A bend in the weekly sauce road

By February 24, 2016 Obsessions No Comments

Okay, so I’ve done it again. Rather than sit calmly at home and research recipes, or type, or shop, chop, and sizzle ingredients, I have chosen to wade neck deep into the raging waters of a new, temporary job. I’m back at a culinary school, standing in as chef/instructor for a few months while the regular chef is elsewhere. And once again, I feel like I may drown. Some professional friends who knew of the opening sent me a text. I made a call. I made my minimal qualifications and formal teaching experience perfectly clear and yet the job was still offered to me. I started two days after speaking to the dean. Apparently, when your editor renames your book “Mastering” something and you get public accolades from unexpected sources, your resume takes on a certain opalescence. I’m not writing this to downplay my knowledge or diverse culinary experiences. What they may not have understood when they hired me is that I’m a wee bit short on professional polish, and that’s quickly becoming a problem.

It has been great to get out of the house and work in a big, noisy kitchen with industrial ranges, walk-in refrigerators, and automated dishwashers. It’s helpful to hear what today’s students know and want to know.  But, (and I hate to sound like a really old person here) school ain’t what it used to be. Rather than guiding tomorrow’s chefs towards an exciting career in an incredibly demanding industry, it seems as  though, with every request or correction, I am waging a war on their very existence. Yes, I have a challenging tone, natural scowl, and very high standards. But in this case, I’m pretty sure my one true crime is temporarily replacing a quieter, gentler academic. They act as though they got the devil’s substitute teacher and will have a rude awakening when they actually make food their career.

So, my blog postings will be irregular for a while. That isn’t to say I won’t be making sauces. I’ll be making more than ever, both at work and home. But writing coherent text and recipes is more than I can manage for a few weeks. I’ll try to get back at it as soon as possible. In the meantime, how about if you share your own sauce recipes and experiments for a while? I’d LOVE to hear about them!

UPDATE: Phew, that particular nightmare is over. Today’s urban culinary students are a diverse group. I met some people I hope to keep track of for a long time, and others I hope never to see again. I’m very glad I got the opportunity – I have rarely been so inspired to write!