Being a cook is a never ending learning experience. If you ever cross a cook that says he knows everything, he’s full of crap! There is so much to learn, so many ways of getting to the same end result.
I haven’t been cooking professionally for very long but have been passionate of the trade for a very long time, that being said, I’ve got to work my way up the chain like any other new cook and at my workplace that involves a pretty big book that I need to get check in boxes. With culinary school behind me, I’ve now got to prove that I can cook an egg and someone has to sign off on it, this book is a prerequisite to the next course I’ll be taking that will qualify my as a Journeyman. Obviously, all the things in the book aren’t as basic as that, I’ve got to bake, I’ve got to break down meats and at the end I’ll have to run a service and prove to my supervisors that I can do this without supervision.
After getting my book, I punched holes in the papers, organized it in a binder and went to work to pull what I’d need for my first day working on it. Baking is a module in the book that we don’t touch base on any more, the days of making things in house are long gone in my many places and it is the case with the kitchen I’m working at now. That being said, I’ll be going into work on my days off and hammering through the list of products that need to be made. This is one of the many struggles of being a cook, perfecting you skills at all times, using any meal as an opportunity to refine or apply something new. The list of struggles and sacrifice goes on for a job that most of the time is earning minimum wage and many unpaid hours of work, but that’s not a topic we’ll talk about today.
I went into work for four hours and made scones, chocolate chip cookies, icebox cookies, banana bread, chocolate chip muffins and corn muffins from scratch. Some of the best hours spent in the kitchen, one project, alone, no one bothering me… WRONG, even if it’s your day off, you’re in wearing non-work uniform so no one bothers you, as an able body there you end up doing extras because you can help with some production. You do it because you know that if someone is asking you for help on your day off, it’s because they need it, or at least hope that they truly do.
The great thing of having a book is that you can plan for it, you can line up your day with the things that need to be checked off and you can start planning that final meal. Who will be the lucky extra guests? What will you feed them? It’s only a four course meal after all… but it’s an opportunity to do your thing, not to follow the menu you usually have to produce. As usual, I’m looking very forward to serving a meal that I can put my own touch to and wow table with something very simple.
Fried chicken and waffles? Naaahhh… too simple.