Thursday, 14 June 2012

Chef in Training! (That's where I've been!)

Ahhhh..! What a busy time of year.

You may have noticed we haven't been posting on our usual weekly basis. Things have been pretty crazy exciting around here. But fun. Always fun. Recently, I was given a brilliant, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

A little bit of background: I left home at a young age, started working, and moved to the big city. Just like everyone else, I suppose! The problem is, since then - I haven't stopped working! Ever! I've been at my current job for a good few years, but prior to that - even when I changed jobs, I would just get my holidays paid out and start another job. That's what you do, once you're on the "debt" ladder - you have to keep working to keep paying your way. It's been fun, though.

It's so easy to get trapped in your cycle of get up, go to work, and to make excuses to not enjoy life, to not take the time to stop and smell the roses, or even take a holiday. Change is scary! New things are scary! We're all like rats on a wheel, running, running, running to keep things as they are, no matter how they are.

As a result of that, I had a certain (double-digit!!) number of weeks of holidays banked at work, and had never quite made a good enough reason to take them. There's always an excuse: no one to look after the cat, work is too busy, The Academic has to be at University, etc, etc. Whatever. If you want something enough, you make it happen, I know -but sometimes you need a little wake up call!

Anyway.. Along comes a brilliant (and terrifying) opportunity. I was offered a scholarship for a cooking qualification - which is the beginning and sets the groundwork for a great adventure that leaves you with the opportunity to continue on to eventually become a qualified chef. A qualified chef! I love to cook! And to eat, and share wonderful food. This has always been my (not-so) secret passion.

So after years of not being able to afford to take holidays and do further training, along comes an opportunity to get an expensive qualification, do something I love, while on holidays from the 9-5 daily grind, and have an awesome time. All expenses paid - tuition, scholarship, textbooks, uniforms, insurance for work-experience - everything!

On my first day - can you tell I'm terrified, exhausted and excited?
So that's what I've been doing. I've left the office to take 7 weeks leave, and I'm roaming free. We actually get to see the sun! Sometimes, when we're doing theory, we sit outside. I've even awakened long-forgotten skills, like -how to learn, and how to use a pen! (there's almost no need for that in an office). I haven't turned a computer on or answered a landline phone this entire time! AND I LOVE IT!!! IT'S BLISS! I spend *hours* standing up! Even just little things - like the fact I now spend 40 minutes in a car a day, so I can spend time listening to new music on my awesome speakers!

I'm learning to cook the classical way. No more of me just relying on taste, and making everything once. No more even just following recipes word for word. This is a world where presentation, and knife skills matter. Where you julienne, macedoine, paysanne, jardiniere and brunoise your way to the top of the culinary ladder. Where you repeat things over and over again until you make the *perfectly*. Where you have to think with your tastebuds, adjust, and taste constantly.

I'm not going to say it's been easy - I only ever really started cooking as a vegan, so it's been quite a learning curve, to say the least. But gosh, has it been fabulous. I want to go through the hard yards to understand and learn the classic french techniques, to get my skills upgraded and a good foundation built. With my eyes firmly fixed on the horizon - to inform and improve my vegan cooking skills, so that I can know more, and share what I've learned.

And for the first time in my life, I've figured out what I'm born to do. What my passion is. And I'm ever so grateful to everyone I've ever met, who has influenced my direction, and kept me alive and happy enough to get to where I am today.

Thanks for being part of my life, and always, for reading our blog - hearing what inspires us, and bouncing things back to us. I'm so grateful for everyone who shares and inspires me.


  1. You look cutes in your chefs whites, thats what they are called, yeah?

    So awesome that you are following your dreams!

  2. good luck - we need more vegan chefs in this world! am curious if your course is about just cooking vegan or also cooking meat too

  3. I think it's fantastic that you were offered a chance to follow your dreams — and had the courage to do it. It sounds like a challenging and nourishing opportunity. Enjoy it.

  4. Here I was following you on Twitter when you all along had a blog!
    I couldn’t have said it better, it’s a shame most people don’t break the cycle and follow their dreams, no matter how happy/miserable the routine makes them.
    You’re so lucky to have the experience, what an opportunity! I would love to have the chance to go to culinary school….who knows maybe someday.


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