Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Chef Rob's Blog Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Moving close to the Caribbean Ocean is probably the best thing I ever did.

Not only because of the climate, but also because of the wonderful people and laid back life style a lot of the Caribbean People have. Much less people die here of hard attacks than in the so called ‘first world’.

However whenever you run a business and try to get things done, the laid back attitude can drive you nuts at times. Just keeping your sense of humour is the best defensive weapon.

I was in my early twenties when I opened my first business in Aruba. I leased the tiny little kitchen of a well-known bar ‘Café the Paddock’ and started selling food to the always hungry bar crowd.

I quickly got much busier than I expected and hired ‘Tracy’ a wonderful Filipino lady to help me in the kitchen and do my dishes. Tracy didn’t speak much Dutch, English or Papiamento so we did not have much conversation, but she worked hard and got the job done.

One very busy night, I watched her doing her dishes in the big stainless steel sink while she seemed to be counting. She counted 1 to 30 but just before reaching 29 she pulled her hands out of the water for just 2 seconds and the whole thing started over again.

As soon as things slowed down a bit I tried to talk to her, but she couldn’t explain to me what was going on. Following her rhythm I put my hands in the water in the sink but did not pull them out at the count of 29… I felt a heavy electrical shock going through my hands and a series of curse words left my mouth.

I told Tracy to immediately stop what she was doing because there was something seriously wrong with the electrical grounding of the whole building.

Early the next day, I found a local electrician that was going to sort out the problem. He ran around with his little meter and looked more concerned by the minute. I decided to let him do his job and returned 2 hours later.

He was waiting for me and was excited to tell me that although he couldn’t figure out what caused the electrical error he had found a resolution. Proudly he showed me a nice red light that he installed on the wall just above the sink. The light came on at the count of 29 for 2 seconds. He explained to me that as long as you didn’t hold your hands in the water while the light was on there would be no problem….

I counted only till 10 and then ushered him out of the building.

I did not open my kitchen that night…..