Whether you’re a head chef with a brigade to lead in the kitchen, a restaurant owner with regular guests who introduce new friends to your place, or a frazzled culinary student who wants to bonk their head repeatedly on the work station and ask themselves “Do I belong here?!” people who believe in you will make all the difference in the world.
While you don’t want to sport a head that is too large for your cook’s hat, it’s important to work confidently and smartly, and surround yourself with friends, family, and acquaintances that will, as I like to say, “calls ’em as they sees ’em.” While it is nice to hear that you’re the greatest thing ever, people who genuinely care about you will be honest (brutally so if necessary), hug you when you cry, pump their first in the air and celebrate victories with you, collaborate and brainstorm with you for ideas, and most importantly, criticize you. In a way that doesn’t make you want to throw said cooks hat in the rubbish and quit.
I have been very lucky. My (as of Sunday) former employer, Rhonda, was amazingly flexible around my class schedule, taught me loads about how to run a successful business, and was brutally honest, at all times, which was great, because I have no time or patience to try and read through a veneer of candy-coated glaze when there are 100 things on my at-work to-do list.
My brother, Tarek, brings such greatness into my life. He works his ass off, always tells me what I know is right, is a mover and shaker, and gives me serious motivation like a kick in the pants.
Other friends, family members, and random internet people formed a network that helped me to keep working as hard as I did. I probably pushed myself a bit too hard at times, but was more concerned about graduating and feeling as though 110% wasn’t given.
For all of you student readers at Northwest, it must feel like you’re living under a microscope, and unless you were already used to it (I was), being criticized constantly for the sake of improvement must be overwhelming, frustrating, even embarrassing at times. The teachers genuinely care about your well-being and want you to succeed, but after getting an honest professional opinion, whether you get grumpy and sulk at home with a beer or thank them, go home, sharpen your knives, find out why things didn’t work out, and try to rock it again, is entirely up to you. Trust that the chef instructors have been around the block, know what they’re doing, and are there to help. My advice is to take advantage of this valuable resource while you can.
The team at Rouxbe has been a gentle guiding force since the beginning of class. We started out watching them, and they have been watching me! Their kind words, great ideas, advice, publicity and encouragement mean so much, because I always thought they were awesome!
So I am pleased (and flattered, oh my!) to announce that I am now a Rouxbe affiliate partner. Soon the blog will have amazing HD-quality video techniques to go along with the recipes that I come up with. I’ll explain the yum, and they will show the how. They have kindly granted I Heart Big Flavour the power to give you a free, full-access, no-videos-barred, 14-day pass to their site.
All you have to do is go to the Rouxbe Online Cooking School and redeem the 14-day Gift Membership. After the trial, you can join for as little as $15 per month; however, there is no obligation. It’s totally sweet! Check it out.
The people behind you will lift you up and help you reach your goals (think of Alfred Pennyworth), so be grateful for who has been there for you, or is right now!