So You Want to be a Porn Star: Making Juice Happen

New Year, new customers, some asking for advice on opening a juice bar/restaurant.  I’m going to stop telling *nearly* everyone to not do it, to never consider the idea again — Anthony Bourdain and others already shout that message.  Do it.  Fucking a, DO IT, FOLLOW YOUR PASSION!  This for those who want to do it. Fuck Bourdain, Ruhlman, and their negative message. They just want to keep the fun for themselves.

Most want to talk about irrelevant shit like recipes (“can I borrow some,” “where did you find them,” or the more thoughtful “how did you come up with them”).  Having the right recipes is the least of your worries. If you’re confident in your cooking ability, recipes will come to you serendipitiously, the situation will make it happen, just as it has for thousands of years for millions of cooks. If you’re asking me about recipes to start a restaurant, I’m thinking you’re a daydreamer who is wasting your and my time.  Daydreamers ONLY think about results, it never occurs to them to focus on the process — who they have to be, what they have to do — to reach results.  When they watch a great performance, they never imagine what it took, the thousands of hours of preparation and practice, the force of character necessary to make the performance happen.

Daydreamers consume, never appreciate, are rarely grateful. Dream builders focus on the process, they understand that the process is the result.  The process is the result, the process is the result, even if the result is failure. If you rarely daydream, great.  If you do, try to figure out how someone built something you like, whether it be a dish, a menu, a song, a house, a bridge, a personality, whatever.  Try to reverse engineer whatever it is you want to build.  Consider the motivation of the person(s) who built it. Not only will it get you to stop daydreaming, it’ll help you appreciate the world more, help you recognize reality about yourself and other people.

Which brings us to the second point. Asking about process shows me you’re concerned about recognizing reality, reality about yourself and others.  Daydreamers don’t recognize reality and you can’t run a business if you don’t see reality.  I watched a restaurant I invested in crumble fast because owners couldn’t see, refused to acknowledge reality, reality that was clear to all investors and most customers.  We pleaded with them to see and work with reality but they refused because it would mean challenging, and ultimately changing, their sense of self. They saw themselves as this and that, which didn’t match customer perception.  Don’t underestimate human self-esteem defense mechanisms. They are powerful enough to allow someone to lose everything than confront who one really is.

You want reality? How’s this for reality.  For a month, make a three egg omelet every morning. Make it in less than a minute.  If you can’t make a perfect omelet in less than a minute, or if the omelet isn’t perfect (runny, slightly burned, contains egg shells), find a mirror.  Now stare into your eyes and tell yourself that you’re a “stupid, useless cunt.” Three times.  Because that’s what someone is thinking every time you fuck up an order.  And even if that isn’t true, it NEEDS TO BE TRUE, you have to believe that it’s true. If you don’t, you’ll fail, I guarantee it.  “Stupid useless cunt” is what I call myself every morning.  Makes my piss smell good, helps me piss straight. If you can’t handle treating yourself this way, you’re not going to last a month owning and running an unbranded restaurant.

So you’re starting to or always have been able to see reality and you can deal with it.  Here’s another dose of reality.  Reality is that you’re a stupid, useless cunt and very few, if anyone, love you.  You think x,y,z love you, whatever the fuck “love you” means?  They likely don’t love you, they need you.  Maybe they need your money. Or they need your skills as a wing man.  Or your praise and flattery to confirm their (un) reality.  Don’t confuse need with love (and I believe love exists, but is never, ever cheaply and easily attained or given).  The sooner you realize that there’s very little love in the world — in spite of non-stop declarations to the contrary — and the sooner you understand that people are much more responsive to fear than to declarations of love, the sooner you’ll discover reality and be able to make lemonade out of it. Machiavelli was right, the hippies are wrong, it’s better to be feared than loved, especially in a world where love is commodified, cheap, almost meaningless. Fear, not love, makes the world go round.  Think about why this commercial introducing Apple Macintosh is so effective.

Link to Apple’s 1984 commercial

This commercial is effective because it exploits people’s fears, fears about their future and their identity.  It takes advantage of American obsession with individuality.  It’s telling you that if you don’t pay attention to the Macintosh, we’ll turn into an Orwellian society, no more freedom.  The message isn’t “Apple loves you please buy the Mac” because people don’t respond to love.  The message is “you need the Mac if you want to be who you think are or want to become” because people respond to fear, in this case, fear of losing one’s identity and so-called freedom.

Once you understand that few, if any, love you, and that it’s better to be feared than loved, you’ll either commit suicide or be able to get to work on making a lot of people to not only need you, but maybe even, if you’re really special, a few to love you.  You’ll be able to devote yourself to thinking about the wants and needs of others.  You may be able to figure out what they really want, not what they think they want. You’ll realize that love is earned, rarely given.

If you think I’m being cynical, if you’re not convinced that fear, and not love, makes the world go round, read Bourdain’s Medium Raw, which offers many short bios of chefs, including an entire chapter devoted to David Chang. Also read the bio of Marco Pierre White, Devil In the Kitchen. Understand what drives the best chefs, what makes them tick, how they think.  Often, it’s not love of cooking, that’s just a symptom, a manifestation of a deeper psychological crisis. More often, at the core, it’s fear, hate, rage, shame, fear, fear, rage, fear. A sick, twisted addiction to confronting fear, to beating it, often with rage. Why do you think David Chang, whom Bourdain considers the “most important chef in America” “hates you?” Not saying you have to be just like a crazy Marco Pierre White mofo to open a juice bar. I’m a mellow dude (stop laughing, I am!) and I don’t intend to win any Micheline stars or even a pat on the back. But you need to know what it takes — mindset and attitude — to reach the pinnacle of a profession if you want to survive in that profession.  You need role models to pull you in the right direction.  Because if you think it’s about smiling and being nice and friendly, you’ll be crushed.  Not saying assholes always finish first. Not saying your name has to be “Fuck You” to make it work.  Am saying that nice people are too petty, innocuous, and unoriginal to survive this (or any other) game. Nice people sit so they don’t get hurt.  Being nice is easy.  Being responsible isn’t (but is a lot more rewarding).  That’s reality.  Ask yourself if you’re willing to be a part of reality.

If you’re comfortable with reality, we’ll talk about the nitty gritty.  Like supply chain and inventory management, human resources, workflow processes.  Maybe we’ll talk recipes.  At times, I’ll remind you that just because you love cooking — currently one of the trendiest hobbies — and serving food and all your friends tell you you’re good at it doesn’t mean you should turn your hobby into a business.  I mean, just because you like sex and have a big cock or nice breastesses and a few people have told you you’re good at it doesn’t mean you should become a porn star.  You really think it’s that easy to get your cock up when *they* want it up?  You really think it’s that easy to make 12 kale salads in five minutes while handling four drink orders and have enough charm to keep everyone laughing, entertained?

And if you go through with it, remember that you’ll be paid and respected like a porn star.  Because in the end, unlike with engineers or mathematicians or surgeons, you do what most people can and in fact do, cook.  The only difference is that you get paid to do what you do, you can get your cock up when *they* want it up and you cum when *they* want you to. Most of the time, or enough so they don’t fire you. Are you still horny?

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