I'd like to start a series of installments here. If it catches on and I come up with a lot of material I may spin off into its own blog. Let me start with some back story.
About 5 years ago, I went to culinary school and got a AAS in culinary arts. My husband told me I was already a great cook. I knew I was, but I thought I had to know "how to cook" in order to make it in the business. I thought cooking school would teach me the concrete way to braise, stew, cut meat, prepare vegetables and roast the perfect chicken. This was not the case. I wish i had known that the ways to complete these tasks vary as much as the people running each restaurant.
I did my internship at a dog racing track in the area and after that was over, they hired me full time. It was my most personally successful job to date, but I quit when it got boring because I wanted to be challenged, and do more with my degree than flip burgers and build towering nacho plates. Plus, there was a small conflict of interest named Brian, who I will go into later.
After a few more brieft stints at jobs that would be demeaning to anyone, let alone someone with a degree in cooking, I landed a job that I felt was way over my head, but hey, they hired me, so they must feel I can do it, right? I thought I was doing fine, to start. After all, line cooking is line cooking. Well, to some extent.
Soon I was hearing whispers and sarcastic comments along the lines of, "Oh Kate's here, now we're good to go!" (insert rolling eyes here) But I was still thinking, if I'm that bad, I'll get fired, or at least spoken to, right?
And this is where I learned the lesson called It Is Easier to Keep a Lousy Worker Than to Train a New One. I was going to have to rely on my own self-judgement on this one. So I quit. I didn't like being laughed at, told to get out of the way, and people having to fix my mistakes and pick up my slack.
It's not that I cannot cook. I just cannot do this thing that seems to be an important skill in the culinary world, called "Thinking on your feet". Some other things I do not like to do outside the home are "Cleaning" and "Organizing". I don't flip out if the garnish is not pointing at a 75 degree angle, or if the plate does not look "sexy " or "gay" ("gay", apparently, is a good way for a finished plate to look, in the world of upscale cooking. And you thought it was a derogatory term.
So that is where I am now.
So you really understand, let me start us off on the reasons why I should have never tried to be a line cook.
1. I am a girl. This is not a jab at a woman's abilities to keep up with the men in the kitchen. It's just that I am proud to be a girl. (Even though I'm so low maintenance, you'd never know it.) I was just not one of those girls who can pal around with guys, slap them on the back, and make off color jokes with the best of them. Sometimes I even like to look like a girl, not some shapeless form in a too-big chef coat, unflattering black pants and clunky shoes. And for some reason, I just do not fit in with the bunch of guys who are crowded around a cell phone, ogling some picture of a girl's boobs. (I think that's what they call "sexting".) I just did my prep, rolling my eyes in that "Ooh you guys are so silly" way, trying to laugh it off, not sure if I should be offended, or laugh, or just quit trying to fit my round self into this square hole. I ended up doing a little bit of all three.