in your bath robe. Seriously, that's a really good show. Martin Freeman is masterful in that.

Oh, and just make a glaze using Guinness, powdered sugar, an egg white, and a touch of salt. Whisk it up and go bananas.(Otherwise known as a royal icing.)
Happy cooking, everyone!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Glimpse of (Pastry) Chef Life

I just got off of work. My hours for this work period were something along the lines of 81.33. So, an hour and a half of overtime. This isn't necessarily normal for me, but it's pretty normal for a lot of us.

Who is "us"?

Why, the cooks. The warriors. Them who feed you when you don't feel like feeding yourself. It's the faceless army that produces magic on a plate, be it that wonderfully grilled terrace major with asparagus and a sauce bordelaise, or that perfect drunk-food of pork belly tacos with an Asian slaw at your local gastropub. Do you ever think of where your food comes from? You might. If you're reading my blog, you probably do. So, good for you.

Why, yes, that is a cluster of caramel corn atop that creme brulee.
A typical day in a restaurant is usually not typical, but on average it will last about 8 to 10 hours. Every day brings a new challenge, and yet you're producing(usually) the same stuff you did yesterday. Still that gallon of pink peppercorn creme anglaise. What's that? Oh yeah. More chocolate mousse. Oh, and you have to portion some more cakes, and did I mention you have another party that needs about 40 cobblers before 5pm? Now, before you do that, translate some cleaning instructions for me to the new dishwasher. And don't forget about those 50-something creme brulees that are in the oven, which will curdle if they're in a second too long--so listen for that timer!

The life of the pastry chef is that of a 'Jacqueline-of-all-trades,' as it were. Not only are you producing your own stuff, you're training the pantry cooks over and over again, cleaning, organizing, keeping your chefs from having mental breakdowns... You're a part of the back of house, but you're not. You're kind of your own entity. You have an entire section of the restaurant to yourself. In a sense, that is. You can be part-time, full-time, mercenary, contracted...it's actually pretty darn rare that a restaurant will have a full-time pastry chef in-house. So if you're in culinary school, trying to decide on pastry versus savory, stick with savory and study pastry on the side. You never know when you'll need to jump on the line and help plate salads or make a few pizzas while your pantry chef is in the can. And if you can be versatile, you're valuable. Remember, anybody can replace you at any time. So be as valuable and irreplaceable as you can be.

Phew. Jogging is hard. 
Your feet will hurt, just like the line cooks and the chefs. Your back will be sore, as will the back of your neck. Learn to stand correctly. And stay hydrated. Do stretches at night. I do yoga before bed, and I jog with Howl in the morning. Staying in shape is really the kind of thing you want to do; not for the sake of vanity, mind you, but for the sake of not completely wrecking your body. If you stay strong, so does your battle.

I try to stay in shape by running where and when I can. I've gained weight since I made the switch from savory to pastry(#shocker), and I definitely don't want to get Diabetes as a result. After a very long day, you'll usually want to crawl into a hot shower and cry. Or perhaps you're the kind of cook that explodes on the line and threatens to kill everyone. You might even be the kind that gets into fights with the front of house, or the other line cooks, or even the Chef. You might be the kind who gets so frustrated you leave the line to go cry. I am not that kind.

I don't mind getting paid to pee. But when I'm on someone else's clock, I don't cry. When I clock-out, and get in the car, the tears will come. But I will always massage my sore neck, and my cracked hands and aching feet, thanking any God that's out there for giving me the opportunity to do something so meaningful with my life. I realize that it's not the most meaningful, if you were to really think about it. But I get to be a part of lives. Not just a life. But lives.

This year at Valentine's Day, a man proposed to his now-fiancee over one of my desserts. She'll always remember that flourless chocolate cake and cheesecake, artfully arranged on a platter, with a pile of rose petals cradling the ring box with her future in it. Today, I made a gender-reveal cake to tell a wonderful family that they'll soon be joined by a grandson. I got to be a part of that moment. I wasn't there, not really, but a tiny piece of me was in that dessert you just ate. I get to touch someone's life, and for a moment, they might just forget about what a crappy day that I had.

And that, to me, is why my job is meaningful.