My path to my culinary dream

Throughout my whole carrer as a cook I have been through a lot of highs and lows. This world is hard and unforgiving, you have the lives of people in your hands. The food your serve them is your responsibility. Although I never had this kind of issues in my career I saw a lot of cooks lose their jobs because of this and trust me this is horrible. People get sick and most of the times end up in the hospital, and the cooks get fired.

I have stopped being a cook multiple times. But always found my way back to another job with it. I started from the bottom and now I’m finally a sous-chef. With COVID a lot of things got imposed on us, which is only normal when you think of the frequency of the crowd and the food that is being produced. Hygiene is a key point in the kitchen and if you miss it, you miss everything else.

I have to be honest with you, I am rather strict with my team when it comes to hygiene. It doesn’t matter how good the food is, if the plates, the utensils or the place is dirty, the food won’t be good to the clients, and it’s fair.

The second important point is to be visuals. You eat with your eyes. Dressing a plate beautifully is an art and it’s something you learn along the way in your career. It’s definitely not something you will learn in a book; even though you might find some good ideas and tips, you won’t find the experience.

I have always loved my job. I love to cook. When I am nervous or I have anxiety, I cook or bake. Cooking for people is amazing but I have to be honest that sometimes it’s quite easy to forget that. The higher you get the more responsibilities you get and the less you get to cook.

Anyway, it’s hard to please everyone and you know it, you know it’s impossible that everyone that comes in gets out all happy. And there are days that the menu won’t be to some people liking. Going into the cooking industry, this is the first thing they teach you. And I know it’s normal and it happens. But sometimes it is so easy to let it get the best of you!

Recently I had an encounter with clients that didn’t like the menu that was presented. Now, mind you, sometimes the people that eat your food will genuinely have something that they don’t like and won’t eat it but will eat the rest and still praise it. But every now and then there are people like them that come, eat the entire thing and then complain it not to you, but straight to your boss.

It was a Christmas menu and this group of five people reserved for 12h which my boss told me to leave right after they finished. So I was like okay no problem. One of them called and told me they couldn’t come before 1pm so I was like okay, well, no problem I will be there. I called my boss and told him, just in case and he said he would pay me the extra hour and I said no no it’s fine, I don’t mind, I want them to enjoy this lunch.

So comes 1pm they are right on time. I’m pretty organized so when they came there was almost no wait and practically got their food right away. They laughed and sang as I put on Christmas musics with my phone and the ambiance was just amazing! When they left I asked them if they enjoyed it and they were all smiling and all and said yes we loved it thank you. Their plates came back empty so I was happy and started to clean out the kitchen.

Monday comes (it’s my day off) and my boss calls me.