“Cooking food is my favorite thing in the entire world,” [Eric] Ehler says.
Yet like most of the cooks he knows, the toil of the job, not to mention the wages, took him to some dark places. The restaurant world produces two different types of stress. The good stress he loved: getting crushed on the line, body and mind swallowed up in movement. “Nothing’s funner than getting destroyed on a Friday night with all your buddies. You’re going down and digging yourself out of that hole,” Ehler says.
But the bad stress was inescapable.
Eric Ehler died of a heart attack at the restaurant where he worked 80-hour weeks. He was later revived, and is back in the kitchen, an example both of the toll working in San Francisco's restaurant industry can take and how close-knit the community is.