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03/17/2004: "not your usual kitchen help"

Carlos has been working with me for a week, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised that he seems to be 'the one,' although he didn't seem like a usual kitchen help, meaning, a little Mexican guy. He's Dominican/Puerto Rican, which made me hesitate to hire him. When it comes to a kitchen help, Mexican guys know their way around the little space that gets to 100 degrees and stays like that the entire summer. They work their ass off for low pay with absolutely no complaint (at least verbally or in their attitude), they seem to pride their skills and eager to know more to stay professionally affluent. Because of the minimalist operation I have here, when I have find a help, I have to do it as soon as possible, leaving me no room to procrastinate. I usually have to decide in a couple of hours. This is always a tough decision, since I could really screw myself. Experienced workers, especially the ones who have already worked in Japanese restaurants cost me more than I can afford. But I have good experience with little Mexican guys who picked up stuff very quickly. This time around, there was a experienced little Mexican, a young little Mexican (younger guys usually learn faster), and Carlos. The experienced probably won't last because pay is not good enough. The young guy looked too shy. Carlos was more like the neighborhood Spanish guy who would tell me I'm looking goood. But I felt most comfortable with Carlos out of my candidates. He said he had been looking for work for six months, and he just wants to provide his family. I bought his straight forward honesty and decided on my gut feeling. And here he is, taking notes, paying attention to everything I do, asking me questions, singing while doing dishes, calling me 'hey, boss!' He says I'm a good boss that we can laugh at each other. He reads El Diario every day. He likes to watch The Learning Channel. He isn't really my usual kitchen help. He isn't also what I thought is a typical Dominican/Puerto Rican guy. There's been lots of nice surprises. Risk is always involved with the choices we make. Some choices would lead to disappointments and others to treasure. I'm glad that I didn't typecast this time.

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