So I have not written a blog post for a very long time and I am very very sorry for anyone who actually reads this but in fairness I have had a pretty tough month..
I started a new job. A challenging and exciting job for which was proud and happy to get.
I was employed at a nice 4/5 (I’m not sure which) hotel and restaurant. In my first meeting the executive chef, who was very honest, said that he was building a kitchen full of very experienced chefs who had many years behind them… He wouldn’t normally employ someone of my level (2years in the trade) but is giving me a chance on recommendation.
So a very eager to learn jade walks into said kitchen. In my first month, my confidence had grown and I had learnt all dishes on the menu for my section. I followed instructions well and began paying attention to details I had never been interested in before. I was receiving feedback from my senior staff that was positive and complementRy. I had found myself an experienced female mentor and was learning and progressing as fast as I could in my section. I was proud of my work and wanted to push myself. Fuck yeah right?!
I get a phone call asking me to come in and I am let go. Fired.
According to my oh so brutally honest chef I was not reaching peaks he wanted and he should never have employed someone with so little experience.
So little experience?
So after the shock of being fired on the spot wore off I start to think about what it means to be experienced. Or rather experienced enough…
The national career services class and experienced chef as someone who:
- Has a keen interest in food and cooking
- Strong communication and leadership skills
- An ability to work under pressure
- Standard of cleanliness and hygiene
- The ability to perform several tasks at once
- Organisation skills
- Ability of work as part of a team
- Interest and innovation in creativity of food
Check,check,check,check,check,check,check and CHECK
And so the word experienced in this case seemed more to do with the number of years on my Cv rather than the actions I showed.
Now I’m not bitter. I understand the concept of a kitchen run by those with 10+ years of experience. Power kitchen for sure!! But what about the industry itself?
If kitchens (or any other industry) for that matter only employed very experienced chefs then what happens to us? The learners and strivers. The ones who realised that they loved cooking when they were 20 instead of 16 or the ones who went to uni and decided that actually we didn’t want to be academic. The ones who CHOSE to be a chef rather than fell into kping from school without qualifications and worked there way up. Who teaches us??
Who can we depend on to help us with our development?
Why is my passion and drive to learn and hang on to your every word not enough for you to take me on and help? Because without us the industry dies. you cant chef when you are 65 with a fucked back and broken knee and we can’t chef if nobody gives us the chance.
So this is my piece about fighting. Finding those in kitchen who will help you. Finding your inner strength and passion and pushing through because there are still people out there who don’t care how many places you have worked but more importantly that you are willing to work for them.. In a hot kitchen, with moody chefs and whining front of house staff and customers who don’t appreciate your efforts or care about the family you don’t see.
We do what we do because deep down we love it.