I have been quiet for a while as some of you will know. Although what has been funny is the less I post the more readers I seem to have. Go figure! Anyway, despite my lack of blogging or even cooking per see, I have not been idle. In fact, I have left the comfort of my own kitchen and returned to the workplace after 15 years at home. But not just any workplace, straight into a professional culinary school kitchen. What an experience that is.
My body took 4 days to get over the shock of the physical aspect of being on my feet for 8 or 9 hours. No taking little tea breaks in between the housework that’s for sure. Never mind the heavy pans, the constant information downloading in my head, juggling 10 different jobs or requests at once. My mind was fried after two nights. It actually hurt, or maybe that was my arms that hurt, possibly my back. I don’t know. Everywhere hurt, especially my pride. Realising I ain’t 20 anymore was not pleasant. Even accidentally getting a wet Lampuki fish ass in the face during a shift didn’t bother me as much. We really do forget time keeps flying by.
However, on the upside, I picked up loads of little tricks, hints and tips, chef hacks. As well as tasting dishes I might never have tried under normal circumstances at home. Such as offal and sweetbreads with the most divine mash I have ever tasted. Culinary schools are great for this kind of thing. For the record that mash was sieved with nothing but a wooden spoon, a standard sieve and my elbow grease. ( It was like weight training, I kid you not). I’m going to have one amazing streamlined arm and one batwing arm in a few weeks. But boy is it worth it. It is how I make mash at home now. Tip alert, If you cover your serving spoon in cling film, it allows you to make a really smooth Quinnell when dishing up your mash, keeping the spoon clean and saving on wash up.
We really underappreciate the level of work that goes into the food we order at a restaurant. As food bloggers, we have the comfort of our own kitchens. We can start again if it’s not right. We can play around with things till they are to our liking. But all at our own pace. The professional kitchen is run with military precision. It’s busy, hot and it’s noisy. A culinary school kitchen may have less high pressure, but it is still running in a similar way. As an assistant in that kitchen, it is like having 10 Christmas dinners happen at one time, including all the wash-up. That is not for the faint-hearted.
As I stood on my aching legs 7 hours into a shift, elbow deep in fish guts, I genuinely asked myself, “am I mad?”. But then the chef handed me a glass of wine while we tasted these beautiful plates of food. I looked out at the class, strangers coming together over food, learning something new, something to share, to experience, to enjoy. So I resolved I am not mad, (well maybe a little). I am a lover of food, of the simple act of bringing people together to eat. Yes, it will take time to build the stamina of the veteran kitchen assistants, chefs, porters etc. I may have one very sexy whipping arm and one batwing arm in the end. But I will learn lots of things along the way, which I shall happily share with you, my fellow bloggers and readers. There will be amazing pasta dishes, delightful desserts, traditional cuisine and brilliant bakes in the future blogs. So bare with me as I adjust the posting schedule, and get into the swing combining the home cook and the professional kitchen insights.
Stay healthy. xx