At some point among the crashing plates and angry customers, Trent Monk realized he was missing his calling.
"I was going to culinary school to be a chef. I was working in a restaurant and went, wait, what am I doing?" he said. "The learning curve was years ahead of me to become a great chef. Did I want to leave behind all 10 years that I had put into music? That's when I began to realize why I started doing music in the first place. God starting doing things with my heart."
Monk's musical sabbatical ended there. He picked up his guitar and hasn't looked back.
"It feels good, feels right. I have more passion and excitement than I've ever had."
Monk had survived and thrived through the music industry grind for more than a decade. Success came through a pair of Nashville record label deals and Top 5 hits. He recorded Dancing with the Angels in 2005 and The Twenty-First Time in 2008 as half of the Monk and Neagle duo.
The records drew industry acclaim.
"I've worked on a lot of great records," said Ed Cash, Gospel Music's 5 time Producer of the Year, "and the special ones you can usually identify. From the beginning, the songs to me on this record are simply at another level... It's been amazing, watching these guys bring them to life."
But a few years later, Monk says he was dried up and burned out. He walked away.
"I've always said that I would give it up and go in a different direction if God wanted me to. I guess I had to get to that place and really prove it before I could be used by God."
A re-energized Monk is enjoying life as a touring solo artist. He released "Dreamer" in August 2011 and "Trent Monk Live" in February 2012. Trent's newest single, "Beautiful You", was released to radio on April 13 of 2012, reached top-10 status in August and was #50 on Billboard's top-50 CCM songs of 2012. He describes his music as "soulful acoustic pop with a message."
And what is the message?
"My writing lately seems to have a theme throughout it," he said. "Not that every song sounds the same but I think it's about allowing God to steer you in the right direction from an unpleasant place to a place of peace where you are supposed to be."
All words spoken by an artist whose music has a mission larger than entrees and appetizers. "I would love for people's lives to change in some way and to be encouraged," he said. "What I've walked through in my life and the way that God has used those things, I feel like people can relate with their own stories and let God do something in their lives."