Sometime late on in the endless Chicago winter of 2006/2007, I was sitting in a gray cubicle with white noise piped in above my head when I made the decision that this was not the life I wanted to be living. I was pretty good at my job as a health insurance underwriter but I had come to loath the profession. And so, with the support and encouragement of my wife, Erin, I quit the “safety” of this world and embarked on a career change, first attending culinary school before obtaining my first kitchen job in January 2008 at a now shuttered Spanish tapas restaurant in Wicker Park.
We moved to the South in August 2008: my first job in Raleigh was at a pretend high-end restaurant, using inferior product while providing exemplary service. The experience, whilst only lasting 3 months, was one which jaded me.
Late in 2008 I switched jobs to a recently opened French brasserie, first working the raw station: shucking oysters, slicing pâté’s, assembling cheese and charcuterie boards and helping out garde manger by plating desserts. In a matter of months I would work my way up through garde manger and hot apps until I eventually arrived at fish, a station I would come to love.
In the autumn of 2009 I quite stupidly applied for a sous chef position. I say quite stupidly, because I was pretty darn happy working as a line cook at the fish station and because Erin and I had just had our first child a couple of months prior. At the same time I accepted the promotion the restaurant was experiencing some growing pains and the owners were threatening a ‘dumbing down’ of the menu. Add to that an absentee chef, the rigours of the restaurant life (long hours and low pay), and the decision to quit and become a stay-at-home dad was a pretty darn easy one.
Four years later and I couldn’t be happier with the decision we made.
Presently my culinary pursuits are mainly limited to feeding a family of four on a budget, and yet whilst this could be viewed as limiting, I essentially have the freedom to cook whatever and for the most part whenever, I want.
And so I’ve set about re-christening this blog in a sense, altering the focus slightly to what I’m cooking presently as well as what interests me in the kitchen and in the ‘food-world’ at large.
I hope you enjoy.
–October 2013, Durham NC
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” – from “Say Anything”
After 10 years working in cubicles I finally figured out that it’s not for me. Or better yet, I realized what I really want to do with my life, which as you may have guessed based on the title of my blog, is to go to culinary school with an eye to working in a kitchen in the future.
At the moment I’m trying to not get too far ahead of myself. I’m looking forward to the next year and have much to learn, though I do have some ideas as to what I’d like to be doing after school.
–April 2007, Chicago IL