At any moment, something great could happen
While I was digging around salvage places looking for the finishing touches for Union (like sinks and mirrors and dishes), I came across some lights that used to hang in an old theatre in Collingwood. My gut told me to buy them and put them above me in the kitchen. I think all the drama, the concrete, the ’hood, the plumbing, the loans and the anxiety that have come with building Union out of an old karaoke dive have made me look at the restaurant in a different way. I now compare the undertaking with building a theatre on a lively street, where a play will run for as long as it can. Union—with its brick walls and barn floors and great lights and horseshoe bar and open kitchen—is going to be a big stage, an opportunity to perform, to dig in a little bit and see where it can go. If building Union had been smooth, easy and on time, I would have missed the chance to understand it this way, to see what it can become. Now I can define it; I can visualize the food and the flow and the acts. I want it to be a place where people perform and lift life up a bit and feel as if they could be anywhere.
Maybe all this theatre business is just an act, a way for me to diffuse the anxiety I am feeling about the grind and routine that awaits me in the kitchen. But seeing it all like a drama reminds me that cooking is not just a tiring trade; it’s creating and expressing and performing. And if I can build a place where I can cook and feel as if I am anywhere, then maybe something different can come out of there. The food I begin with is just the introduction; where it all will go from there is a mystery. All I know is that I will have theatre lights to remind me, on the darkest and roughest of restaurant days, to see Union like I do right now—with excitement. A place where, at any moment, something great could happen.