I finally had the chance after class today to speak with a particular chef I admire on a particular topic I admire. The chef shall remain anonymous to spare me any future embarrassment should he ever read this post. The topic I will happily share with you: Writing. This particular chef is a very good writer. He is also very close with a particular writer who happens to be one of my favorite food writers of all time.
While speaking with this particular chef about this particular writer he mentioned that this particular writer advises writers getting started to write every day.
So here I am, promising to post every day into the unforeseeable future.
Chef also said that said particular writer says beginners should write around 1000 words per day. What am I at now, like 3000? 142??!! Oy.
This Chef I met with today, we’ll call him Chef Par(ticular) for the sake of preserving Simeon’s integrity without anyone feeling like I am kissing up to Chef Par, or said writer for that matter(I respect both of them for the work they have done, but I will not grovel or otherwise sacrifice my own honor and individuality to them. And you shouldn’t ever do that stuff either. It’s below you. But I’ll assume you know that already), is a guy with character. By that I mean he has a dynamism and intelligence that gives him a multi-faceted personality. After just a few moments speaking with him, it was clear that he can be funny, sarcastic, serious, and engaging.
He also has the capacity to produce great things. The website he created for the class he is currently teaching is vast, if not intimidating. There are hundreds of videos he created to prepare students for his way of cooking, his methods for cleaning, and his approach to food. The recipes include proper quantities, methods, pictures of how they should be presented, and there are supplemental videos to watch on how to prepare the recipe. It’s kinda unbelievable. He provides links to research key terms(key terms are vocabulary words that students are expected to define. Key Terms are often covered on quizzes and exams. I have never seen a chef provide links to information on key terms. How much time must that have taken him??). The menus for each day are posted, which is a common practice of chefs who post on the school’s online class organizational system called Moodle. Chef Par has his own website with the menus posted, and each item on the menu is hyperlinked to the recipe for that item, which also shows the presentation of that item with a video on how it is prepared! That saves tons of time for the student, who no longer has to sift through school issued cookbooks, or scroll through gigantic, often outdated recipe manuals posted by a chef who will squash you’re daily grade like a bug if you arrive to class without a recipe, with an incorrect recipe, or without a printed out picture or diagram of the plate presentation.
I will share thought on this recipe and information treasure hunt we are often sent on without going into a prolonged tangent, but definitely in an attempt to get closer to 1000 words, but first I must say this: I am not saying in any way that I believe chefs at my school are lazy, unorganized, or inefficient in administration of their course materials. And I am not victimizing myself saying that I am helpless and need someone to spoon-feed me my recipes. I always find my recipe, and get it onto a note card for class, but I have gotten sufficiently confused while sifting through recipe manuals, course guides, cookbooks, and 100 slided powerpoints in an attempt to bring forth an accurate recipe with a presentation for the plate that the chef is expecting. It gets mind-numbing, and downright frustrating at times. If a chef expects us to bring our A game, then give us the chance to prepare as quickly, efficiently, and easily as possible before we get to class. Most of us students are willing to work hard and long to get prepared for class. But we hate wasting that time looking for stupid stuff that should be right there for us. And when a chef jumps down the throat of some poor kid and the kid’s teammate, who both looked for 3 hours for a recipe only to find the wrong one, chef often has no right to be upset if finding the information is like finding a needle in a…well…a 45MB web of powerpoints, lecture notes, recipe manuals, and other work plans and tracking schedules. Yes chef, notice the kid dropped the ball on the recipe and deduct grades accordingly if you must, but don’t yell at the kid. Get yourself together a little more, and you can scream all you want if we’re not properly prepared for class.
With this website of his, Chef Par is completely in his right to tear us new ones if we are unprepared. And he knows it. He said so. I like that. I am going to learn a ton in his class.
My convo with chef Par was one I have been thinking about for a while now, so I am happy it finally happened. It gives me that feeling I sometimes get since being at school that my future is opening before my eyes in exactly the way I want it to open. The possibilities of an interaction with someone like Chef Par seem endless, although I’m sure they aren’t. But you better believe I will be trying to find a way to get his respect. I will write these 1000 words each day like he said to do. And I will work as hard as I can in his class. I hope he comes to see me as someone with a bright future, and that he helps to guide me along on my path. Who knows, maybe I will get to interact with said writer and get some guidance that is beyond generic inspirational recapitulation.
And I truly hope I still think Chef Par is a good guy after I spend three weeks with him in class. I hear he can be a monster. But is he justified in being hard or no? That remains to be seen.