Friday, February 26, 2010

Eager to Learn Hits a Wall


Peanut butter powder



Today I didn't do anything interesting in the kitchen. I cooked pasta from a box and heated some Buitoni sauce and grated parmesan over the top. Later, I had a cheese plate, and am currently caramelizing onions for a pizza using Boboli crusts. My friend's potluck birthday celebration is tomorrow and I really haven't gotten excited about it. I think I want to make cupcakes. Yeah, that's now me.

It's not that I'm uninspired; I've got ideas streaming live like ticker tape across my brain. Last night, I couldn't sleep and so I spent those hours online, researching and jotting down notes and flavor profiles. Today I stayed out of the kitchen as much as possible, focusing on laundry and cleaning. For some reason, my passion has been subdued.

I recently told my dad that it takes more energy to pretend to like your job than it takes to actually do the job. It's the slow season in the industry, but that's not even the point. It's hard working for someone who either doesn't see or ignores you. The chefs don't see what you've done before, all of the hard work you've put in, setting standards and standardizing recipes for your department. They don't see beyond their own perception of you which does not include what skills you have, or what you're capable of doing. Hours of being ignored and written off can wear a person down. I put my energy in my home projects, but that seems to have taken it's toll. I'm near exhausted and broke. I want to find a better position at another establishment, but the question is, what is my next move? There's also the choice of finding a job where I can take care of financial obligations, or one where gaining knowledge and experience that will help me in my career in the long run.

I am driven by my desire to learn new things, concepts, ideas, methods, products. I pore over blogs and websites. I sent off for a sample of N-Zorbit, or Tapioca Maltodextrin to make a peanut butter powder for a dessert I made for January's dinner party. I sit in the bookstores and read books, looking at how other chefs have approached their craft. I love our reps who bring us trade magazines!

The things I'm learning and experimenting with now are not new. Powders, gels, foams, these are things that other chefs and pastry kitchens (and savory) have been doing for months and years. And just because I don't have the technology or the ingredients doesn't keep me from wanting to learn and experiment. If nothing else, it makes me want it more. I may be behind the times, but I still have the passion and drive to strive for perfection in the things that I can achieve. I know I won't give up because some day I will find that mentor I feel that I need. I'll find that place that will appreciate the fact that I want to learn and grow. They'll consider me to be an asset to their pastry shop.


Baked Chocolate Mousse, Krispy Rice base with Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate, Whipped Cream, Peanut Butter Powder

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