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Old 07-28-2007, 06:31 PM   #11
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Ive been a dishwasher,prep cook,line cook sous chef,baker worked in bakeries making everything,grill chef,pastry chef you name it I also was head chef at a small hotel in the ski valley for about 11 years in in the winter in Taos,NM.A lodge chef for 8 years where I live now.Now Im a private chef in November and December in Texas have done that job for 10 years now.
People will ask me what culinary scool I went to I tell them I didnt but I did go to the school of hard knocks.I would get good at something then get a job that was more challenging making it a earn and learn deal.My best learning was in Taos from my boss he is a french chef his brother also a french chef had the hotel next door and his father was a french chef all of them from france.But my boss Dadou taught me so much and let me take over the kitchen after a few years he would tease me all the time telling me in france a women would never be allowed to run a kitchen maybe she would only get to wash dishes or peel vegetables.Im sure that has changed.His wife was austrian so they only wanted european concoctions nothing else but I started changing things adding an american influance so people would understand what they were eating.He did not like that but he started making alot more money because I also adding american versions to the menu.God I loved that job it was like going to the play ground every day I could do what ever I wanted.
One of my most favorite moments was when I got to save the a## of the real french chef next door he needed to make a whole bunch of individual Buch de Noels and for what ever reason could not make the frosting or icing for it so he asked me for a recipe for an easy butter cream I had just made a 5 gallon bucket of a bakery version using sweet tex etc,vanilla I gave him the bucket therefor bailing him out in a pinch he could add all the flavorings and chocolate to make the xmas cakes.Man I felt like a big shot the rest of the day.
I believe I had an advantage as I lived in Germany as a little girl so I knew what certain things should be like especially linzer tortes,sacher etc.
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:21 PM   #12
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Absolutely amazing the things you've done, jpmcgrew. And I'm drooling after reading it! The little dish of vanilla ice cream I had planned for tonight just ain't gonna cut it now! You must have a million "war stories" having worked in the industry for so long. Maybe you could start a thread for those "behind the scenes", cooking for a living stories. I'd love to hear more.
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:46 PM   #13
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Actually a simple bowl of good vanilla ice cream is wonderful,I believe less is more sometimes.OMG, I have lot of war stories especially working in alot of kitchens where Im the only female the male co workers were the worst never had a problem with abuse from the head chef.But you get a tough skin quickly and learn how to give them a run for their money.They then learn to respect you but the teasing never stops and yet that can go both ways I could give it right back.One thing is never let em see you cry,stand your ground and give them a hard time as well once they know you are not backing down you can become one of them and be a comarade.
You need to read a book callled Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain this book gives you a great idea about the people working in restaurant life and just how hard it can be .And the language can be really filthy but it goes with the territory.
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Old 07-29-2007, 12:17 AM   #14
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I DO COOKING FOR A LIVING; MY JOB IS DOING REASERCH AND DOVELOPMENT IN FOOD AND CREATING VARIOUS RECIPE FOR NATUROPATHY INSTITUTE. I ENJOY MY JOB BECAUSE I AM SERVING INDIAN FOOD WITH A TWIST OF FOREIGN TASTE. I LIKE FUSION AND CREATE OWN RECIPES.
I FEEL THAT COOKING IS AN ART LIKE PAINTING. WE PAINT PORTRAITS, LANDSCAPES AND EVEN COLLAGE, OFCOURSE THE COMMENTS WILL BE DIFFERENT.
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Old 07-29-2007, 05:44 AM   #15
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I don't cook for a living, I cook because it's my passion.
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:54 AM   #16
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Does cooking for home schooled children count? I am going into my fourth year of home schooling, and when we first started, we were so green we made spinach look yellow.

We have co-ops, where parents offer to teach things they, like, love, have a passion for or are knowledgeable about. I raised my hand and chose cooking. I am no dubbed as the Cooking Lady, and have a shirt to prove it. Some of these children don't even know my real name, they just know me as the Cooking Lady (And trust me, I don't mind).

I teach anywhere form 3-4 classes per semester, and only teach elementary ages and middle schoolers. I had some respect issues with the Teenagers and no longer teach that age group. One bad apple does spoil the whole bunch girl.

So, do I cook professionally? No, but I do hope to instill into these children the love of cooking. And the only thing I want is...for one day, 5...10...15 years down the road, when these people are cooking with their wives, husbands, or any family member. Is that they stop for a split second because something hits them with familiarity and they say. "Oh my, I remember the Cooking Lady teaching us this when I was a kid."

No more, no less.
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Old 07-29-2007, 04:47 PM   #17
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I cook in order to live! Lol.
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:46 PM   #18
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I started as cold prep, moved to hot prep, sauces, soups, and eventually became the sous chef. From there I became chef/manager, eventually GM, which almost took me out of the kitchen, entirely. That wasn't really to my liking.
Now, I'm the executive chef for one of NYC's largest universities, three campuses. Three exec. chefs, one at each campus. I have lots of official paperwork to do, but I can be in the kitchen any time I desire. My staff has often remarked that they've never known an exec. chef to cook as much as I do.
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:51 PM   #19
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Yes...we do it all. We live in a small town so our crowds aren't large. We used to have a HUGE menu...but since the first of the year we are all self-service buffet. My husband and I do it all as of today. Our waitress who we have had for seven years is moving to Washington...and we have decided not to rehire anyone. We do the cooking...cleaning...dishes...bussing...ordering and run the register. We serve an average of 80 people a day...so we work about 14 hours a day six days a week...then Sunday...(only) about 8 hours...for a total of 92 hours a week. We are lucky...we can do it because all our six kids are grown and gone. We have been here a little over 7 years now. We hope to have our place paid for in 5 more years....yeah!
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:57 AM   #20
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Currently, I am an Ingredient Control Chef / weekend line cook for a very busy South Suburban Chicago hospital. Prior to that, I was a Pastry Chef for an equally busy restaurant. Before that, I was a short order cook for an after hours bar in Chicago.

The funny thing is, the most money I made cooking so far is when I was a short order cook. The owner paid me great, but the hours made it impossible to see my family. Plus, I got sick of all the drunks. The owner would put a cover charge on the door after 1am. Most bars closed at 2am. This place I worked at stayed open till 4am. 5am on the weekends. People would try to avoid the cover charge by sneaking thru the kitchen. I had a few fist fights there too dealing with those losers. Not cool at all. On top of that, the bartenders and servers would call last call for the kitchen all the time. I would close the kitchen at 3am. More times than not, I would get 20 food orders at 2:55am. I DO NOT miss that place. I do miss the money though.

I'm still looking for that dream job, but until then, I will keep my current job WITH INSURANCE!

RJ
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