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How to deal with kitchen a*******

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

Well I'm 19 I started working in at this hotel when I was 17 I was always playfully picked on since I was and still am the youngest.  We just recently got a new guy and they are beginining to treat me as if he is above me.  They always complain that im messy (Which i need to improve on).  They also said to someone that they just dont like me.  They stated that they wanted to train the new guy to be better than me because it would make be look stupid because I am going to school for culinary.  The other day one of the other line cooks told me to work in the pantry while they had the new guy working on the hot line.  I really didnt mind,but if they do this consitantly I am going to start to take it as an insult.  I find that mistakes that I do are magnified and made bigger than they are,but if they make a mistake its no big deal.  I am the only one that really works all over I guess you consider me a "Roundsman"  I would work the night shift ,and then have to work the morning shift the next morning.  I find that I dont get credit for my improvments,but only get called out on my flaws. The Executive chef really doesnt get involved in all of this petty nonsense,but I just want to know how to deal with people like this.  I know this is the industry,but its starting to take a big toll on my emotions becuase I use to like going to work now I am just getting tired of the disrespect.

post #2 of 55

Stand up for yourself. People in general and especially in this industry will walk all over you if you let them

post #3 of 55

1) Respect is earned.  You can never demand it, and those who do will always fail.

 

2) Who are "They"???????  Who does the scheduling and why?  Why does the Chef trust this person to do the scheduling?

 

3) It looks like co-wokers are feeding off of your emotions.  The more emotion you give them, the more they will "get you" just to get a bigger kick watching you get worked up.  Once you can stop this cycle things will  improve.

 

4) In any kitchen you go to, you will always be the "New guy".  Some can pass this stage in a day or two and have everyone working with them, and some never get over it. Which one will you be?. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #4 of 55

Call out the biggest trouble-maker, right there in front of everyone else. Tell him everything you've told us. That should end things. If it continues, push him out the back door and punch the bageebies out of him. That's what I would do at your age. I'm now 50-yo, and because of that, earlier this year I walked out of, and away from, a Michelin* restaurant. I wish I would have gone with the recommendation I gave you instead. Until you have some kitchen/street credibility you are going to get abuse. Now if your culinary skills aren't worth the time it takes to read this post, all bets are off. You get what you get.   

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #5 of 55

Sorry kid to put it to you like this, but what you described is called LIFE. It's just taking place in a kitchen with a-holes with jackets that have a lot of buttons on them. People push you around because they can... simple as that. As long as they can they will. If the Chef can't help you or wont tan no one can help you, but you. Iceman was right on all count but one, IMHO. No matter how much "street cred" you have people will still push you around if you let them... wait I just said that!  I'm repeating myself... That's the way the world works.

 

As for how to deal with them, it's up to you. I can't really say what you should do. You have to take charge of the situation and 19 is a great age to start.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Ari

post #6 of 55

""They always complain that I am messy''and I have to improve on  it.?? How long have they been telling you this?? Think about it.   Have you improved on it?    Or are they sick of claeaning up after you. ?    All questions to ponder.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

""They always complain that I am messy''and I have to improve on  it.?? How long have they been telling you this?? Think about it.   Have you improved on it?    Or are they sick of claeaning up after you. ?    All questions to ponder.

They have been telling me about it I have improved I learned to have a small bucket under my station and a wet rag in water,but when I did that they said it was stupid that I had that there.   They just dont complain about what I do.  One guy complained about me going to college for culinary telling me theres no point.  One of the line cooks that has been there for a long time would tell me to do one thing,and then when the executive chef gets on the line he would tell me to to another.  So then I ask my self  "Who do I listen to?"  I personally listen to the Executive Chef because hes my boss then when I listen to him about how to make a certain dish they say i'm a suck up.  

post #8 of 55

Chefedb has given you some excellent food for thought. Sometimes if you are getting the same information from a number of people, as in "they", there may be some credence to what is being said. It may be hard, but take the information they are passing along to you through their words and actions and look only for your part in it. Sometimes there is nothing there that is your part, it is all just them, but If you can find your part in it, look for ways to improve.

 

Quote:
The other day one of the other line cooks told me to work in the pantry while they had the new guy working on the hot line.  I really didnt mind,but if they do this consitantly I am going to start to take it as an insult.

Let me start off by saying that cross training is very important and maybe it was time for the new guy to get his feet wet. That being said, if I am really good at working the hot line, the people that I work the line with are not going to want me off the line (unless they have masochistic tendencies and like to work harder), whether they like me or not. When things are really hopping, I would rather work with an efficient jerk than my best friend who gets in the weeds, needs help, and makes my life harder because of it.

 

Why did they want the new guy on the line? If it was cross training, not your part. If it was a personality thing, not your part. Now come the hard questions. How is my work on the line? Do I get in the weeds? Do I need help? Can I keep up? The biggie and most difficult, do I make my co-workers life harder due to my work habits?

 

I have been in the industry for a long time now and the last question is still a relevant one that I ask myself all the time. If I am honest with myself, I can still always find areas, in my work habits, that I can  improve upon. The day that I can't find any, is the day that I need to walk away from my career because I no longer have the mindset that I value.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #9 of 55

The quote button won't work on Iceman's post, but you should read it again.  A lot of red flags in there.

 

1) If you "punch some one out" at work, even if it is at the back door, expect violence to get violence--expect retribution--especially if you feel you are the "odd man out". 

 

2) Do not "call some one out in front of everyone" because you feel your feelings are hurt.  Call someone out if they tried to poison someone, yes, if they left the gas on and blew the pilot light out, sure, if they put a steaming bucket of soup in the walk-in, yes.  But your feelings and your percieved treatment by co-workers, NO. 

Like I said in my first post respect is earned it can not be demanded. It can never be demanded, and if forced, usually ends up very badly for the demander.  You can't fight this, it's kind of like arguing that the law of gravity is wrong.

 

3) Iceman is now 50 years old and still working the line, and can not last more than a day a Michelin * kitchen.  Do you really want his advice?

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #10 of 55

Alright dude. Here's what's up:

 

1. "They always complain that im messy (Which i need to improve on)." Then work cleaner!!! Respect and getting people to like you in this business means stepping up and working just like (or better) than everyone else around you. If you are the weakest link, no one will like you and that's just how it goes. Step it up.

 

2. "They also said to someone that they just dont like me." See above.

 

3. "The other day one of the other line cooks told me to work in the pantry while they had the new guy working on the hot line.  I really didnt mind,but if they do this consitantly I am going to start to take it as an insult." I'd HOPE you're taking it as an insult! That is YOUR spot on the line. You need to want it. Take ownership. You need to drop a set of balls and say that is your spot and let the new guy work pantry.

 

4. "I find that mistakes that I do are magnified and made bigger than they are,but if they make a mistake its no big deal." Don't make mistakes. In this business you need to be perfect.

 

5. "I am the only one that really works all over I guess you consider me a "Roundsman"  I would work the night shift ,and then have to work the morning shift the next morning." Tough position you're in, because you have to bond and assimilate with different shifts which makes things even harder. But you need to find a way.

 

The bottom line is, don't take it personally. This is just business. Develop things outside your job that you can take pride in, that way you won't feel like a piece of crap when people talk down to you at work. It's just a job man. Treat it like one. If they don't like you, who cares? Put your head down and just work. Eventually they will come around once they see you are putting in 110% to everything you do. Attention to detail, sense of urgency and cleanliness. Work on those three things and everything will come. Good luck and if you're not prepared to give 110%, go work at McDonalds.

 

Chris

post #11 of 55

You're 19 yes, but how much experience do you have? How is your line work. If you can't hold your station down maybe you need to get back to basics. We have a guy at work that can't do a damned thing right, and I'm sure he feels the same because the kitchen is a place that will let you know when you're messing up. If these people are some to pull you out of the weeds and have to clean your whole station for you first and then restock your mise, then that's the issue. In my experience people wont give you shit for nothing. I caught a lot of shit when I started because I was messing up, now I don't mess up and I don't get yelled at.

 

 

A few tips for you that might help

Keep EVERYTHING in a decided on place. Everything means even the smallest 1/9 pan full of garnish or your water cup goes in the same spot every day.

After you get done plating wipe down your board.

Put everything back in place after you use it.

Keep 2 dry towels 1 wet towel and a sani bucket in your station.

Preform well get treated well, thats how life works.

From now on when people start harping on you look at what you're doing wrong, not why they're being assholes.

 

 

I wish you the best of luck, but it sounds like you're not preforming so you're not getting rewarded. Fix that and I'm sure things will change.

post #12 of 55

My advice is pretty simple, and mostly reflects what the other guys said.

 

1) Toughen up Buttercup. You're 19, still young, self conscious, and insecure. I was, and I bet most everyone else here was too when they were that age. You need to develop the ability to not take the criticisms personally. If the criticisms are legitimate, you should heed them. If they are illegitimate, then who cares. You're a professional, there to work, not waste time doing the 'mean girls' routine. It's important to note that the atmosphere in the professional cooking environment isn't conducive to a nice, pleasant, communication style. So things will sound much ruder and harsher then they are intended to be. You'll learn to filter that out. Also, somethings are just matters of different style. i.e. You learn to make tarter sauce at a restaurant that puts mustard in it. At your next place, they ask you to make tarter sauce, and you do it the way you know, then ride your butt because you put mustard in. Big deal, More then one way to make tarter sauce, and nobody told you this places secret recipe. No need to beat yourself up for it.The worst part about it, is that you're (the rhetorical you) spending so much time thinking about how you messed up, and what the other guys think about your messing up, that it starts to screw with your head, and your work suffers. You're psyching yourself out.

 

2) Confidence/balls are important to getting ahead in life, so grow some. This is closely related to 'never let them see you bleed/sweat/cry'

 

3) Screw all the interpersonal bullsh*t. Focus on improving your skills and fundamentals. This is important because you will better once your mind is occupied with skill mastery and not what those jerkoffs are saying, and because that kind of stuff will slacken off as your skills get better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

Call out the biggest trouble-maker, right there in front of everyone else. Tell him everything you've told us. That should end things. If it continues, push him out the back door and punch the bageebies out of him. That's what I would do at your age. I'm now 50-yo, and because of that, earlier this year I walked out of, and away from, a Michelin* restaurant. I wish I would have gone with the recommendation I gave you instead. Until you have some kitchen/street credibility you are going to get abuse. Now if your culinary skills aren't worth the time it takes to read this post, all bets are off. You get what you get.   

 


Seriously? Starting a fight is a good way to get your self fired. Not to mention the legal consequences, and possibility of a felony following you around for the rest of your life. It's a fricking kitchen, not prison.

 

Food Pump, I had to go to the full page editor to get quote to work right.

post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

 Iceman is now 50 years old and still working the line, and can not last more than a day a Michelin * kitchen.  Do you really want his advice?

 

 

  lol.gif Where's the like button?lol.gif

This thread reminds me of some of the ba** busting blue blood CMC's I've worked under and how challenging it can be when your a young Chef.

Not every personality fits in with every crew.

The big kitchen can be a brutal place. Expose a weakness and others will exploit it.

Learn to suck it up and get along because this is no place for the needy types that are looking for a slap on the back.

I worked under a CMC for a professional sports team years ago. This was a big kitchen in every sense. Flight kitchens on multiple floors. Multiple dining rooms, multiple banquet rooms, pastry, butcher, hot line, ice carving every day etc.

The chef would belch out " C L E A N UP!" loud enough to shake the rafters and the entire place would come to a screetching halt with every one scrambling to clean for five minutes. Very intimidating at first but the Chef was truly fantastic. I learned a lot and had much respect for him.

But there was never an easy day.

Straighten your toque, toughen up and learn to keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.

Never show weakness, never complain and never listen to a 50 year old line cook about getting physical.

I've seen some good people make some bad choices like that and I have never seen it end well.

Best of luck now get back to work!

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #14 of 55

LOL. Crack me the love up!!!

 

OK. I've been called out myself now by the know-all experts of the food world. Hey rocktrns, it's really good advice to listen to these guys, as long as you are ready to continually take abuse.

 

Some of you guys need to come back to Earth and realize that we don't work in any rocket-surgery profession, but the real world of $8-$10/hr jobs. I work in Michelin* restaurants because I CAN.  I chose to walk away from situations because of experience. The real world isn't TV Docudramaland or FoodNetwork.  It's real work. 


Edited by IceMan - 5/20/12 at 12:38pm

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #15 of 55
Quote:
The chef would belch out " C L E A N UP!" loud enough to shake the rafters and the entire place would come to a screetching halt with every one scrambling to clean for five minutes. 

 

 

I like that...might have to figure out a way to fit that in during the 'crazy' shifts.  Thanks.

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #16 of 55

A reminder to all, the OP is looking for assistance, if you have some, post it.

 

If you disagree with another poster, feel free to offer alternatives, BUT KEEP PERSONAL DIFFERENCES OUT OF THE DISCUSSION!

 

If you have a personal problem with a poster, discuss it via PM and resolve it or PM a moderator and we'll resolve it, probably not to the satisfaction of either party to the dispute but certainly to the community.

 

In other words, as previously posted with a slightly modified meaning: "CLEAN UP, NOW!"

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #17 of 55

To solve by violence is not to solve it only festers and reoccurs. Punch them out and you get  sued or hurt yourself So what did that solve? Just hold your head up and ignore them, this makes you a bigger man and more mature then they are. Don't let them drag you down to their levels. Everything will work out in time.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #18 of 55
Thread Starter 

I do agree there are allot of things I do need to work on.  I do disagree I am performing good I have signifigantly improved since I first started I'm faster and my products quality is good.  No one has to pull me out of the weeds we work together so if one person gets more tickets than the other one we help them out.  I've tried putting an sani bucket and a  normal bucket under my station,but they think its stupid.  I like putting parchment paper in on my sheet try to make it more cleaner they think thats stupid.  I like listening to what the executive chef says and how he wants the recipes done,but they like doing it there own way so when I do it the execs chef ways I get called out on it like I'm a suck up.  So there is allot more too it.

post #19 of 55

I'm a grammar nazi. *breathe*

 

In New York state, where I am, it's actually a requirement to have a sanitizer bucket on every station.  It's not a bad idea regardless.  It's not a stupid idea, they're stupid.  Listen to your EC.  Do what he says, and do things how he tells you he wants them done.  It's his operation, and he wants things done a certain way for a reason.  Your job is to make every dish look like the EC himself made it, which will make him look good, which makes the kitchen look good, which in turn makes you look good.  Don't sacrifice ethics or morals for peer acceptance.  Do your job and do it well.  Forget everyone else.  Keep your station *clean*.  In between the chaos, be wiping down anything that's got crap on it.  Don't worry about the floor if you're really busy, just get crap off your station. Line sweeps will happen.

post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocktrns View Post

 I like listening to what the executive chef says and how he wants the recipes done,but they like doing it there own way so when I do it the execs chef ways I get called out on it like I'm a suck up. 

 

 

 

There is a reason he is the chef and they are line cooks.

Keep your head down, work clean and hard and laugh to yourself as they get passed over for promotions and you eventually become their boss.

post #21 of 55

This just sounds like straight up Bullying. Regardless of what mistakes you makes, what things you do wrong,  at the end of the day it sounds like the rest of the crew get together and plot how to make your work life worse. That doesn't sound like a team trying to teach someone how to be better, sounds like they're bored and they want a punching bag. Its basic human behaviour; a group of people marginalizing an individual so that they feel more unified as a team at your expense. Same thing happens at my work with this one guy, everyone pays him s*** for mistakes, makes fun of him for trying new things and basically throws him around like a ball. When this guy is on his days off they talk s*** about him behind his back but never go as far as to plot against him. As for advice? Either work out how to react to their constant bully with either a stern 'hey f*** off, him not putting up with this s*** anymore' type of attitude or laugh it off/ don't take it to heart until they get bored of trying to get you to react and move on to something else to entertain them. If all else fails, leave. F*** what people say about 'this is the LIFE' and 'you gotta be tough in the kitchen', I've seen/experienced these things lead to emotional distress, depression and even suicidal tendencies. No job or work collegues has the right to put an individual through that for s*** and giggles. Depression is not something you want to develop.

post #22 of 55

Listen, Polly-Prissy-Pants.  Hazing happens in a kitchen.  Boo-freaking-hoo if you don't think people shouldn't have to deal with it.  You're in the wrong line of work if you think everything should just be peaches and cream every day.  He'll form a stronger bond for having endured it, provided he's doing his job properly, and he'll earn their respect.  You're giving him advice that'll get him fired.  Simmuh dah nah.


Edited by RBandu - 5/22/12 at 6:29am
post #23 of 55

Is Jolly Roger still in Lake George. And there used to be a twin restaurant  2 sides  one gourmet one regular it was good can't remember name. It was on main drag out of town a bit freestanding building Greek owned. I am going back 35-40 years. And a Fort  was there ? And a Holiday Inn on main drAG USED TO BE A DINNER THEATER TYPE HOTEL.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #24 of 55

Sad to say Lake George has changed a lot, even in my years.  The twins closed down 20(?) years ago.  The Fort (William Henry) is still there, however it's a spectacle now, they no longer have a proper gourmet kitchen, and they cater to tourists.  The Holiday Inn is still in operation, and they're just more of the same.  I'm happy to report that the Sagamore is still a top-notch operation, they still break down sides of beef in their butcher shop, for preparation and service in their kitchens.  There are a few more landmarks that are still around, "George's", "Capri", but the area is changing.

post #25 of 55

I  go to Lake George every year. I can't believe what happened to Fort William Henry. The food used to be terrific. The last time I was there we ate at Sushi Yoshi,  the Market place (breakfast), Capri. It has gotten to the point where I don't know where to eat anymore.

On Canada street the shops/restaurants change every couple of years. It gets to the point where I don't know where to eat anymore.

 

Sagamore ? Never been there . 

 

Petals.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(157 photos)
  
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(157 photos)
  
Reply
post #26 of 55

The Sagamore is a hotel.  Technically it's in Bolton Landing, further north, but right on the lake. I worked there during my glory days.  I love the fact that at least 2 of you know about my area, wheras it's an underpopulated piece of time most of the year, when summer hits we're busier than any big city, and the population is still 2500ish.

post #27 of 55

It used to be a wonderful destination for me. Sagamore was always top shelf. I used to stay in a cabin  which was one of many in a complex owned by a couple just North of town.  The Sagamore was Bolton Landing and if I remember correctly was in center of lake but I could be wrong it's been a long time.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #28 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice!  Never relized it would get this many replies.  I like taking advice thats why I made this thread.  I have to learn how to not take things to seriously I'm 19 and I will learn.

post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

It used to be a wonderful destination for me. Sagamore was always top shelf. I used to stay in a cabin  which was one of many in a complex owned by a couple just North of town.  The Sagamore was Bolton Landing and if I remember correctly was in center of lake but I could be wrong it's been a long time.

Yes, it is Bolton Landing, The place has not changed . I forgot the name today but when I pulled out my pictures, that is the place. How can anyone not like Bolton ?

 

@ Rock: Your humble, you would not have posted if you were not. Good on you for getting your feelings out and seeking some advice. Your going to succeed, stay positive.

Petals.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(157 photos)
  
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(157 photos)
  
Reply
post #30 of 55

My parents grew up in Spring Valley and every summer they'd make the trek to Lake George, before the highway was built.  I'm curious, have either of you heard of "Massie's?"  It opened in 1919, it's right on route 9, right before you hit Glens Falls.  Family-run italian place, my grandparents used to stop there for spaghetti and meatballs, once on the way TO Lake George, once on the way home.  I had the honor of working there for almost 8 years, for a man that was white-haired, egotistical and downright unreasonable...but he was really good at what he did.  That was the man that was rolling meatballs back in the 1940's, and he kept rolling them until the died, which was last August.  He refused any help to run his business, right up to the end.

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