. . . the sum of my career. At this point.
. . . the sum of my choices. I am the person that I am today because of them.
As I work through my day, I follow procedures based on those of chefs I've worked with, the kitchens I've worked in. My pastry education, post culinary school, is a culmination of the information those people-chefs, both savory and pastry, fellow cooks-have chosen to give to me. I understand why ingredients work the way they do because someone else learned it and taught it to me. I remember by effect, the chemical reactions between heat and ingredients, time, air, cold. When something goes wrong, I can make corrections based on this knowledge. I choose to pass this information on to the staff I now supervise, and am not afraid of not having an answer-in fact it makes me want to learn so that I can better understand and answer the next time.
I tell my staff where this information comes from. I'll say that Chef H. taught me this . . . Chef S. showed me how this works. I always give credit because that's what you do. If you're confident in your ability, the information you have won't detract from what you do if you pass it on. It makes you stronger.
I also choose to do things differently from those chefs who showed characteristics I did not admire. Working in a kitchen is far from easy, and sometimes you just work until your time is up. You dream of a better place where you can have the opportunities to learn and grow, and to work for someone who believes in you. But even though I didn't like working under that particular chef, I still learned from them. I learned what not to do. I think now, when faced with a similar situation, how can I teach someone or communicate to someone without making them feel bad about themselves?
I am a student.
I am an educator.
My relationships with my cooks is symbiotic in that we both learn from each other. For instance, I was teaching M. how to calculate a recipe based on a given. He wasn't picking it up from my explanation, so I had to figure out how to relate it to him. I asked for assistance because there are various ways that people learn and I can't give up on someone because I can't teach them another way. If anything, it goes to show that I don't believe enough in someone to try to find a way to help them.
I am a finder of solutions.
I like to solve puzzles and fix "problems." Not all solutions work, but with each elimination, I am that much closer to finding one that will.
I am who I am and it has taken me some time to feel comfortable in my skin. Finding this person has been a great experience and I'm looking forward to a long relationship with her.