I left for 11 years. I took a telecom job that paid better and had great benefits. It was great sitting in an air conditioned room with no (or so I thought) stress. I said I'd never go back in a kitchen again. But cooking is like racing. It's in your blood, and when people asked me what I did, I always wanted to say "I'm a cook, but I work as a long distance phone operator." because that's how I felt. Well, the operator job went away due to automation, and what else did I know? When I first quit the business, I could have worked anywhere. I had a tough time getting back in because no one remembered me and everybody now hires their friends, good or bad as they may be at it. My own concerns were about losing my timing. But it's like riding a bike, you might wobble at first, but then you get going. At first I couldn't work more than three or four tickets at a time and keep track of what I was doing. Now I can work the whole board, so that came back. My speed was bad too. I used to be really fast, and most of that has come back too. The funny part about it was I kept cutting myself at first. I think I had a band aid on every finger, and I'm thinking " Anybody would think I'd never seen a knife before. Good grief!" And every burn would hurt like hell. Now I'm back to where someone will point at a burn and ask how it happened and I'll say "I don't know. I didn't even know I had it." Someone told me Anthony Bourdain did a series where he went back to all the places he used to work and cooked on the line again. I would have loved to have seen that. I heard it was great. I know how he must have felt .I think the biggest shock to me was how much peoples' tastes have changed over the years I was gone. I once made beef stew for a noon special and had to explaing to the wait staff what it was. They'd never heard of it. One waiter said "Oh, it's like a roast beef dinner only in a bowl." Yeah, pretty much. What are we going to do when all they want is chicken strips and tacos because that's all they know? It'll be the most boring job in the world.