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 “people skills” and professional polish, and that’s quickly becoming a problem.
It has been great to get out of the house and work with industrial ranges, walk-in refrigerators, and high powered, 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 isn’t what it used to be. Rather than guiding tomorrow’s chefs towards an exciting career in an incredibly demanding industry, I feel 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 kind, gentle, beloved academic. Instead of being the silent place holder they hoped for, they are convinced that they got the devil’s substitute teacher.
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!