To Our Heroes on Labor Day:
Updated: Sep 11
Charlie Hong Kong has been serving our community noodle and rice bowls, abundant with locally grown organic veggies for almost 23 years. To sustain the operation of our restaurant, to keep those bowls coming, requires dedication, commitment, and expertise of many individuals skillfully working together. I write this today with thoughts of Labor Day in my mind. It is not unusual for our employees to be responsible for preparing over 700 plus food items and interacting with and serving 400 individuals during our 11-9 PM day. This does not include the flurry of activity beginning at 6:30 am: preparing the many sauces, chopping the 500 pounds of organic veggies, slicing, roasting, simmering broth, mixing, receiving daily deliveries, while complying to all the COVID safety and health standards.
A few of our cooks have been with us since the day we opened. Many of the cooks came on board years ago and have remained. Cooking in the kitchen of our repurposed converted 1950’s, ice cream stand, requires stamina, creativity, culinary expertise, plus a high level of coordination to maneuver in such a small space. The prep, wok, sauté cooks, and dishwashers are referred to as “back of the house “or BOH. The dedicated crew of employees responsible for greeting the public are required to master a unique combination of skills: attention to detail, knife skills, as well as prep, receive phone orders, computer savvy, engaging with delivery companies, and most important-with an attitude of patience and friendliness. These employees are referred to as “front of house” or FOH. They work directly with our many loyal and varied customers, each with their unique personal preferences and palettes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees perform all of the above, while wearing a mask, gloves, and now the added challenge of CZU fires affecting air quality. I share this to give an idea of what it takes to serve a Spicy Dan, Spicy Garlic Tofu Rice Bowl or Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl.
There has been much expression of gratitude for our “essential workers”. The Charlie Hong Kong employees are “essential workers”. Confronted with all the many recent challenges, they show up day after day to do the work of preparing food and serving our community. It is with clear intention and the spirit of positive teamwork that the BOH and FOH work together to feed our community. Feeding people is an act of spiritual generosity. It is the good will of each individual employee that keeps Charlie Hong Kong going. Each one of our employees has their own rich personal life, dreams, and challenges. It is with deep respect and gratitude we honor and acknowledge the essential work that each individual brings to Charlie Hong Kong.The next time you order lunch, a snack, or dinner from Charlie Hong Kong, I invite you to imagine the dedicated individuals focused on providing you with nourishment. These essential workers are our heroes.
-- Carolyn & Rudy