Chee-burger, chee-burger, chee-burger

New year, new school term, new course: short-order cooking.

Do I aspire to be a short-order cook? No. I do, however, appreciate the virtue of mastering diner-style fare. (And make no mistake, I have far from mastered it!) It requires speed, agility, an ability to multi-task, and, above all else, resilience. To withstand the heat, pressure, stress of the kitchen. No small feat and not for the faint of heart.

I tell myself my years spent toiling in the bowels of Parliament Hill were an ideal, albeit unusual training ground for my current stint at Red River College’s Hard Drive Cafe. I’ve laboured under incredibly stressful (and unrewarding) conditions before; a little heat doesn’t change much.

In all, I’m enjoying it. As I said, I don’t want to make a career of it, but I do find the work rewarding. There’s something simple, yet noble about being able to fry an egg, make an omelette, flip some flapjacks, whip up a waffle.

My one gripe — and of course I have one! — has nothing to do with the heat of the line, or the nature of the cooking; nay, it has to do with the hours we’re keeping.

Because we’re open for breakfast, we’re required to be in the kitchen by 6 a.m., which means I’m waking up not to CBC Radio One’s morning show, but to the BBC World News, which CBC broadcasts at 4:30 in the morning.

Suffice it to say, the college’s parking lot is pretty bleak when I arrive at 5:40.

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