"A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe"
- Thomas Keller
As I await for my meal to arrive at this restaurant, there was a certain level of expectation - along with an increasing level of hunger - gradually rising in my head for the food I had just ordered. A tastefully done menu with even so tastefully styled ingredients left my palate moist in anticipation. It arrives. It looks fancy. But does this beauty transpire into my mouth for a 'yummm - full' expression?
A Chef is the narrator of such food journeys that travel from eyes to mouth. A delectably tasty cuisine soothes not just ones hunger but it keeps asking for more such encounters with food. A Chef has the power to do justice to this journey. And with this power, a Chef has the responsibility to make this experience into a memorable one.
Love for food knowledge and a passion for living a life in the professional kitchen for 40+ hours a week is something you got to trade for getting into a Chef's hat. If the fascination for flavors, textures and aroma along with an everyday defined goals in prepping, execution and plating holds your fancy, then being a 'Chef' is your calling for life!
Soon after your graduation from the culinary school, if all you think “you’re going to be the next Sanjeev Kapoor”, you are WRONG! Wake up, smell that coffee and be prepared to set aside your cozy life at bay for some real long time. Imagining a glorious life of a Chef, while experimenting with variety of food items at the comfort of your home kitchen amidst taking inspiration from Gordon Ramsay show, will only disappoint you while you explore the real world of a Chef. Culinary professional is a sophisticated title to flaunt but to arrive at a glossy and a legendary life of a Chef, you WILL have to expect extra-long hours in kitchen, sacrifice weekends, holidays, clean floors in an extremely high stressful situation, without feeling 'too good' for this job.
Stay humble, remain passionate! If cooking truly gives you the most gratifying feeling in living your life fully, then you are in the right profession. Do not get demotivated and stick around to pull all hardships off as there is light at end of this tunnel and that light is shiny bright! Perseverance, patience andcountless amount of positive outlook throughout this endeavor will certainly pay off with abundant returns. Every cook has a fabulous story to tell via her/his culinary finesse. But what will set you apart from the rest is your constant hunger for learning and a fire in your belly to innovate almost every day!
Low pays and regular tiresome days in the beginning of your career, will be a regular feature of your life initially. Although, under no circumstances, it should not be a deterrent in your pathway to becoming a Chef. Each aspiring student dreams of owning a restaurant, eventually. But there are other endless opportunities in this profession. Ranging from working with mid-level to fine – dine restaurant, restaurant consultants, food critique, food stylist and many more. But remember whatever line in this profession you may choose, it will never be a nine – to – five proposition.
Crave to learn new dishes every day. Prepare to take challenges every moment. And always be humble to every critique you receive.
Bon Appetit, amigo!