If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know by now that I have a new job!  I accepted a job as a Class Assistant at The Chopping Block in both their Merchandise Mart and Lincoln Square locations, and I think this is the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

But let’s back up a bit, shall we?  Several weeks ago you may remember that I got to my Lincoln Square farmers market and realized I didn’t have a knife to cut our wraps.  I knew that The Chopping Block was just down the street and bought a $10 knife, and when I got back to my market, I took a picture of the cut sandwich and tagged them to thank them for saving my market.  They quickly liked the post and started following me on Instagram – sweet!

I wrote about it in my blog post the next day, and blog reader Kelly wrote this:

Nom nom nom on that T-bone, Biz!! Excuse me while I catch my drool!!

PS….any chance you can choose who you work with!? Or maybe report him? Seems very irresponsible, that guy! Go fill out an application w/ the knife store!

“Go fill out an application with the knife store!” Huh.  I hadn’t really thought about it, but I forwarded my foodie resume to them, and about a week later I got an email inviting me to an open call for a job as a class assistant.  Wow!   When I got there, there were about 15 people all applying for the same job.  I wrote my name on the sign in sheet, sat down, and realized . . . no one was talking.  So I just blurted out “we are all here because we love food – what is your favorite thing to cook?”  It got the ball rolling.  As each person’s name was called to go in to interview, I’d clap “good luck Aaron!  good luck Katie!” as they went in to interview.  We were told that the initial interview would only last about 5-7 minutes.  My interview lasted 35!  I took that as a good sign.

A day later I was called back to meet at the Lincoln Square location with one of the GM’s and one of the head chefs.  We sat on the back patio, which has no less than five green eggs, two giant gas grills and a pizza oven.  Swoon!  We talked for 90 minutes, and I thought it went very well, and was thrilled when a week later I got an email offering me the position.  Later that week, I met at the corporate headquarters just minutes from the Merchandise Mart, signed all my papers, and got my shirt and hat.

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Um, I really need to whiten my teeth!   That is Nathan, my direct report and one of the GM’s.  He’s super nice and I know we are going to get along great.

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So the reason I didn’t blog at all last week was because I was working both jobs last week.  Monday and Tuesday I worked at the Merchandise Mart working private parties and training. 

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Wednesday and Thursday I did my normal farmers markets.  Then Friday I worked at the Lincoln Square location learning retail.  I wanted to touch all the pretty things – and pretty much did in the six hour shift I worked there.

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Then Saturday and Sunday I did my normal markets as well.  Yesterday was my last Sunday market with my buddy Alberto.  I will miss him dearly, but I will not miss having to get up at 3:45 a.m. on the weekends!

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Then last night was The Chopping Block’s company BBQ.  There were having a cooking contest for side dishes – I entered my baked beans, which I realized I never took a picture of, but I used my pineapple garlic sriracha BBQ sauce in the baked beans.  My secret ingredient though?  Candied bacon in the baked beans!

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The Chopping Block provided all the beverages and proteins, and we all brought the side dishes.  Um, there was some damn good food there!

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But the brisket??  Out.of.this.world. 

Chef Carrie said she put it in the Big Green Egg at 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning.  This was stunning.  Melted in your mouth, the fat was rendered perfectly, and I may have brought home a leftover container of brisket that I am going to figure out how to incorporate into my breakfast today.

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And I love this comment from The Chopping Block on Instagram:

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I work 14 shifts of training before I am assigned as a Class Assistant on my own.  I cannot wait.  Being able to show people the love I have for cooking is just a dream come true.  And that I get paid for it, is icing on the cake!   I have a feeling that I’ll be at this job for a long time, and I think this is the best move for me as I enter this next chapter of my life. 

The owner of the Eating Well as sad to see me go, but he told me it would be selfish of him to try to make me stay.   But I feel that my summer working the farmers markets only prepared me going into this job.  The shifts are only six hours long, but you are constantly on your feet, moving stuff, carrying dishes/pots/pants, etc.   The two shifts I worked already went by in the blink of an eye – it didn’t really feel like work at all.  Love.

I am working the next two Saturday’s at the farmers markets training two new people, and then I’ll be working full time at The Chopping Block.  I love being in the city again, and since most of my shifts start at 3:30 or 4:30, there is still plenty of time to work out, recipe develop, etc.  And I can delete the 3:45 a.m. alarm on my cell phone. 

And while it took six months to find my dream job, I could not be happier with my decision to leave the desk job behind.  My new job feels like home!