Two words— GOLF TOURNAMENT. I leave Indiana, where I was doing VIP meals for Mecum auto auction straight to Dallas, TX for the Colonial Invitational.
6am flight, 1 layover, and a 2.5 hour wait for my “shuttle” to the golf course. I arrive at the golf course, sweaty, exhausted, and mind blown. I’ve only done Toruk and now 1 week of another large event in the company, the auto auction. Now I’m participating in an event that will sell more than $300k in food a day.
How bad can this be? Well the cooking is done in a tent with VIP events chef, concessions chef, and my team which does the media, volunteer, and a few VIP events throughout the week. It’s so hot and humid under that tent that the 90 degree sunshine feels refreshing.
I’m helping push out a party of 600 with fancy plated appetizers and buffet style entrées (cedar plank salmon and roasted lamb racks). I keep asking for direction and who needs help, I’ve only arrived about an hour ago and I am just floating around helping where it needs to be done. It’s getting late — 830 now.
I walk over to the “kitchen”area and realize my team has left for the day. No call, text, or smoke signal to say they are leaving. I’m now stuck at the venue until this VIP party is over. I wouldn’t care if I didn’t have to be back at 0430.
I arrive at the hotel, check into my room and realize there are suitcases and clothes in my room?!?! WHAT? I call the front desk and ask why I’m in the wrong room. The receptionist replies
Oh I’m sorry Ms. Irwin everyone has roommates with your group reservation.
ROOMMATE?! No. This is a lie. This whole day is a lie. I don’t even know her name. I jump in the shower, lay my clothes out and pass out. I haven’t shared a hotel room with anyone .. EVER. She turns out to be a sweet girl from Canada on her 2nd day working for the company.
The next few days are groundhog days. 430am-7pm EVERY DAY. Then the rain comes. Lots of rain…. Pouring… The golf cart ride to the kitchen tent is about 7-9 minutes without rain. The ground outside the tent is muddy, dirty and a mix of overflowing dish water and who knows what. The refrigerated trucks (all 3 of them) are outside the tent and at the top of a very steep plywood ramp. Every time we need something we have to go into the rain and mud and up the ramp trying not to fall.
Well… You guessed it. I fell. I slipped and slid 1/2 way down the ramp. I was talking shit to the guy organizing the trucks, so maybe it was karma. Well the ramp is filthy! Muddy, slimy, smelly. I refuse to stand up until someone comes over with a hose and sprays the mud from my backside. As I’m being sprayed down I notice there are a few phones out and I’m being recorded, snapchatted, and these videos are going out to everyone. I’m embarrassed (just a little).
This is golf. Golf is NOT cirque. Golf is not the family you travel with, but a group of mixed individuals from different venues, interns, volunteers, temp workers, and all of us are working nonstop. So hard that if we sit down we fall asleep. An intern in my kitchen fell asleep on the toilet. I fell asleep on a weight/tie down for the tent (there are pictures of this too).
The last day of the tournament was the longest. Same amount of cooking paired with cleaning and breaking down of equipment and cleaning all 3 refrigerated trucks. Around 730 we are done and ready to leave! Someone comes by and tells us we have to clean the tent where Dean and DeLuca was cooking. WHAT?!
We walk over to their tent, they were the sponsors of the tournament. (If you’re not familiar they are a super upscale grocery and fresh market.) They left their kitchen a mess! Opened the back of their USFOODS truck and just pushed the leftover food onto the ground. Left trash everywhere in the kitchen, pans full of cooked food in the coolers, and brand new equipment looking like it has been used for years.
It was our last task so we worked quickly to get everything back in order and organized. Cleaned the equipment, swept the floors, took the trash out. As soon as we were tying the last bag of trash the chef of Dean and DeLuca comes over to apologize. I have to walk away before I say something I’ll regret.
Back to the hotel to pack before my 7am flight to Providence. I’m rejoining cirque tomorrow!! I never felt so much excitement to leave an event/job. It was an experience. One for the books. I suggested to send everyone to a golf tournament and when they come back they will appreciate the job we have on cirque.