My name is Jessica Dobrin and I live in San Francisco, California. I am going on 110 days since I last worked in a restaurant. The hospitality industry is all I have ever known. I went to the Culinary Institute of America right after high school and have been working in this industry ever since. I have worked in multiple Michelin star restaurants and absolutely love the energy and challenge of fine dining restaurants. Prior to COVID-19 I was a Sommelier at Benu.
For anyone in the restaurant industry, these last 4 months have been tough. A whirlwind between constant changes to laws and "new social normals." The sudden loss of a job and financial security - and to top it all off - on my birthday of all days. I started this year of my life under a mandatory "Shelter-in-Place" which started on March 17, 2020. It is crazy to see the vast amount of our industry relocating and dealing with this unforeseen hardship.
I loved working in restaurants; feeling a sense of community and family while working a challenging service is a feeling I miss greatly. Working in restaurants is hard, and yet so satisfying. More than anything, I miss connecting with guests, and just talking about wine to strangers. I really miss service, and the challenges and small victories I had every night.
During this time I can't help but worry about the changes and obstacles that lie ahead in the restaurant industry. Especially fine dining with all the intricate steps of service. And wine service? How many new protocols will be added, and adjusted and changed. It's a lot to take in, and it's all so uncertain. It feels almost unfair to have this happen to an industry so focused on bringing joy to others. It frustrates me beyond words to see what this pandemic has done to our industry, but I hope we can build a stronger community after we overcome this. I have found comfort by checking in on old friends and colleagues and am so thankful for the support system I have.
I am curious about other opinions and insights everyone has on this crazy topic of the future of the restaurant industry.