I have always been drawn to hockey. It was the one sport I always found myself watching and consistently being entertained by. There's just something magnetic about the game and watching the players glide across the ice as the puck soars from a stellar pass hitting their teammate's tape just right. So, it was no surprise that I jumped on the opportunity to work at the National Hockey League All Star Weekend in Tampa in 2018, even if I was just in the kitchen.
I was so excited to work that weekend, to be in the same building as some of the biggest names in current hockey history and experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. It had never crossed my mind that I was going to be away from all the action with little to no chance to get to see any of it. Stuck in the kitchen, that's where I was, overheated and tired of wearing my chef's coat entirely.
I was so sure for so long that I wanted to be involved in the culinary field, surrounded by the cascading aromas of baked goods being made in the kitchen. Sweet scents filling my nose as soon as I walk through the door in the morning, a life filled of fresh baked breads and joyful customers coming in and out of the bakery.
I had never questioned how hard the work was going to be to do what I had thought was my dream until that night in Amalie Arena.
Is this even what I want to do anymore? I asked myself as I served drunk hockey fans tater tots and chicken tenders. Why did I even leave all my friends and go to a completely different high school for a program that I don't even want as my profession anymore? Was this all a waste of time? What would I even do instead of culinary?
That questions rang in my head for hours while continuing to serve hockey goers. My legs were going numb from standing and my hands almost raw from washing them so much. What would I do if I abandoned culinary and the whole plan that I had with it? I had no answer to this question for most of the night.
Until I was told to take a break by what seemed to be an angel... but was really just a supervisor.
I walked away from the kitchen, frustrated and confused. I didn't know what to do anymore and that's when I saw a curtain draw open. I snuck over to the curtain that hung among fans and watched the action below me on the ice. I watched Henrik Lundqvist block shots from some of the greatest players in the central division. I watched the pucks glide across the ice, the goalie making an amazing save, and it had me enamored. That was the moment I knew, as I was told to go back to the kitchen, that I wanted to be a part of the show, I wanted to work in the hockey world.