So, I'm watching the Food Network yesterday afternoon - taking a day of leisure, working on the computer, etc. - and "Semi-Home Cooking with Sandra Lee" was on. Now, it's not the show I usually watch and I'm not sure that is even the name of the show. The point of my story is that an amateur cook was making some sort of lemon curd cake topped with a baked meringue and Ms. Lee asked if she could taste the cake. And here is my point - the young lady with the recipe...her face lit up with expectation as she watched HER FOOD being tasted and eaten and loved and appreciated. The thing is - she knew her food was good, you could tell. She was expecting affirmnation of it's deliciousness and she got it. How cool was that! She was proud of her food and seemed to truly enjoy what she had made for someone. To be able to see the response that your guest has when you've made something incredible is vefry gratifying...hence, the proliferation of open kitchen restaurants. Of course, that architectural feature is more for the guest to see all the action, but chefs and cooks like to see people enjoying the fruits (and meats) of their labor. I especially enjoy the close interation in a private home when guests are feasting, gawking and extolling the virtues of a private chef...Cooking for a response makes you pay attention to details.
As we get one year deeper into the new millenium and the IBM population is "building a smarter planet" and CNN is alerting the American workforce that there are energy jobs available in Colorado and retirement companies hiring in Florida (can you tell I worked on the computer in front of the television...) I realized that I've never been out of a job... The food industry is 365/24/7 with a myriad of possibilities for the adventurous cook. So if you are a Culinary student heed this - as the band Green Day sings on the "Nimrod" CD and in the song "Good Riddance", "I hope you had the time of your life" - when looking at your life and your experiences, make today a learning day, enjoy it for you will be the product of your efforts and make the school experience a great time for you, "the" building block of your life.
Since I'm on the subject of Culinary School, I must give due recognition to the Apprenticeship System. Neither is better than the other - I am a product of both - yet, there are aspects of both that may be more applicable for an individual over another. What they both take is: Courage. Courage to make that first step, the result of an epiphany that led the cook to the gastronomic land of plenty. Then, with a diligent work ethic you can have the "time of your life" and then, maybe you'll have a the lifetime luxury of seeing your guests happily eating and enjoying your food... Peace.