Hello for the first time! This is Barry and I have been considering writing a blog for a while but didn't have something solid to write about on a daily basis...until now. I'm not quite sure what happened, or how it happened, but I quickly became aware of my own life in a short period of time. These last few months have given me a lot of time to reflect on my life thus far.
I work as a line cook at a restaurant in Downtown College Park (part of downtown Orlando). My chef just left for a new oppertunity and the kitchen is in a bit of disarray now. Thats a whole other story for another day. At work I have been putting out specials and they have all sold every night! Ironically, the only special that didn't sell out, was the Moussaka that I made perfectly....only sold 2....kinda funny, considering the restaurant that I work in is a "meditteranean restaurant". If you are not familiar with "Moussaka", as it turns out, it is a traditional greek dish. It is put together very similarly to lasagne with ground lamb and beef, eggplant, allspice and cinammon (makes for a sweet and savory meat sauce), and on top of that gets bechamel sauce with a couple pinches of fresh ground nutmeg dusted across the top and baked in the oven...I served it with baked red potatoes drizzled in a cool lemon cream sauce of garlic, thyme, oregano,and fresh ground black pepper, and some grilled asparagus tips. I have been trying to keep with a certain meditteranean theme every night. Our menu is fantastic. Nothing difficult to prepare really but I feel we should at least feature specials from the medditteranean region if we're not going to have anything on the menu related to our "theme".
I have stepped-up a bit at work to become more of the leader since chef has left and the staff left over is somewhat new or too inexperienced to handle the busy season coming very soon. I'm no stranger to leading and running a kitchen. I was offered Chef's position when he gave his notice, but I also attend college and the schedules will clash for sure. I am so comfortable in the kitchen. Sometimes it is all I can think about. Actually not being able to wait to go back to work to make a new dish (or new sauce that leads to a dish), is a problem for me. I would love nothing more than to take over the kitchen and be just fine with spending 60-70 hours there a week or more. I'm a perfectionist as well, especially when I'm in the kitchen.
So, in november of 2008 I was laid off from my job like millions of other americans across the country. I figured I would land some sort of job right away as a kitchen manager but that's not how it went at all. Any job opportunity I found had so much competition. A couple months went by and then a couple more months and I was just as discouraged as ever. It took an extreme toll on my relationship as well. It's a real tough battle to fight when you just cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Depression starts to sink in but you fight it back by telling yourself repeatedly that things will get better...and a couple more months roll on by, and a couple more. By this time my relationship had suffered to the point of seperation. We actually had a two bedroom house and she took the extra "guest" room. Things were going terrible for me but then I developed a new coping mechanism by thinking of the families with children starving in the street. Suddenly I didn't feel so bad.
13 months into unemployment and I have a realization. Things aren't going to get better anytime soon. I had applied to literally hundreds if not thousands of positions in this time and was getting nowhere. I decided to go to school! A great choice on my part...only slightly off the mark though. Up until today I was attending college for an accelerated 22 month program to become a registered nurse. That was my second choice but I felt it was a quite feesible one seeing how I could not obtain employment in any restaurant simply because there were no positions available and if there were, I had to compete with anywhere from 25-100 or more other applicants. Seriously!
In nursing school we were required to keep a journal of our progress in our hands-on lab. This blog will serve mainly as a journal for my new and exciting journey. I have been working in kitchens for over 15 years collectively but have never had any formal training. I always wanted to attend the world famous Le Cordon Bleu institute. I never did, only based upon the cost. Well seeing how I was going to school for the wrong reasons, I took a tour of Le Cordon Bleu the other day and I have not completely calmed down yet. I feel like it is the Harvard of cooking institutes. All I have been thinking about is recipes and recipes and writing down recipes. I used to just make things at work and never would write them down so I would have to rely upon my memory to know how to make it again. Not always the easiest thing to do whenyou wanna recreate that amazing plate from a while back and you have no written ingredients. So I will be enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu as soon as Nov 8th I hope. I don't want to wait for January. I will write about things from the past and stuff like that but I will focus on school as well with updates on recipes and whats happening at school. There are many organizations I hope to become a part of. Chef is already writing me a letter of recommendation to help with some internal scholarships and such. I hope this blog is intertaining in some form or other. I love to share my passion for cooking and the kitchen with others. There's only one even better alternative to sharing knowledge and that is actually seeing the expression of complete enjoyment in a friend, family member, or guests face when they taste your creation for the first time!