Friday, March 19, 2010

Thoughts of a Young Chef: The Gradual Reality of a Dream Coming True

I am a young chef, a chef in training. Right now I'm coming to the close of my second quarter in Culinary school. It's a hopeless affair...I get fed up with the stress, then turn around and do it again. It's a reluctant addiction that leaves me wanting to discover more but lays me out for the count just as I begin to start. Just when I can't take anymore, there it is, glistening in the distance, luring me in the romance of a robust passion.

This quarter, by far (ha ha I've only had two LOL), has been the hardest, most challenging, most fulfilling, and most satisfying quarters I think I have ever had in my entire life (well, so far).  So much homework, so much information, so many opportunities, seeing exactly where I lack and where I excel. It's an emotional roller coaster indeed, but a most pleasurable inconvenience if I may say so. I am definitely smitten!

So what drives me you ask? We, all us young chefs, will tell you..."I don't know, it's just a passion. I was just born this way." There's something about this "passion" that the word in itself isn't even enough to describe whatever it is that ignites the flame, a deep down soul satisfaction of wonder, delight, discovery and conquering. We need not even say it to one another, as soon as eyes make contact, the motive is understood. We're like one big  unity of the underdog and misunderstood, yet a powerful, extremely smart breed of achievers. Yes, culinarians are a breed, a breed of survivors; survivors of the vigorous and most brutal throws of life.

Another thing that drives me; there's something magical about the threshold of the kitchen. It just grips me! Now, mind you, I can walk into just about any job holding on to the chaos and mess of my meticulously sporadic life; but in that kitchen, behind those closed doors, it's a whole other world. My just melts away. It's just me, the kitchen and my sexy knives as fragrances of savory and sweetness entice me from the stovetop. A little shallot, onions, and then celery; a little garlic, a dash of salt, some Port to deglaze, chicken stock....[deep breath in] Aahhhhh...mushrooms, chicken, cream and my favorite, butter....[deep breath in] Ooooh...Mmm. A wonder of natural alchemy in a delicious frenzy of amazing swirls, delicate wafts of heaven in a pot. From stove to sink, fridge to cutting board, a mutual respect is strengthened between chef and ingredient. And the kitchen? An orchestra of pleasant tension, of focus, and engagement.

Behind the flame on the stove is definitely the flame of my passion for cookery in all its form. The joys of this fine craft lead me to pledge the cliche, "I was definitly born to do this!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so descriptive in your writing it's so easy to picture what you are describing! The weird fact is that you described chaos and immediate action and punctuality and (semi) exactness in such a calm and and pleasant tone that is almost completely unlike the kitchen (in the last few hours at least!) Not bad for second quarter Elle ;)