Is this normal?

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A little background on my self:
I'm 23 and discovered my passion for cooking about 6 months ago when I signed up for a baking class at my community college. I took it to impress my fiance but at the same time I fell in love with culinary. Oddly enough though I don't want to be a pastry chef, I enjoy cooking but baking is not for me.

So I'm taking regular cooking classes and I've noticed something... I seem to put a lot of pressure on myself for perfection. It is to the point of if I mess up the plating of something I MUST redo it until its right (while my other team mates would be comfortable just presenting the dish).  I have a very short temper but I keep it all to my self, for some reason in the kitchen I rather do everything myself so it gets done the way I would do it... obviously this is not possible and I am well mannered and keep all of that frustration to myself and I do realize that I do not know everything and that other people are here to learn also...given that I just bite my lip and present myself as laid back and willing to help others  but I'm sort of worried that being this obsessed about cooking may be a bad thing.

Any opinions?

I also have a ten year goal set and I think I set the bar very high:

I want to get my degree within 2 years, have my own resturant in 7 and have my first michelin star by the time I'm 33 (10 years from now)

Am I dreaming or is this possible for the right person?
 
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Oh it's possible. I think it's a big bite out of life to try and chew in ten years but nobody got anywhere without trying. That feeling of wanting to do it yourself to get it right will only lessen when you feel you have competent people around you in the kitchen.
 
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^i agree with gunnar. their is nothing wrong with setting the bar high for yourself and doing the best. yeah it good to mess up and learn from it but if u can make it good the 1st time you can move to other things. i am kind of the same way and all throughout school i kind of had to carry my group not in baking but all others. their is always that one person that just want to have it right or no way at all, especially when im cooking my countrys food. ikeep it traditional and dont try adding anything to it,  happened when i was making my stuffed grape leaves at school. as long as you dont mind busting your ass and working hard you can reach your goals, you just have to pick the right places to work and work and learn fast. good luck to you
 

kuan

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Goals are meaningless.  So what happens when you get there?

The process to me is much more meaningful.  You know you're tuned in when you can see the universe in an egg yolk.
 
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Kuan, that's just stupid goals are meaningless? Are you ok? Do you know what you just said?

Anyways Zane, I think it's easily possible. Almost anything is possible nowadays. I have plans just like you, difference is age. If you want it enough, and you don't just cook sandwiches you actually know how to cook, then I'm sure you can. Only you can decide what your limits are.
 

kuan

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The meaning lies in the process, a goal is just a point in time.  In and of itself it is meaningless.  When you get lost in the process you'll find that goals have nothing to do with what you're doing.
 
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No it's the idea of achieving something by going through a process. You're goal is an end result, what you want your process to be, and if you get lost in the process goals still have something to do with what you're doing, because you're still working for what you want.
 
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Goals serve a purpose,
If I want to start my own place and earn a star by the time I'm 33 the goal tells me what I need to do for the next 10 years. With out it I would have no clue what I want to do.
 

kuan

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Here's a goal for you.  Find a job in the industry and see what it's like to work in a kitchen.  You're 23.  You can't even taste enough chicken stock in two years to know what a good chicken stock tastes like.

Moving this to culinary student forum.
 
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Sorry for posting in the wrong section,
i still stand by the point that goals have meaning though.
 

kuan

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That's quite alright.  Everyone sees things differently.  I would still try and get a job in the industry first and see if you like it.  No sense being miserable while searching for that elusive star.  There's a thread about Michelin stars somewhere in the general cooking forum.
 

rat

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Seems like some hard goals. When you accomplish them what then? I agree with Kuan.
For me, I wanted to learn for 20 years, do for 20 years and teach for the last 20. I will be dead by then.

I am currently in the doing phase.
 
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"I seem to put a lot of pressure on myself for perfection"

I've heard that the moment you lose this is the moment you're done in the kitchen (to take it to the extreme and provided your goal is excellence). ie, never "lose" that.
 
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Zane,  I recognise you in myself, not so much with cookery but other things that I have striven for - and driven myself into the ground relentlessly in the process - it is impossible to stop if this is your nature.

 What will happen (most likely) is that you will reach your goal because you are not the type to quit, and you will make it,  you will, at times make yourself ill, and there will be  sacrifices but you have to weigh this all up -  and the answer to your last question ?      it is ALL possible.

Good luck to you   /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif
 
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I'd have to agree with that. A common response is, "Well, I thought it was great and wouldn't see what to change." And what a compliment! But I know what I felt I didn't do well enough, and what I want to improve upon. I feel that some dishes can be fiddled with too much, but there's never a point when anyone can serious sit back and say about their own skills, "I am done learning and practicing." And therefore the skills can always be improved. If you feel you're done improving, then yes, I'd also say the end of working in the kitchen has unfortunately come.

Well, that's all for me, anyway. As soon as I finished typing, I remembered a friend's dad. He's a KM some place, and I'm not sure of his actual credentials, but apparently he continues to work there just because it's work he's good at. He's said he doesn't care one way or another for the culinary art itself. So maybe it's different for others. But regardless, I still agree with you, Culinuthiast!

"I seem to put a lot of pressure on myself for perfection"

I've heard that the moment you lose this is the moment you're done in the kitchen (to take it to the extreme and provided your goal is excellence). ie, never "lose" that.
 
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So I'm taking regular cooking classes and I've noticed something... I seem to put a lot of pressure on myself for perfection. It is to the point of if I mess up the plating of something I MUST redo it until its right (while my other team mates would be comfortable just presenting the dish).  I have a very short temper but I keep it all to my self, for some reason in the kitchen I rather do everything myself so it gets done the way I would do it... obviously this is not possible and I am well mannered and keep all of that frustration to myself and I do realize that I do not know everything and that other people are here to learn also...given that I just bite my lip and present myself as laid back and willing to help others  but I'm sort of worried that being this obsessed about cooking may be a bad thing.

Any opinions?
"Wanting to do everything yourself" is the sign of a perfectionist who doesn't beleive anybody else could perform the task as well.

Whether this is a great aspect of your personality or a mental disorder depends on whether or not you can handle delegating the tasks to others when you do have qualified help. If this is really eating at you and you find it impossible to delegate, I'd suggest talking it over with someone to find out why, and how to fix it. You'll never be able to run a successful restaurant if you can't trust people and delegate.

While the Michelin star is nice as a goal, not getting one doesn't mean you're not creating really excellent food. The best food I've ever had, anywhere came from places that I can guarantee never had a Michelin reviewer step through the door.

Terry
 
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Kuan, that's just stupid goals are meaningless? Are you ok? Do you know what you just said?

Anyways Zane, I think it's easily possible. Almost anything is possible nowadays. I have plans just like you, difference is age. If you want it enough, and you don't just cook sandwiches you actually know how to cook, then I'm sure you can. Only you can decide what your limits are.
I  am hoping what Kuan meant was "The Journey" is more important than "The Final Destination" all the great and diverse people you meet along the way. All the different styles of cooking ....the never ending learning.
 I am not saying do not have goals ...just don't be discouraged when those goals change. We are ever changing. Life happens when you are making plans ....

Gypsy
 
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Just because you don't understand what Kuan said doesn't mean it is stupid. He knows what he just said, but I gather that you do not.
 
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 Zane, while I applaud your integrity and motivation, you gotta understand that in life, very few people will live up to your expectations, and only .000002 of 1% of the people are like you.
In culinary school, right now, you are in the position to change your attitude, your work ethic and your understanding of human nature.
Think of Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame. He never went to culinary school, yet he is as demanding of perfection as any Fine dining Chef can be. He runs his restaurants like a well oiled machine. Only people who WANT to be in his kitchen are there.

Which leads me to this...........If you intend to own your own Michelin starred restaurant, your going to have to lighten up a bit and understand human nature better, or you'll end up screwing yourself. You have to know when to let go, empower others to prepare what you have conceived in your head. You can't do it all, and it will make you sick thinking otherwise.  Been there and done that way too many times. THINK!!!
 

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