If you had told me two years ago that at the age of 23 I would be managing a group of pastry interns, I would have laughed in your face.
But, crazily enough, here I am, and last Friday we said goodbye to our very first full-time kitchen intern.
It was a weird moment for me. As I spoke with her moments before she turned and walked upstairs for the last time, I could see something so familiar in the way she was carrying herself. It wasn't until I was on the train home that I recognized what it was.
When I left Blue Hill for the last time as a pastry intern three years ago, I cried. I cried walking up the stairs to the parking lot, I pulled over in my car to take a #shameless photo of the BHSB sign for Instagram, I cried when I posted it on Instagram, and I cried all the way home. I didn't sob, but it was definitely the brokenhearted, appreciative cry you have when you know you're walking away from something that changed you.
That's what I saw in our intern last week. And it was weird for me because I was on the other side of it this time.
My coworkers at Blue Hill probably thought I was insane for being sad about leaving. And don't get me wrong, I was incredibly excited to get back to normalcy and move on to my next adventure.
But there's something so raw about interning in a professional kitchen. You give up about ten weeks of your life to do bitch work for people who yell at you for not doing the dishes right. Your soul gets crushed, you question your life decisions, and you come out at the end realizing you just spent three months paying your dues.
Yet, during those last few weeks you find that you met inspiring people, you bonded with coworkers that will ultimately become lifelong friends, and you learned things you didn't even realize you were learning just by witnessing the organized chaos of it all.
I cried that last day not because I was going to miss the day-to-day life of working at Blue Hill, but because everything else I was leaving behind had changed me.
Before our intern left, she came over to me and told me, "you know, it's very rare to have a nice manager." I laughed and responded with, "I don't know if that's a good thing..." because, well, being nice in a kitchen doesn't always get things done.
When I turned around, she was giving me this look like, "you know that's not what I meant." And that's when I saw it – that even though she rolled a shit ton of truffle balls for us and was constantly elbow deep in dishes, she was leaving this place a little different than when she started.
That's what interning in a kitchen is all about. And that's what I hope to give to every single intern who walks through our doors.
And Daria, if you're reading this – thanks again for all your hard work. Stay in touch!