I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back to School...Back to School...

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Cooking ain’t no Ratatoullie, cute rats cooking food, have you ever seen a NYC rat? Do not want that making a bernaise, rats in a kitchen, total health code violation

Updates have been slow on this blog mainly because I entered a new phase. I decided against better and rational judgment, to finally go to culinary school specifically pastry, sweets and other things from the sugar kingdom. Though I have extensively read about reasons not go to culinary school, besides the ridiculous price tag, I can justify it for the fact I am coming in cold and as a career changer, if you want to call my current job a career, culinary school I have been able to better network and easier to trail at kitchens with the school. As for affordability, I am on the weekend schedule, meaning Saturday and Sunday for the day, I am stuck in a kitchen but I still work my 9-5 on the weekday. I got cash flow and not straight broke…yet but I am going to leave The Institute for Culinary Education (ICE) debt free.
Also, I am the only dude in my pastry class, all my other dude friends are like, hells yeah, surrounded by girls all the time. But I fail to mention that they are basically all married and also, I am sorry, but no one, guy or girl looks attractive in checkered pajama pants and commis hat. If this turns you on…well whatever you are into. Also, I know more about girl drama than I ever want to know; now I understand what being in a CW TV show is like.
As much as I have this romantic notion of cooking and baking, one thing that I made sure and clear when I started this is to accept the facts of cooking:

1.       You are going to be broke. You are not going to make that much money, and if you wanted to make more, take that money and go to graduate school instead. Unless you become a TV whore or create Donkey sauce, you will not be rolling around in dough (and I personally think if that is your end goal, you are cooking for the wrong reasons but that is another time)
2.       You work when people play. Friday, Saturdays and holidays? Workdays and money days. When “normal” people relax, your ass is in the kitchen, which leads too…
3.       LONG HOURS. You may officially put in a 35-40 hour a week as mandated by Labor Laws but if you are working at a top tier restaurant, do be surprised and be ready to work double shifts 16-17 hours Also the curse of pastry and baking, you have to wake up and go in at ungodly hours that only on-call hospital workers and junkies know about. And pastry in a kitchen, guess who is the last one to break down their station? Unfortunately, dessert does not come first.
4.       Your comfort does not exist. Kitchen to hot? Suck it up and don’t sweat on the muffins. Too cold? Think warm thoughts. Hungry at noon? It’s the lunch rush, maybe you can sneak some nuts from your mise. Feet hurt?
5.       Social life does not exist, you are going to miss birthday parties, bat mitzvahs and weddings. All Facebook invites will be unanswered.
6.       Physically demanding job. Cooking is physical, lots of bending down, hunched over and sacks of potatoes and flours are not light. Remember to lift with your knees and girls, chivalry is dead in the kitchen. If I am arms deep in a meringue, I do not have time and cannot move that tray of dough. Just lift from the knees
7.       This is a dirty job which I never understand why Chef whites are said color, I have been stained multiple colors and take your watch off before whisking a bowl of meringue, shit is hard to clean off.
8.       You will get hurt. You will cut yourself. You will burn yourself. Sugar is really hot.
9.       Repetition. Sure scooping out cookies is fun at home, but are you prepared to scoop out trays and trays of cookies of uniform size and amount? And do not think about licking that scooper (health code violation). Lemon curd is not thick enough? Do it again. Broken ganache? Again. Bread ain’t right? Again.

Okay, so I may have written a grim view of the culinary world and this does not pertain to everyone in the culinary world. You can go work corporate and actually have vacation days and benefits. It is possible to have a relationship and a social life outside of work. I just know that these are things that I can expect when working and the sooner I accept these facts, I can concentrate on cooking and making good food. I mean hell, what do I know? I am just a culinary student, I am not doing my first trail until Monday.

 I mean, none of this sounds great. At all, joining the Marine Corps when I had the chance sounds more appealing, so why do I want to do this? Am I a masochist? Is it because I cannot hack it at a normal job? Is the simple fact that I like feeding people a legitimate reason to do this? That I love food and making it? Even when I am tired and sore and half asleep, I still think about making food and how I can do it better? Are these ideals enough to survive on and enough to cloud the reality of the job? I do not know. I won’t know for a while and I may never know the answer to this. Though the more experience and things I learn (in cooking you are always learning, that I am sure and to survive in this business you need to keep learning) my ideas and thoughts change. One thing that changed was the idea of blogging about food were suddenly, now that I am about to be part of this industry, it just seemed weird and awkward to write and critique the food of others. Does having fat kid tendencies and eating a lot legitimate credentials to play blogger? I learned to just enjoy the moment and the food and just enjoy the damn meal.

I will still be blogging, less updates. I may blog things about places I go and eat depending on how I feel.