Repairing A Disposable World

Posted on May 30, 2013 by admin
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Fix it Chef
Repairing a Refrigerator door with a creme brulee torch.

Tiki’s has been around for over ten years, so things around the restaurant need maintenance.  I’ve fixed blenders, drains, ovens and burners. In the above image I’m repairing a refrigerator door by getting a little unconventional and heating up the tempered metal hinge with a crème brûlée torch. I recently changed the turn buckle and chain operating mechanism on the convection oven and I have the mechanism for the second oven when that one breaks. I could pay someone $85 an hour to do these repairs or I can just do it myself. We fixed our tilt skillet. Ed, my assistant in a lot of these projects and FOH manager at Tiki’s, and I took the whole thing apart. The mechanism was so frozen it actually broke the aluminum plating and the crank. We re-greased and cleaned the whole thing up. Ed took the crank to get welded and we put it all back together. It was a lot of effort, it took a long time but we salvaged an expensive component to a valuable piece of equipment instead of throwing it away and ordering a brand new piece. Easier isn’t better.

I never understood what a penny saved is a penny earned meant 5 years ago. When you think about it though, not only do you start off with maybe, say 70% of your income after paying taxes, you get taxed on each transaction you make on top of that. I end up making money by doing it myself. By not paying someone and also the exponential decreasing in value when money changes hands due to taxes. This goes with cooking also. We eat better and cheaper because I have the skills to make great food at home instead of going out to a restaurant for a comparable experience. Quality of life is better when you have the ability to do it yourself.

I don’t believe in disposable. People, in particular are not disposable. Almost anything can be fixed or repaired if you put enough time and effort into something. I coach people and I put a lot of effort into it. When you devote that much mental energy and time into someone it’s draining. You give a part of yourself to them. It’s the right thing to do though. Look at our divorce rate, something like 51%. In our disposable society we’re taught it’s ok to just throw things away, throw away relationships. Nobody wants to put time into fixing things anymore. My relationship with my wife was a lot of work at first. We put in the effort and now it’s a lot less work and at the end of the day it’s so worth it! There’s always maintenance involved as with anything. If you just expect things will work, either in relationships or with equipment your going to be frustrated when they inevitably don’t. What do you do? Throw it out and get a new one? Live in misery with it? Fix it? Obviously it depends on what it is but I think we go with the first option far too much these days.

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