Hola, my churros!
Today’s word is pretty straightforward, but crucial. To all of you culinary student readers (and lovely non-students), if you’re wondering why I haven’t done any food words like soufflé, baba ghanoush, or mirin in a while, it’s because
a) something crazy happens every week, so
b) I think it’s better to get you acquainted with a related word that isn’t waiting for you in your glossary list/on Wikipedia, and
c) these are things that you might have to learn the hard way, so do as Chef Tony says and “keep that in your back pocket!”
So, since school finished, marking the end of the Culinary Bootcamp posts, I worked for 2 more weeks at Changes (full-time), then dedicated myself full-time to a (thankfully) short-lived job hunt that was laden with nasty kitchens where Gordon Ramsay ought to spray bleach all over with a fire hose, crazy owners who seemed stubbornly intent on running their businesses into the ground by serving garbage, and flaky hostesses who I didn’t trust handing my resume off to. The joys of looking for employment!
I did the math and figured out how long it would be possible to go without working until finding a place that felt right, but didn’t want to wait long. It can be nerve-wracking to put yourself out there and not know for sure what’s going to happen. I was really lucky and found an awesome, shiny kitchen with a fun team of chefs who are working super hard to get things ready for the grand opening. These guys want to take care of us. They’ve been busting their asses, all day, every day and understandably, it’s driving them crazy!
Poor dudes. I know where they’re coming from and am so grateful. Since the beginning of school, where I pushed myself too hard not only to get into, but to stay in the game, I never turned off. Burnout hovered nearby like a pesky mosquito, but thankfully, I got through it all somehow and the only blood I lost had to do with my knife and that guard-less mandolin at The Shang. Whew!
Recharging my batteries is something relatively new. It’s like salt. You can’t always tell it’s in a dish, but little bits of it will enhance the flavour. And if it isn’t there, you’ll often miss it. Without being rested, you’re likelier to lose your cool or make clumsy mistakes and will wish you sat down and watched a cartoon earlier when there was a chance to do it.
I’ve been enjoying having a little time off for the past couple of weeks, while waiting for training to start up, switching between sleeping through the day (it all caught up with me!) and working on moving I Heart Big Flavour to a new hosting site. This place will be way cooler after it’s done! Posts can display Rouxbe cooking technique videos or other goofy food vids that I make, and I can have greater control of the way this blog looks, works, and runs overall. Better features and new content!
Going through the setup process and learning how to use an entirely new site is agonizing, though, and yesterday I noticed some new blondish-white hairs on the back of my head (they’re kinda hot). That’s what 8 hours of feverish, isolated typing with Lady Gaga and Food Network playing in the background will do to you. If I hear one more eHarmony commercial, that TV is getting unplugged!
Ironically, work is now my break from the blog, when it used to be the other way around. I’m having fun meeting people, trying new foods, and learning new systems, and don’t have to think about tech support tickets, rebuilding page configurations, or re-categorizing and tagging every post manually (argh!!!).
Just like the chefs, I know that all the work and ridiculous hours are worth it, for bigger and better things to come. It’s a warm and fuzzy thought that will get you through hours of delirium, but still. Sometimes, you have to drop everything and take a minute to chill out and sharpen yourself mentally and physically.
It’s a good idea to take 10 minutes and come up with a list of ways to relax. Methods that actually work for you. And if they’re healthy habits, great. I’m a big fan of the glass of water/snack and go for a stretch. Deep breathing or changing up your environment can help, too. I’ve decided to do all four and go for a run. Tired of looking at these walls!