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(Some Gal)   Professional chef discourages amateur cooks from profession. "Kitchens attract bullies because they've read Kitchen Confidential too many times or they think the Gordon Ramsay they see on TV is the real Gordon Ramsay. It's a joy to weed them out"   (dirtcandynyc.com) divider line 122
    More: Obvious, Kitchen Confidential, Gordon Ramsay, right-wing radio, chefs, cooking schools, Kitchens attract, basic skills, kitchens  
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4161 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 13 Dec 2012 at 6:00 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-13 07:11:02 PM

Tatsuma: miniflea: You made it to the second round on Chopped?

No.

But I am now living in Israel, and I have had four people come up to me saying 'Wait a minute, are you X who did Y in Z? [insert conversation about that]', and Y is something I did in Z, North America.


were you on Top Chef?
 
2012-12-13 07:11:30 PM

Tatsuma: And I am sorry if I sound like a condescending asshole


No you're not.
 
2012-12-13 07:11:41 PM

Soulcatcher: I love many of the songs on your I-Pod!

You seem like a good guy.

=]


Thank you! I try to be a good guy. iPod has long since been updated, but more or less around the same lines


/it is however 2:10am in Israel right now, so time to go to bed
 
2012-12-13 07:14:33 PM

plushpuppy: were you on Top Chef?


I have actually been in front of the cameras before, but not on a cooking show. Or the news. Or about criminals that the police are warning about and/or looking for
 
2012-12-13 07:15:18 PM

Rincewind53: As someone who worked at a shiatty on-campus restaurant for four years during college and a year afterwards, and who had a summer job working the line (salads and desserts) at a real restaurant, I have to agree with this guy. If you're going to be a chef, you need to learn to deal with, and enjoy, the monotony of four-five hours of prep followed by six hours of single-minded repetition. It's not exciting in the way it's made to be on TV. It's not about "showing your soul" or "treating the ingredients with respect" or other such bullshiat. It's about chopping onions and cutting chicken breast and cooking veggies and putting things on a damn plate.


it's a girl, not a guy.
 
2012-12-13 07:16:41 PM

Tatsuma: or snorted massive amounts of cocaine/consumed lots of uppers



I remember the Cocaine from my days a line cook, 2nd day on the job, "Want a Snort the rush is about to hit" "umm no thanks chef I'll make it"

/Was tempted on Mother's day every year but I made it through.
 
2012-12-13 07:16:48 PM

plushpuppy: Tatsuma: miniflea: You made it to the second round on Chopped?

No.

But I am now living in Israel, and I have had four people come up to me saying 'Wait a minute, are you X who did Y in Z? [insert conversation about that]', and Y is something I did in Z, North America.

were you on Top Chef?


Dudes. He clearly did Y in Z. How are you not catching on who he is?

;) Tats
 
2012-12-13 07:19:43 PM

fusillade762: Tatsuma: And I am sorry if I sound like a condescending asshole

No you're not.


That is what I came to say!
 
2012-12-13 07:22:37 PM
Wait I thought Tatsuma was a chick and a porn star?
 
2012-12-13 07:30:52 PM

Tatsuma: DaCaptain19: Show me a "chef" who can make a better burger or steak than I do on my own charcoal grill. And quit making burgers with "kobe beef" sh*t...$15 for a farking burger that isn't as good as mine, my ass.

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. I mean, seriously you whine about a $15 kobe beef burger?

Again, fairly sure that Olive Garden is about as great a restaurant you've ever eaten at.


You sound like you watch My Pretty Pony. And you're lonely...it's ok, jesus loves y....whoops, Jesus called, He hates you and you're going to hell. So sorry.
 
2012-12-13 07:31:42 PM
I rather enjoyed being a scrawny, stoned line cook taking out my aggression on the scrambled eggs while I 'slopped the hogs' (ie, you people). There is also some satisfaction at half-blowing up orders of mozzarella sticks so i could eat them, dipping them in the brown gravy on the steam table, and then yelling at effeminate waiters to 'get this shiat out of my window right now' before fawning over the lowliest dysfuctional waitress with big hooters.

"Hey, stall all the orders. I gotta take the trash out to the dumpster and smoke a bowl, okay?"

was that wrong? should I have not done that?
 
2012-12-13 07:32:17 PM

PapaChester: DaCaptain19: Tatsuma: Rincewind53: As someone who worked at a shiatty on-campus restaurant for four years during college and a year afterwards, and who had a summer job working the line (salads and desserts) at a real restaurant, I have to agree with this guy. If you're going to be a chef, you need to learn to deal with, and enjoy, the monotony of four-five hours of prep followed by six hours of single-minded repetition. It's not exciting in the way it's made to be on TV. It's not about "showing your soul" or "treating the ingredients with respect" or other such bullshiat. It's about chopping onions and cutting chicken breast and cooking veggies and putting things on a damn plate.

... you're the equivalent of man who paints houses as a living saying that Michelangelo's job was boring.

No offense, but what you are doing is a job at, as you said yourself, working at a shiatty on-campus restaurant and working line at what was most likely the equivalent of an Olive Garden.

That's not what a chef is, or does. You're not doing it because it's a passion for you either, or because you have the training for it.

You're really not qualified to talk about what being a chef is as a career, no offense.

/worked in restaurants most of life since I was 16
//actually went to culinary school
///worked in proper restaurants
////monotony? what on earth are you talking about?

I love your creds...went to culinary school (failed to say GRADUATED from culinary school) and worked in proper restaurants (as a busboy? dishwasher? waiter?).

Show me a "chef" who can make a better burger or steak than I do on my own charcoal grill. And quit making burgers with "kobe beef" sh*t...$15 for a farking burger that isn't as good as mine, my ass. And the $30 steak that I can cook myself and which will taste better than your "chef's concoction"? Color me unimpressed re: the restaurant industry.

Hey! You got one! That's an automatic +2 troll points!

3/10


Woo-hoo! One typically doesn't see scores that high, anymore.
 
2012-12-13 07:35:06 PM

MorePeasPlease: See, I come from New Orleans. I was raised to be a saucier. Great saucier. Then I was supposed to go to Paris, study at the Escoffier school.
Then I got orders for my physical. Hell, I joined the Navy. Heard they had better food.

Cook school, that did it ... you don't want to hear about that.


How do you feel about mangoes?
 
2012-12-13 07:51:16 PM

Tatsuma: miniflea: You made it to the second round on Chopped?

No.

But I am now living in Israel, and I have had four people come up to me saying 'Wait a minute, are you X who did Y in Z? [insert conversation about that]', and Y is something I did in Z, North America.


alright Mad libs!

Wait a minute, are you X who jerked off on the mayor in possom neck mississippi?
 
2012-12-13 07:52:07 PM
doing 350 covers in a 5 hour shift is one of the most terrifying, exciting things I have done and will ever do. Walking that razor's edge between kicking ass and getting your ass kicked.

The best way I can describe an equivalent is runner's high.
 
2012-12-13 07:58:50 PM

Uzzah: MorePeasPlease: See, I come from New Orleans. I was raised to be a saucier. Great saucier. Then I was supposed to go to Paris, study at the Escoffier school.
Then I got orders for my physical. Hell, I joined the Navy. Heard they had better food.

Cook school, that did it ... you don't want to hear about that.

How do you feel about mangoes?


Maybe a nice mango puree rubbed all over Raquel Welch.
 
2012-12-13 08:03:41 PM

Tatsuma: First thing Gordon Ramsay does when he goes to speak at culinary schools and to other chefs is to start with: "Do not treat your staff like I do on television. This is entertainment, if you do this in real life you will lose all of your employees"


Hey again!

/speaking of chefs, I tried to light a candle and ended up lighting 20 donuts on fire.
//Don't ask
 
2012-12-13 08:03:44 PM

czetie:
And that's pretty much the mentality of these kitchen bullies too: they are in the middle of the kitchen hierarchy and they assert their limited power by bullying those underneath them. If that was really your point, it was an excellent one and I commend you for making it.


It was, that's I put alpha male in quotes.
 
2012-12-13 08:04:46 PM

Tom_Slick: Tatsuma: or snorted massive amounts of cocaine/consumed lots of uppers


I remember the Cocaine from my days a line cook, 2nd day on the job, "Want a Snort the rush is about to hit" "umm no thanks chef I'll make it"

/Was tempted on Mother's day every year but I made it through.


Anyone who has actually spent time behind the line of a real restaurant knows of the massive amount of coke used. I loved working in kitchens and I had planned on making a career of it. Had about 8 years of time when I met my wife. The long nights and the drinking didn't sit too well with her. Now I'm on my way to becoming a doctor. The nights are just as long and stressful, but I drink a lot less.
 
2012-12-13 08:06:16 PM
Sad thing is that I worked for a couple executive chef's and they made Gordon Ramsay seem like a cheerful and patient guy.
 
2012-12-13 08:07:26 PM
I suspect if you want to be a chef, you need to learn Spanish. South American and Mexican guys work their balls off in kitchens and deserve to be spoken to in their own language, even if it's just a thanks or an attaboy.
 
2012-12-13 08:09:29 PM

Contents Under Pressure: I suspect if you want to be a chef, you need to learn Spanish. South American and Mexican guys work their balls off in kitchens and deserve to be spoken to in their own language, even if it's just a thanks or an attaboy.


Spanish helps, even if it's spanglish
 
2012-12-13 08:11:16 PM
I've known exactly one guy who has made it as a chef. At the time I knew him, he did very well, but his description is pretty close to hers - that it was a long tough slog before he was running his own kitchen and there are plenty of easier ways to make a decent buck. His niece was interested in the career because she liked to bake and her uncle had made it in the profession. Pretty much did everything he could to discourage her from it.
 
2012-12-13 08:20:04 PM

Pumpernickel bread: I've known exactly one guy who has made it as a chef. At the time I knew him, he did very well, but his description is pretty close to hers - that it was a long tough slog before he was running his own kitchen and there are plenty of easier ways to make a decent buck. His niece was interested in the career because she liked to bake and her uncle had made it in the profession. Pretty much did everything he could to discourage her from it.


Top Chef is one of the worst things that could happen to the culinary industry. I would bet that 95% of people enrolling in culinary school have ZERO idea what a kitchen is like. Contrary to popular belief, there isn't a group of Food network executives waiting to hand you a show at graduation.

It is a HARD field. It takes a certain type of person. Can't take verbal abuse? don't bother. Can't do 115 degrees for 8 hours? look elsewhere. Slow learner? Don't need you. Can't saute mushrooms, sear off scallops, make bearnaise, make soup, make 3 different sauces, sear off a crabcake and plate it perfectly all at the same time? yeah, maybe think about accounting.

But I love it.
 
2012-12-13 08:27:48 PM

Tatsuma: DaCaptain19: Show me a "chef" who can make a better burger or steak than I do on my own charcoal grill. And quit making burgers with "kobe beef" sh*t...$15 for a farking burger that isn't as good as mine, my ass.

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. I mean, seriously you whine about a $15 kobe beef burger?

Again, fairly sure that Olive Garden is about as great a restaurant you've ever eaten at.


Damn dude.

More money: Cold food.
 
2012-12-13 08:32:33 PM

Tatsuma: And I am sorry if I sound like a condescending asshole, but trust me, none of my friends still working in that world would agree with you, and agree 100% with what I said.

I don't mean to be rude, but you haven't got a clue if you think that what you've experienced is anything like what it is in the real culinary world. Look, I have also worked those jobs that you are talking about early on, therefore I can sympathize, but as I said, you're the culinary equivalent of a $10/hour house painter.


It's funny to me, but the most unbelievable part of everything Tatsuma has said so far is that he's sorry for sounding like a condescending asshole.

I mean, really, no one believes that one bit!
 
2012-12-13 08:45:39 PM
Working the line in 10 hour shifts (ours was @120F) with no breaks except for a quick cigarette every hour or so, and the printer running non stop with orders the entire time, taught me alot about myself. It also taught me about an inner rage I didn't know I had, and industrial strength whip-its, and good weed, and waitresses...

farking great time. You couldn't pay me to go back to it, but I wouldn't change my experience for the world.
 
2012-12-13 08:57:32 PM
It's better when you don't have printers 'cause then you can berate the wait staff over their spelling/grammar

soup grammar nazis! yay!

I suppose everywhere is automated like that these days and the phrase 'wrapped wheel' is no more....no more....
 
2012-12-13 09:00:57 PM

Tatsuma: DaCaptain19: Show me a "chef" who can make a better burger or steak than I do on my own charcoal grill. And quit making burgers with "kobe beef" sh*t...$15 for a farking burger that isn't as good as mine, my ass.

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. I mean, seriously you whine about a $15 kobe beef burger?

Again, fairly sure that Olive Garden is about as great a restaurant you've ever eaten at.


I don't usually agree with Tats, but when I do, it is in this thread.
 
2012-12-13 09:03:34 PM

Rincewind53: As someone who worked at a shiatty on-campus restaurant for four years during college and a year afterwards, and who had a summer job working the line (salads and desserts) at a real restaurant, I have to agree with this guy. If you're going to be a chef, you need to learn to deal with, and enjoy, the monotony of four-five hours of prep followed by six hours of single-minded repetition. It's not exciting in the way it's made to be on TV. It's not about "showing your soul" or "treating the ingredients with respect" or other such bullshiat. It's about chopping onions and cutting chicken breast and cooking veggies and putting things on a damn plate.


You were a cook. Not a chef. See the difference?
 
2012-12-13 09:04:46 PM

Wolf_Blitzer: Tatsuma: nothing like showing up on the food network, and I would rather not discuss this as that would make me pretty easy to identify for any internet detective out there, and considering the amount of hate mail/death threats I've had over the years, I am a bit sensitive about personal info making it out there on the web

If you don't want to talk about it, then don't talk about it. Having a "small claim to fame" that you refuse to talk about is the equivalent of having a hot canadian girlfriend.


Really? 2002 and you don't know why he wouldn't want to let people know who he is?
 
2012-12-13 09:16:06 PM

Tatsuma: "The whole cinema industry is boring as shiat, I've never had to fetch as many coffees, stand around doing nothing or do boring shiat as I did for those 3 years, not worth it' - PA to 2nd unit director commenting on Hitchcock


Empty quoting this because LOL
 
2012-12-13 09:21:55 PM

machodonkeywrestler: Wolf_Blitzer: Tatsuma: nothing like showing up on the food network, and I would rather not discuss this as that would make me pretty easy to identify for any internet detective out there, and considering the amount of hate mail/death threats I've had over the years, I am a bit sensitive about personal info making it out there on the web

If you don't want to talk about it, then don't talk about it. Having a "small claim to fame" that you refuse to talk about is the equivalent of having a hot canadian girlfriend.

Really? 2002 and you don't know why he wouldn't want to let people know who he is?


I know who he is

whitethreads.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-12-13 09:22:15 PM
this is what a real chef looks like. not some scummy line cook who stinks like french fries and is forced to wear a baseball cap with the logo of his corporate overlord printed on it

i-cdn.apartmenttherapy.com

get a brain, morans!
 
2012-12-13 09:25:18 PM
Dammit, was hoping for a HubieStubert appearance
 
2012-12-13 09:30:15 PM

EsteeFlwrPot: machodonkeywrestler: Wolf_Blitzer: Tatsuma: nothing like showing up on the food network, and I would rather not discuss this as that would make me pretty easy to identify for any internet detective out there, and considering the amount of hate mail/death threats I've had over the years, I am a bit sensitive about personal info making it out there on the web

If you don't want to talk about it, then don't talk about it. Having a "small claim to fame" that you refuse to talk about is the equivalent of having a hot canadian girlfriend.

Really? 2002 and you don't know why he wouldn't want to let people know who he is?

I know who he is

[whitethreads.files.wordpress.com image 400x373]


Ha Ha what?
 
2012-12-13 09:48:10 PM
I work in International Export Logistics (air and ocean). I know "the rush"..it is only achievable by those at the top of the game, in whatever profession it might be. You almost feel superhuman at those times.

My first job at 15 was washing dishes in a restaurant. I loved it. I worked the breakfast shift on the weekends when you did not stop moving for 5 hours straight. It sounds weird that someone could "love" washing dishes, but it was intense and required 100% focus. I have never been satisfied with any job that did not push me to the limit.
 
2012-12-13 10:00:29 PM

EsteeFlwrPot: machodonkeywrestler: Wolf_Blitzer: Tatsuma: nothing like showing up on the food network, and I would rather not discuss this as that would make me pretty easy to identify for any internet detective out there, and considering the amount of hate mail/death threats I've had over the years, I am a bit sensitive about personal info making it out there on the web

If you don't want to talk about it, then don't talk about it. Having a "small claim to fame" that you refuse to talk about is the equivalent of having a hot canadian girlfriend.

Really? 2002 and you don't know why he wouldn't want to let people know who he is?

I know who he is

[whitethreads.files.wordpress.com image 400x373]


Is he Batman?
 
2012-12-13 10:11:39 PM

Optimus Primate: I work in International Export Logistics (air and ocean). I know "the rush"..it is only achievable by those at the top of the game, in whatever profession it might be. You almost feel superhuman at those times.

My first job at 15 was washing dishes in a restaurant. I loved it. I worked the breakfast shift on the weekends when you did not stop moving for 5 hours straight. It sounds weird that someone could "love" washing dishes, but it was intense and required 100% focus. I have never been satisfied with any job that did not push me to the limit.


Anyone who disagrees with you is a liar who has never truly experienced that life.
 
2012-12-13 10:13:41 PM

Wolf_Blitzer:
If you don't want to talk about it, then don't talk about it. Having a "small claim to fame" that you refuse to talk about is the equivalent of having a hot canadian girlfriend.


Man those girlfriends are the best, they have the best weed...from what I've been told.

BunkyBrewman:
Pretty good? heh The only school we don't look down on is CIA....and even then, we think those guys are a bit too pretentious after they graduate.

 

I think my codename would be Julian Lemon. Yeah because it's a play on Julian Lennon and also has a culinary references, get it.

/Take my wife
//Veal
 
2012-12-13 10:24:33 PM
Ha.
I've worked in kitchens and the front of the house. Chances are, I dribbled some Copenhagen in your pasta if you ate at a certain white table cloth in ATL in the late '80s early nineties. Then, I found out I liked the cats who did the grunt work best and switched to delivering produce. Then that got boring, so I decided to make all the "chefs" put whatever produce I had easy access to and could make a killing off on the menu. I practically wrote the menus for the '90s.
You would not know asparagus, a mango, a Papaya, haricot vert, Passion fruit, ramps, radicchio, baby spinach, avocado, arrugula, blah blah blah, if it wasn't for me and my ilk.
So stay the FARK off my lawn you prissy toques!!!
/& what Optimus Primate said
 
2012-12-13 10:26:14 PM

Tatsuma: An upper 2nd tier/lower 1st tier one


The learning annex does not count
 
2012-12-13 10:28:20 PM
As a working chef, yeah he's right. There are a fair amount of douchebags who see TV shows and think, "Yeah, that's what I want to do!" Because they figure that they can let their Inner Diva out.

Cooking competition shows frustrate me, because kitchens are about teamwork. They aren't about being a star, but being a cog. Garde manger, grill, saute, it all comes down to elements coming together. You prep, you share, you do the same dishes over and over again. Yes, you do some specials, you have your favorites, but you are still cutting mirepoix daily. You are making the same sandwiches, the same soups, the same prime rib, over and over again, because that's what professionals do: we are consistent and our clientele demands that consistency.

It is a weird profession. It's part art, it's craft, it's sometimes dangerous, it's sometimes monotonous, it's sometimes goofy, it's driven by folks who handle the repetition in all sorts of ways, often by being goofier and crazier than the idiotic times that you are being crushed by tickets, and can still manage a smile or four, and still flirt with waitstaff. It's not an easy profession. Fire! Sharp! Heavy! All the things that your mother tried to keep you away from when you were a kid, you are expected to play with, and use on a regular basis. You find your moments. For me, it is Zen practice. Mushin is achievable outside of martial arts practice. Mind without mind is a metaphor for the state when you get your groove on. Everything falls into place, you react without conscious effort, your hands know the work, your brain isn't juggling fifty brazillion things, you just do the job, and it all flows without effort.

It is a profession that you have to have some ego about. It's your food. It's your craft. You are selling your work, and folks enjoy it. There is satisfaction there. But you aren't alone. It's not just you, unless you're running a hotdog stand. There are folks all around you, and they are part of the whole thing with you.

And yeah, that means in this country, you'd best pick up some Spanish. And possibly some Tagalog if you have Filipinos near. Those wee bastiches work their tails off, do with huge smiles, and drink like fish and cook like Hell. Chefs aren't alone. They are executives who are also on the line. Show me a chef who isn't working in his own kitchen, I'll show you a guy who takes credit for his sous chef's hard work. You have to balance a LOT of factors, and chief among those are handling people. Not just your cooks and dishwashers, but waitstaff, bartenders, customers, distributors, suppliers, and service folks. You have to be a charming bastiche if you want to keep working in this business. You get a rep for being a mean SOB, that gets you some distance, but it doesn't get you distributors who will deliver on a Saturday when they normally don't have trucks out. It won't get a dishwasher to stick around when a toilet blows up. It doesn't get folks to go the extra mile for you. As a chef, you lead, hopefully by example. First one in, last one to leave. You do prep, you wash dishes, you put away orders, you take out the trash, you help move tables, you do it all, and make the coffee on occasion, and the folks around you notice that, and they don't kvetch when you ask them to do something that they see YOU do all the time. You balance personalities, you head off problems with staff ahead of time, not after. You are a counselor to your staff--especially the young ones. You are a role model to some, you are a mentor, you are hopefully friends and family with your crew. They back you. They are your team, and you treat that with the respect it deserves. It's not about just your ego, but shoring up the team so that they know that they're a part of something that is Awesome. That they contribute to it. Your dishwashers, your prep, your waitstaff, your grill, saute, garde manger, all of them make the place work. Please and thank you aren't niceties in this business, they are essential. It is about relationships, as much as the food. The food, is the vehicle. That is the reason we're together, but we make that together, and you forget that, and you won't last.

You want to cook for a living? Be ready for long hours, hard work, more hard work, a bit more hard work, some frustration, cuts, bruises, burns, sore muscles, more cuts, more burns, coffee belly, a possible nicotine addiction, a very possible close call with alcoholism, and if you're not careful, some hypertension. It's not an easy profession. Is it rewarding? I've been doing it for over 20 years now, and I wouldn't trade it for much else. When it's good, it's sublime. When you can create, and make a line work well, that means that you are fitting people into jobs that they like, they enjoy, that they are good at, and helping them develop those skills and make your place better at the same time. You are making memories, and folks may not remember the food, but they'll remember the times. And that goes for a great BBQ joint or haute cuisine. We make memories. I've done BBQ, I've done sports arenas, I've done high end, I've done family joints, and in the end, it's not so much about the art, as finding a place that fits you, and people who you can share with. Haute cuisine is gorgeous, but it's demanding, and that can be rewarding, but if the owner is a douche, then the job is miserable, and it's like having a great looking girlfriend who treats you like sh*t.

I like to do good work. I like to play, but that has a cost. That means that I have to do some hard work in the middle. That means roasting bones and making stock. Over and over again. That means cutting onions, carrots, celery, and chopping herbs until my hands are stained green--or at least the gloves are. It means being a professional, and being a professional means that you're not in it just for the fun parts where people clap and sing, but the times when stuff goes South, and you have to dig out, and if you are doing it right, you've got a team that is in it with you, shoulder to shoulder, and you haul each other out.

It's not for everyone. It's hard. It's rewarding, if you are slightly nuts, but that's part of the pride in the profession: not everyone can do what we do, and with as big a smiles at the end of the night.
 
2012-12-13 10:37:18 PM

hubiestubert: As a working chef, yeah he's right....... And a lot of words.


What's your favorite dish to make?
 
2012-12-13 10:54:10 PM

Raktastic: hubiestubert: As a working chef, yeah he's right....... And a lot of words.

What's your favorite dish to make?


naive waitress in the cooler

wait. that's mine.

that was very eloquent, hubiestubert. now go make us all a sammich!
 
2012-12-13 11:01:22 PM

Raktastic: hubiestubert: As a working chef, yeah he's right....... And a lot of words.

What's your favorite dish to make?


Depends on the joint, and depends on the season, the day and what I haven't made in a while. Right now, I'm itching to do a Saltimboca or Caponata. Well, and I'd like to start a sourdough at the current joint, but they aren't ready to do breads in house yet. Well, and sushi. I love making sushi, but that's usually at home.
 
2012-12-13 11:02:49 PM

Omahawg: naive waitress in the cooler


That was the last gig, and now she's the current girlcritter. ;)
 
2012-12-13 11:03:52 PM

Omahawg: Raktastic: hubiestubert: As a working chef, yeah he's right....... And a lot of words.

What's your favorite dish to make?

naive waitress in the cooler

wait. that's mine.

that was very eloquent, hubiestubert. now go make us all a sammich!


I have an urge to go to all my fav restaurants and give the staff a hug and a beer now. Great post.

For a short time in college I worked as a dishwasher at a small bistro. Only sat 40 or so but the food was delish and it was always packed. It wasn't technically a tapas place but it was pretty close. Every time a table closed out here would come 20 or so plates. It was insane at times.

When I started working there I felt like I would be kinda outcast. I mean, who wants to hang with the dishwasher? The owner/chef would bring me back brews. Hang out before and after opening. It was like a family. Was a great time. As much as the staff busted their ass for him he worked twice as hard.

/poison ivy covered hands and washing dishes suck.
 
2012-12-13 11:04:08 PM

hubiestubert: As a working chef, yeah he's right. There are a fair amount of douchebags who see TV shows and think, "Yeah, that's what I want to do!" Because they figure that they can let their Inner Diva out.

Cooking competition shows frustrate me, because kitchens are about teamwork. They aren't about being a star, but being a cog. Garde manger, grill, saute, it all comes down to elements coming together. You prep, you share, you do the same dishes over and over again. Yes, you do some specials, you have your favorites, but you are still cutting mirepoix daily. You are making the same sandwiches, the same soups, the same prime rib, over and over again, because that's what professionals do: we are consistent and our clientele demands that consistency.

It is a weird profession. It's part art, it's craft, it's sometimes dangerous, it's sometimes monotonous, it's sometimes goofy, it's driven by folks who handle the repetition in all sorts of ways, often by being goofier and crazier than the idiotic times that you are being crushed by tickets, and can still manage a smile or four, and still flirt with waitstaff. It's not an easy profession. Fire! Sharp! Heavy! All the things that your mother tried to keep you away from when you were a kid, you are expected to play with, and use on a regular basis. You find your moments. For me, it is Zen practice. Mushin is achievable outside of martial arts practice. Mind without mind is a metaphor for the state when you get your groove on. Everything falls into place, you react without conscious effort, your hands know the work, your brain isn't juggling fifty brazillion things, you just do the job, and it all flows without effort.

It is a profession that you have to have some ego about. It's your food. It's your craft. You are selling your work, and folks enjoy it. There is satisfaction there. But you aren't alone. It's not just you, unless you're running a hotdog stand. There are folks all around you, and they are part of the whole thing with you.

And yeah, that means in this country, you'd best pick up some Spanish. And possibly some Tagalog if you have Filipinos near. Those wee bastiches work their tails off, do with huge smiles, and drink like fish and cook like Hell. Chefs aren't alone. They are executives who are also on the line. Show me a chef who isn't working in his own kitchen, I'll show you a guy who takes credit for his sous chef's hard work. You have to balance a LOT of factors, and chief among those are handling people. Not just your cooks and dishwashers, but waitstaff, bartenders, customers, distributors, suppliers, and service folks. You have to be a charming bastiche if you want to keep working in this business. You get a rep for being a mean SOB, that gets you some distance, but it doesn't get you distributors who will deliver on a Saturday when they normally don't have trucks out. It won't get a dishwasher to stick around when a toilet blows up. It doesn't get folks to go the extra mile for you. As a chef, you lead, hopefully by example. First one in, last one to leave. You do prep, you wash dishes, you put away orders, you take out the trash, you help move tables, you do it all, and make the coffee on occasion, and the folks around you notice that, and they don't kvetch when you ask them to do something that they see YOU do all the time. You balance personalities, you head off problems with staff ahead of time, not after. You are a counselor to your staff--especially the young ones. You are a role model to some, you are a mentor, you are hopefully friends and family with your crew. They back you. They are your team, and you treat that with the respect it deserves. It's not about just your ego, but shoring up the team so that they know that they're a part of something that is Awesome. That they contribute to it. Your dishwashers, your prep, your waitstaff, your grill, saute, garde manger, all of them make the place work. Please and thank you aren't niceties in this business, they are essential. It is about relationships, as much as the food. The food, is the vehicle. That is the reason we're together, but we make that together, and you forget that, and you won't last.

You want to cook for a living? Be ready for long hours, hard work, more hard work, a bit more hard work, some frustration, cuts, bruises, burns, sore muscles, more cuts, more burns, coffee belly, a possible nicotine addiction, a very possible close call with alcoholism, and if you're not careful, some hypertension. It's not an easy profession. Is it rewarding? I've been doing it for over 20 years now, and I wouldn't trade it for much else. When it's good, it's sublime. When you can create, and make a line work well, that means that you are fitting people into jobs that they like, they enjoy, that they are good at, and helping them develop those skills and make your place better at the same time. You are making memories, and folks may not remember the food, but they'll remember the times. And that goes for a great BBQ joint or haute cuisine. We make memories. I've done BBQ, I've done sports arenas, I've done high end, I've done family joints, and in the end, it's not so much about the art, as finding a place that fits you, and people who you can share with. Haute cuisine is gorgeous, but it's demanding, and that can be rewarding, but if the owner is a douche, then the job is miserable, and it's like having a great looking girlfriend who treats you like sh*t.

I like to do good work. I like to play, but that has a cost. That means that I have to do some hard work in the middle. That means roasting bones and making stock. Over and over again. That means cutting onions, carrots, celery, and chopping herbs until my hands are stained green--or at least the gloves are. It means being a professional, and being a professional means that you're not in it just for the fun parts where people clap and sing, but the times when stuff goes South, and you have to dig out, and if you are doing it right, you've got a team that is in it with you, shoulder to shoulder, and you haul each other out.

It's not for everyone. It's hard. It's rewarding, if you are slightly nuts, but that's part of the pride in the profession: not everyone can do what we do, and with as big a smiles at the end of the night.


I knew this was coming, and it was even more brilliant than I expected.
 
2012-12-13 11:20:19 PM

hubiestubert: Raktastic: hubiestubert: As a working chef, yeah he's right....... And a lot of words.

What's your favorite dish to make?

Depends on the joint, and depends on the season, the day and what I haven't made in a while. Right now, I'm itching to do a Saltimboca or Caponata. Well, and I'd like to start a sourdough at the current joint, but they aren't ready to do breads in house yet. Well, and sushi. I love making sushi, but that's usually at home.


I love sushi myself, but for when I want a heart attack on a plate I make a sirloin steak burrito seasoned with chili powder, with refried beans. Placed in a cooking tray with shredded monterey jack and cheddar cheese on top. Bake until melted and serve with sour cream and Salsa. Simple and delicious. Man this thread is making me hungry.

I have never tried Salitmboca in any form (Chicken or Veal) how easy is it to make?
 
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