How do you know the difference?

How do you know the difference?url

Knowing the difference is realizing that, even though once in a while you attend the fast food shit holes that serve you food (at least it was food at some point), that better food does exist. “Mr. Ronald’s”, “Burger Queen” and “Cindy’s” are not major food groups and that somewhere down the line things got mixed up. Food became about money and grotesque indulgences. Food lost the respect it once had.   The respect it deserves and worked thousands of years to obtain. It’s amazing how, as fast as society learned to mass produce it, and as quick as we learned the wonderful things that could be done with food, nature’s fantastic gifts, that we, as a whole, dug a hole, and perverted the very food that gives us life every day.url

It’s the sickening things being done to the beautiful, yet tasty creatures that we have evolved to eat. The colouring book procedures and playing god with fruits and vegetables that were already appealing, the way nature intended. The extravagant over use of SUGAR, the globes number one most addictive drug (and I call it this because it is a substance handled by the food and drug administration). We are all guilty of turning a blind eye to the pre-cooked, pre-packaged, preservative pumped chemical waste boxes we feed ourselves from the trough of big brother’s freezer.imgres

There was a time when organic food was simply called food. A time when chickens had one head and was soaked in mushroom sauce not ammonia. There was a time when food was not so mass produced that we have 3 to 4 times more food than we even need to feed ourselves. Yet every day we ignorantly shut our eyes to a problem that is smack dab right in front of our faces. How do you know the difference?url

Eat FOOD. Consume real non processed food, eat less meat, more veggies. Pay attention to what’s going into your mouth. Feed yourself, don’t fill yourself. Easy does not mean better. It definitely does not mean healthier. Plant a garden and show your children where food comes from. Eat local, eat fresh, eat real, and eat smart

a few links i thought were interesting:

http://www.ted.com/talks/mark_bittman_on_what_s_wrong_with_what_we_eat.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/tristram_stuart_the_global_food_waste_scandal.html?utm_content=awesm-publisher&utm_medium=on.ted.com-static&utm_campaign=&utm_source=direct-on.ted.com&awesm=on.ted.com_Tristram

THE OLD SCHOOL

The old school

 

The old school chefs are the ones that were cooking when the food revolution started.

The real pirate fucks. Mean well-oiled machines. They worked when 600 heads a night was a slow night. When restaurants were never empty and always open. They worked in a time before capitalism and the enslavement of the masses, by credit and increasing inflation. They cooked in a time, when cooks sowed their wounds on the line. They seasoned their food with the ashes of their cigarettes and spiced every dish with their sweat and pride.

That being said and as gross as those words might sound, the truth in this is ever so real. These pioneers, have gone through an Armageddon of rushes, that we the fresh meat, the pups and freshman can only imagine. The old school, whipped cream by hand and had no hood vents in the little part of hell they worked in. Going to work for them meant getting up at the crack of dawn because someone had to clean the twelve 50 pound halibuts for the night’s dinner service.

We the new school neglect the little things that they never had. Like kitchen aids and first aid kits. Pre portioned fish and meat. Some of us bitch that we have to walk up a flight of stairs to fill our bus bins with our “mise-en- place” for the night. BOOHOO …Poor fucking us. I won’t be a hypocrite and say I’ve never bitched about anything in the kitchen. But what I will say is that we as pirates and mercs have become soft. Compared to the proud chefs of old, we lack conviction (as in, conviction: a strong persuasion or belief.) in what we do. Call it pride, dedication or that dash of “give a fuck” that the old salts brought with them, carried on their back and poured into every task they did. Every day, as soon as they walked through the doors of the sanitariums they worked for.

 

We all have our days. We all have our own personal issues and events happening in life. But we are experts in the unexpected, life’s little rushes. Admit it or not, our lives reflect greatly our attitudes towards our work life and personal satisfaction. Maybe it was easier to take pride in things back then because things were simpler. Maybe people were just more civilized and we as a sub-culture was not viewed as the cast away degenerate and tattooed deviants that most of us are viewed as today. Maybe if we acted with a little more self-respect and pride like those that came before us, we’d make the old school proud. All it would take is a little “give a fuck”. Just a little old school.

I am not saying we should start turning our hood fans off and throwing cigarette butts in our food. What I am trying to convey, is that if you as a person respect yourself and what we do, treat your work and work place with the same respect that you give yourself. Present yourself in a manner that you can be proud of. The respect shown might be shown back to you. Be professional, be classy, be old school.

Branded

 

Branded;

A brand is a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”[1] Branding began as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. (thanks again wikipedia)

Tattoos.

Many professions frown upon them. They carry with them a certain social stigma just like most of the professions of the people that wear them do. It is true that they are starting to emerge more and more and many places of employment are beginning to be more lenient on the wearing of this skin art.   Just like a chef tells a story on their plate many of us share our stories on our skin. There Amongst the scars worn on our bodies from flame and knife. Little pieces of us, pierced by needle and stained by ink   lay our brands. Our brands reflect what we do, who we are and what we have been through as a person. In our industry I would like to think of tattoos as a rite of passage. We go through war and blood to earn the right to wear this art .Like getting your blood wings in the US Airborne, surviving a walkabout   in Australia. Some get quotes that inspire, others strips of bacon, an onion or a chef knife.

When is the right time to get branded? How long do you go before you add another piece of yourself between those burns and scars? Do you cover the actual scars up? Or do you wear them proud and add to the grim beauty of the burns and cuts you’ve gathered over the years. Whatever  you decide to paint on your flesh. Just like the battle scars you wear already it will reflect who your are and will be worn for life.

Here are some of the more interesting pieces ive found :

 

Lead, Follow or get out of the way

Lead, follow or get out of the way.

These words mean the same thing in many aspects of life. In the professional kitchen they mean much more. I believe they are the foundation of what we do. There is no time in the heat of the rush to fuck around. No time to make a mockery of the art we call work. In the end, the real cooks stand the test of time. The millions of hours, thousands of rushes and hundreds of gallons of sweat. They are still here doing what they love.

Lead

What does it mean to lead a crew into the battle of culinaria? What does it take? Many of us spend decades honing our skills, pouring ourselves into our work to get to be master and commander of our army of soldiers. So what is it to lead? To be a leader in the kitchen, it takes a painful amount of dedication, patience, ambition and knowledge. They are True Believers in the art of food. They never compromise food, never serve a product they are not proud of and, do not sacrifice quality for quantity. They understand that it means more to give less of something that is worth giving, than to give a lot of an inferior product. A true leader in our world knows the difference. In turn they pass that knowledge to their followers in hopes that they will understand and stand by his/their work. A leader understands that he must earn the respect of his followers. That leading and being called a leader are two very different things. Being the leader also has other responsibilities, such as food costing, menu planning, meetings, managing, etc. By no means is it easy to balance the algorithm of a formula that could make or break the livelihoods of you and the many others that depend on you. There are 24 hours in a day and we need 28. The leader is usually the first in and the last out. That is just how it is.

Follow

Followers are in my opinion the real heroes. They are the ones that make the leaders dreams come to life. Like mercenaries hiding in the bushes waiting to cook, kill or protect the chef’s interests. A good follower is priceless. A good follower gets it. They are still learning, but they understand the road they have chosen. They never call in sick, they question only to learn, and they work through each battle proud of what they are doing. A good follower gives a shit about what they are doing in the kitchen and who they are doing it for. I am not saying that a follower should be a blind servant or that they should be a submissive idiot. I am trying to say that respect should be given when it is merited. That as a follower, a pirate should remember who their captain is and what he/she has done to get to where he/she is. Learn from the good examples the leader sets, omit the bad, and respect the food. Respect the food and the rest will come.

Get out of way

Why are you here? Are you here for the money? Are you here for the fame? Did you see a show on TV and think “hey, that looks like a cool career”? Well let’s lay those questions to rest.  We do not make millions. In my opinion the service industry is one of the most underpaid trades in the world. We work long hours, holidays, morning, noon, and night. Most of us can’t even eat, or stay, at the places we make run like a well-oiled machine every day. So if you think this is a cool job, a job where you’re going to be on TV and make all kinds of disposable income, surprise, your dreams are now shattered. I do not mean to be a dick here, but you people that are in school right now or working in the industry that expect these things, to me you are the lowest form of life. You are a culinary abortion. A drain on our society and should be thrown out on your face for attempting to be one of us. You are the ones that we see in the kitchen during peak season. You come in, talk a good game, and a week later, after seeing exactly what you are in for, disappear or call in dead. This is not a career for the weak, the arrogant, or the soft hands of a “wanna be” rich, book smart idiot. They are in it for the wrong reasons. We are proud, hard working solidiers. So: “Lead, follow or get the fuck out the way!”

here is a  clip I thought was funny (form a film called idiocracy):

Lead, follow or get out of the way 

ode to the dish washer

“The word ‘dishwasher’ (or abbreviated as simply “dish”) may also refer to a person who washes dishes in a restaurant, hotel or other private or commercial entities. Pots and pans are also washed by hand by scrubbing them in a detergent and water mix, immersing them in a rinse of plain water, and then immersing them in a water/sanitizer solution for a period. Silverware is washed by placing loose silverware in a tray, washing them several times like this, then sorting them into circular holders, and washing them again in the dishwasher. Colloquially, a dishwasher may be known as a “dish-pig” or a “pan-diver”, from the French “plongeur”, and made famous by George Orwell in Down and Out in Paris and London. Commonly used also is the term “KP” for Kitchen Porter or Kitchen Police, who would have a variety of other duties. The area where dishes are washed, particularly in foodservice is sometimes also called a “dish-pit”.”

The infamous dishwasher. In my opinion, they are the back bone of the kitchen. They get the pleasure of doing all the things we the cooks do not. All day they are surrounded by dirt, garbage, water and harassment.

There are many types of “dish pig”. There is the con, the wise, the student, the angry, the bizarre, etc… They come in all shapes and sizes. No matter what they look like, they get the jobs that we do not like to do done. For less pay and extra bullshit. They take shit from many sources, sometimes all at once. We shit on them, the servers shit on them, the managers, and the customer. All four levels of our society defecate on these poor bastards and they smille and take it.

I’ve had the joy (and I really mean that) of knowing a few interesting dish monkeys in my time. I have even had the joy of being one of these proud men/women. It is in my opinion that the dish washer should be spoiled a little from time to time. We should give them their meals when asked. We should give them a hand when they are slammed. Many times a dishwasher has cheered me up after an intense rush or a bad day. So among all the harassment and misery that is the pit, show them some respect. Show them that they are people as much as we are and that we love them for doing what we do not wish todo.

They are some the biggest pirates and mercenaries I know. The kitchen would not be the same without them.

Some fun clips for you:

Waiting… Hot Fudge Sundae

Waiting The Movie – Bishops Speech

waiting… part four

Why do we do it

”We are a subculture performing our tasks, creating beautiful things in sometimes extremely harsh conditions. Behind the scenes, sometimes never seen. But thats just what we do.”

-ME

A chef I worked for would always ask me ”Why do we do it?” (the bastard lol). He usually said these words to me whenever I got into one of my many moods. At that time in my career I could be such a fucking ass hole. A real miserable son of a bitch sometimes. Usually a server (sorry, no offence, it’s just, we all know the messenger always gets shot) would do something or say something and set me off on a terrible fit of pure unadulterated rage. Then, I would hear those fucking words ”Why do we do it?”. I would reply drunk with rage, ”because we fucking love it!”. At the time I would think to myself, do I really love it or am I just humoring him by saying it?

So I started to really think about it. Why do we go into the kitchen everyday to do the things that we do? Its simple really. For the stories. For the experiences, the food, the rush of it all and, lets not forget all the money (ha!). For the people we met and the ones we will meet. Some people travel, some people do extreme sports, and others get tattoos. We cook. It’s not the high life, but we do it all the same.

I heard once (I do not remember where, TV or something) that great chefs tell stories with their food. That every plate you put out should flow. It should speak to the person cooking it and the one eating it. It has a beginning, a body and an end. That it should be beautiful and leave the one eating it longing for more. Recipes for life.

I like some of you, I like to watch the Gordon, Bobby, Olivers, and those makeover nightmare shows. I like to watch them because these shows tell the stories of what some might consider the prominent chef of today (we all have opinions on many of the douche bags in it for the wrong reasons, wanna be rock stars). Maybe we watch to see if our stories have similarities. Pondering about how they got to where they are in life. Maybe we just like a good story.

So why do we do it? Money? Fame? Passion? Personal gain?

I do it because it feels right, and I do love a good story.

Seven Personality Traits of a Culinary Professional

some of the few stats i could fing on chefs in canada

some of the few stats i could find on cooks in canada

Dear customer

( To the potential customers that might read this,

This in no way is meant to be offensive to the good people that let us do our jobs and trust that their hard earned money is being used to deliver them a quality meal. Also this is not meant to belittle or insult anyone, only to inform some individuals that cook/Chefs  do care about and know what they are doing in the kitchen.Thank you for your time .)

Dear customer,

First off, FUCK YOU!!!

Why do you fuck with us? Have you ever heard the expression: don’t bite the hand that feeds you? What does this mean you might ask?

Well, people tend to forget that when they come into a restaurant there are human beings out back actually preparing their food. Yup, that’s right, actual people. The food doesn’t just appear out of thin air. You come into our establishments, seeking a service. This service is one that we are happy to provide. Many of us have spent years learning our craft and do it well. Unlike other places, we are not just opening a bag or box and re-heating food. We cut your fucking vegetables and french fries, we shuck your shrimp, we grill your mother fucking steaks. Chefs/cooks go through hell and back learning, gaining experience and techniques, in order to one day teach a crew of mercenaries and pirates to bring your food to your table. With not so much as a fucking thank you. Not that we expect it.

Why is it then that they feel that they can come in and be an expert on the food we have just prepared for them? Have they made this dish four or five thousand times like we have? Did they fucking cut their god damn vegetables? If they have, then why the fuck did they bother coming out to eat? Their asses should have stayed home and cooked it their fucking selves.

I have a theory. My theory is that one of the main reasons people go out to eat is to feel special about themselves.  It’s because we work in the service industry and they know it. They know that we are hired servants. Paid (poorly might I add) to cater to them. So some, not all, use this to be cock suckers and play the part very well.

These people watch things like the food network and other shows (no offence). This shows them how to cook a fucking turkey or make salsa. These shows make these people think they know what it takes to cook their meals. The information age is no less guilty of perverting what we do every day, spitting in the face of our cuts, burns and sweat.

So why do we sometimes hate the customer? I mean they do pay our rent; they do give us an outlet to do the beautiful things we do. We hate them for the “ten minutes to close walk-ins”. We hate them for the condescending tones and words spoken. We hate them because some of them are just plain ignorant, arrogant mother fuckers that think they know something.

Food is real, and real people cook it.  Food can be easy, but isn’t always fun. Food is pain, love, sweat, blood and tears. Fuck what they think they know, and thank whoever you worship or pray to, that we know the difference.

Or you could just spit in their food..(kidding don’t do that lol).

Here’s a kind of funny site I found:  http://notalwaysright.com/