What it Takes to Be a Chef
Have you ever tried googling that - What it takes to be a chef? Results include a 9-step process by wikihow (pictures included; might I add.) But what does it REALLY take to be a chef? And how do you know when you’ve become one? Is there a ‘eureka’ moment that tells you you’ve finally done it? Truth is I’ve been in this industry for almost 5 years now and I’m still not confident calling myself a chef… Cheffy; maybe.
My journey - which has been an ongoing one, as cooking and baking was always a hobby – progressed in 2011 when I attended Le Cordon Bleu school of culinary arts (LCB) in London, England, to complete the Grande Diplome. Which includes both pastry and cuisine. It was just supposed to be a gap year but I fell in love with it! All of it - the chaos, the heat, the drama and most of all, the passion. Every single chef I’ve met has been exactly the same, yet completely different. They’re absolutely eccentric in their own way, stubborn, perfectionists, easily set off, always a little arrogant and oh, so passionate.
My mentors at LCB (who have now all moved on) consisted of a professional boxer; a womanizing man-child; someone whom I think should definitely be diagnosed with OCD; an overachieving, what looked like, teenager; a karate master; what we think was an ex convict because of the prison tattoos (we were all too scared to ask); a grumpy santa claus; an all dominating pastry chef and finally, her submissive counterpart… See what I mean about the eccentricity? I’ve never been around so many crazy people that think everything is decisively normal, and I’ve worked in a mental hospital! (Yes, it’s true, that’s a whole other story for next time though.) But guess what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. That was the best year of my life and I learned more from those people about food, love, discipline and teamwork than I learned in 4 years of undergrad at McGill University.
From walking out of our first cuisine practical class with bandages and burns all over our hands and claiming our student discounts at Nisbets (the local kitchen equipment store) by showing off our scars; to completing mystery baskets, catering 5 course dinners and afternoon teas for 50+ people and passing grueling 6 hour practical exams. It’s safe to say, we accomplished a lot in that 1 year. And we were proud cheffys walking across that stage on graduation day, finally wearing that chef’s hat, and sounding like cattle because of all our medals clanking together.
I don’t see myself as the most articulate of writers, I enjoy it, but sometimes I have too many thoughts running around in my head and lose myself when it comes to structuring them on paper. However, I hope I was able to give you all a taste of what my blog is going to be like. Being a chef is one of the most misconceived professions – it’s unbelievably glamorized! It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, sacrifice and passion. That, is the key, you don’t go into this industry to become rich. No sir, you go into it because you love it and you can’t, for the life of you, imagine doing anything else!
Many more stories to come, but for now foodies, I think it’s time to sign off.