What's there to be afraid of......

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by culinarian247, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. culinarian247

    culinarian247

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    I've had a rather interesting start in food. A student/sous chef was really great experience. But I'm still uncomfortable about my cooking skills. It's been a while since I did it. I have an opportunity to be a cook at the hotel I work in. I would LOVE to take the job but I don't want to embarass myself ("You're a cooking school student and you can't cook, hahaha..."). What can I do to keep from falling on my face? I know basic techniques but have had limited chances to try them out (I sure could use a tilt kettle at home to practice on). I'm more worried about being a cook than I was about being a sous chef. Manage I can do with relative confidence. But cook? Ohhhhhhhhhh the butterflies................................
     
  2. suzanne

    suzanne

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    My boy, this is what they mean when they say "I wish I'd listened to what my mother said." How many times have I told you never to be afraid of "failing," since it's the best way to learn? And how often have I said, "Ask questions, ask for a demonstration" when they tell you to do something?

    The first point is pretty self-explanatory: if you don't try, you won't learn.

    On the second, you can always CYA by saying, "Yeah, I know how they showed us to do that in school, but I want to be sure to do it the way it's done HERE." Even if the first part of the sentence is stretching the truth a bit, ;) you'll save face and get the demo you need.

    As for the tilt kettle: it's a lot like a flattop or grill, in that there will be hotspots. Also, the contents will ALWAYS pour out faster and wider than you expect :eek: so you need to place some sort of baffle or guide behind the spout when you empty it (like a sheet pan) into a wider-mouth container than you thought you'd need.

    Love,
    "Mom" :D
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    So what? The problem with a lot of people is that they're too result or outcome oriented. You have to concentrate more on the process rather than the end result. You learn this in sports a lot and I try to teach it to my kids. Don't worry about the outcome, enjoy the process. Silence your critical self. You cannot control the outcome until you're comfortable with the process.

    It sometimes bugs me to think that people sometimes practice doing something just so they can do it better but they don't enjoy doing it, all the time they're thinking that they'll enjoy doing it when they can do it better. Well, if you're practicing something and not enjoying it you're also practicing not enjoying it, capiche?

    What does it mean to you? Well, it means, in a nutshell, just do it and have fun with it. Who gives a hoot what others think.

    Kuan
     
  4. coolj

    coolj

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    I hate it when people that I work with , say 'you went to school, you should know how to do this', it's like they think culinary programs teach you everything under the sun.
     
  5. culinarian247

    culinarian247

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    Thanks 4 your support, CT'ers. CoolJ people think that because I go to culinary school that I know everything and I don't. When they see that I don't in fact know it all they sarcastically grin. For one I never said I know everything. What is up with this mentality?!?! Sometimes it seems like jealousy because I do in fact go to school. I mean what's stopping them from going? Certainly not moi. I really don't like to call people idiots but sometimes the shoe is a perfect fit.
     
  6. coolj

    coolj

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    I know exactly what you're talking about, I finished my apprenticeship two years ago and I still get that once in awhile, and just like you, I never said that I know everything there is to know.
     
  7. nick.shu

    nick.shu

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    heh, like CJ, i finished my apprenticeship 3 yrs ago, and i definitely dont know everything (never will either). Im still going to school (7th yr on the hop part time).

    Any way i digress, to put your situation in perspective, let me put this to you:

    If you make a mistake with your knife, apart from stitches etc, what are you likely to gain out of such an experience. Will you think "hmm, that was a mistake, will remember not to do that again!" because if so, that is learning.

    But the important thing to remember, is that had you not made that mistake, would you feel differently.

    No one like negative feedback. It is stressful. By the same token, if no one lets you know how you are doing, you would never know.

    Think of it as an assessment exercise, purely for the point to gain experience.
     
  8. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    The first time you are on the line cooking it will be the most scared time of your life. Once you learn your mise en place you will be hooked. Everyone of us here has fallen flat on our face on the line during a rush and it is all part of learning. I would suggest spending a few days working along side one of the other cooks and just watching.

    Don't let fear get in your way. "Embrace your fears, and they will become your strengths".
     
  9. cape chef

    cape chef

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    This is the truth and any cook will tell you the same.

    It may be a bit intimidating at first,and some may give you a hard time,but grow a thick skin and give yourself the benifit of the dought.

    I would take snippets from the posts before mine and run with it.

    Good luck.
     
  10. greg

    greg

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    Hey, I fell flat on my face a week ago, and I've been doing this for more than fifteen years. Even when you've hit a good groove cooking on the line, you can still be taken by surprise. So, as everybody has said before, no worries, just learn what you can and move on.
     
  11. leo r.

    leo r.

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    Jeff,treat any opportunity as part of the learning process.I`ve yet to meet any chef who knows absolutely everything there is to know about food!I would have great difficulty in believing them and would think that they were deluding themselves.
    As for your concerns about "falling on your face,i`m not sure about that.You have the dedication and intelligence to succeed in this business.
    I`m sure that even some of the world`s leading chefs "fell on their face" at some early point in their career.I doubt if some would be willing to admit to making mistakes.Anyone who refutes this has got to be joking!
    Don`t take the bull by the horns,grab it by the throat.:D Leo.