Cooked to Order

Recently, we put out a call for talented chefs de partie. After all, things are starting to pick up and we figured an extra hand couldn’t hurt.

But after receiving a flood of resumes and even taking in a few to stage, it became clear that “hands” aren’t what we’re looking. Rather, a good head and a lot of heart. Why is this so hard to find?

When I was young, I had the fear of god put into me not only by my mother, but also by all the other chefs with whom I worked. I don’t know if it was that I was scared to dissappoint, afraid to fail, or just raised to be respectful, but I showed up everyday with a certain amount of drive and determination. And I still believe today that along with my knives, those are the most important tools to keep in the kitchen.

If only culinary schools could teach that.

Today, we are seeing a new breed of priveledged “chefs” who would rather call themselves that than “a cook.” Their passion is blinded by a paycheck, and their lack of vision prevents them from putting up a plate from start to finish. This is problematic, pathetic, and above all, sad.

I get it. Being able to move, listen, respond, stay calm, speed up, act fast, cook, clean, and communicate is a tall order. But at the end of the day, I’m not asking for a machine, I’m asking for motivation.

“The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day.” – Wayne Gretzky

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One response to “Cooked to Order

  1. In my 8 years of working at bakeries I know what you’re talking about. This industry – cooking – no matter if it’s savory or whatever – can be a hard road. You have to know and expect your days to be difficult. You have to hold your own and sometimes others’ as well. It’s about being part of a team and, much like the military, being obedient to your superiors. Granted, there’s a lot of bad leaders in prime positions – either those that push too hard without praising back or those that are so ineffectual as to inspire nothing from their workers – but there are those that will truly lead and inspire. Without that balance, the brigade can never fully succeed.
    but there is also this air of not having to pay your dues these days. This isn’t just isolated to the food community either. It starts when every kid gets a trophy no matter if Little Johnny can strike out an entire team or just picks his ass in left field. Yes, not everyone will be #1 – it’s a life lesson and people need to learn that. It’s the striving to be the best that’s important. And the best is a personal mark to make for each person. But too many these days think that putting in just a little and having the attitude is all they need. They see the coverage, the TV shows and the books and think it’s easy. I’ll go on Top Chef and I’ll be the king of shit mountain type of thing. It doesn’t happen that way. You have to know what you’re doing, you have to have passion and skill and you have to know how to get to where you feel you need to be. It doesn’t just materialize and not everyone who graduates culinary school is ever going to be a Head Chef. There’s not enough restaurants and there are not enough people at that level.
    Phew! Sorry for the rambling…not even sure I made a freaking point.

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