Friday, December 11, 2009

The obligatory month update?

Yeah, I rarely post, I suck. ha.

But my life hasn't been exciting lately. Theres only so much I can write about my less than exciting school life other than the fact that I'm essentiall done with all my required classes.

I only have to take one more class for the required 240 hrs Co-Op work experience required by the state of Michigan. Which was part of the reason why I was checking out NYC. Unfortunately THAT fell through due to the cost of living out there (even with living with my relatives it would've been crazy).

On that note I had an interview at what probably is the best place in Grand Rapids to work at. Like most places I worked that I mention in the blog it will stay unnamed. But it's pretty much the only 4 Diamond Hotel group in Grand Rapids. I had my first interview with the HR guy of the hotel group last week. And then tomorrow I have a second interview with the chef of the hotel the job is at. So thats exciting, yet also intimidating.

The more I crash and burn, the more I have a slight fear of failure. On the one hand I like it because it pushes me to work my hardest, yet I'd just like to be able to work and not worry that things are going FUBAR and they'll let me go. Just once I'd like to be able to have someone fully willing to push me to be the best I can.

Luckily its a pretty entry level job. I'd pretty much be one of the cooks who cook for the staff, and then help with banquets when needed. So on the one hand I don't think there'd be near as much pressure on me as if I was working in one of the restaurants, but I'm still going to be learning to cook the same quality stuff. And the HR guy said, that its also one of those things that if we get caught up and cleaned up that its very easy for me to get cross trained. So we'll see how that goes.

On another note: a few blog entries ago I talked about trying to eat/drink healthier. I'm slowly making progress. Trying to give up pop is harder than I thought. I'm kind of trying to take it in steps. First by cutting out Mountain Dew (again) then slowly cutting out the rest of the pop. So we'll see.

Eating wise is kind of harder. I don't have the inclination or need really to find out what's healthy. I spend so much of my life being a picky eater and now that I'm starting to like more foods I tend to eat/cook whatever I like and want. I'm too busy enjoying eating to care. ha. So we'll see.

Hope to have updates on the work situation soon

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Dear everyone who still checks this occasionally,

sorry I suck at updating this. With the lack of anything interesting to write about I'd been neglecting this. :(


Long story short, my online friend/culinary inspiration/psuedo-mentor Steve Mendoza (look him up on facbook/myspace) is the Executive Chef of a restaurant called Las Chicas Locas, a while back I inquired about the possibility of interning with him. He said he'd be open to it and discussion began. My parents being my parents, had the obvious concerns about me going out so they said they would be more open to it if I were to go out for a few days to work and what not.

So now here I go. I have relatives that live in North Haledon, NJ which is about 45 min away from the city. So I'm staying with them this weekend (and will also be staying with them for the internship). I'm flying out tomorrow. Thurs I'm just taking it easy and checking a few things out around their house and then Friday and Saturday I'm working.

Due to my recent past experiences with restaurant work I'm slightly nervous, but at the same time I'm excited. Steve is familar with crash and burn experiences and my general lack of experience so he knows what to expect.

Unfortunately I won't have time to hit up anything else in town. But I suppose that gives me something to look forward to when/if I do move out there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Being healthier

So I have a new goal right now. To be a little bit more healthier in the way I eat/drink/whatever.

My parents keep getting on my case about being more healthier and excercising more; and since god knows I probably won't be going to work out on a regular basis anytime soon I figured I should work on my eating habits.

The first is to try and almost totally cut pop (or soda) out. As some people know I've managed to almost quell my desire for Mountain Dew. I gave in a few weeks ago, but thats mostly because I let one of my room mate Zigs' friends borrow Season 4 of Lost on DVD and she bought me a 6 pack as thanks. I figure if I can do it for Mountain Dew, then I can do it for the rest of the pop world. I rarely have pop at home anymore. All I have is Lemonade and Water (and being the typical upper 20 male: beer). School is the hard part. I've been bringing a water bottle to school (let me say that being a culinary student makes it easy to almost always have ice watter) but I still give in a bit. In the grand scheme of things, I think I'll still drink pop when I go out. But for the most part I want to cut it all out.

Eating is another story. I don't think I've been eating that healthy. Actually let me rephrase that. In terms of the fact that I don't eat alot of sweets I do okay. In terms of the fact that I havn't been eating the most balanced of diets in terms of getting all of my food groups I've been sucking. Lately my goal has been to eat more veggies which I've been doing a good job at. The last couple times I've gotten groceries I've stocked up. I even have given in and gotten canned peas.

Also I've been trying to eat three meals a day. My mom says something about how eventually that will help my metabolism. So I've been trying to have a semi-set schedule. I bought cereal and milk and have scarfing down a bowl or two before school. AT school is kind of up in the air. Thankfully Tues-Thurs I have Art and Bev's to go to (aka the cafe type setting that a class runs) and then Dinner I try to make something at home. So we'll see how that works out.

While I may not be running in a path that will cause me to lose alot of weight right off the bat, I would like to hope that I'm eating in a more healthy manner. And to at least get as much of this healthy manner in before I run full blast into working in the food industry and fuck it all up. heh.

So we'll see how it goes

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wow. Didn't see that coming

I have now lost two restaurant jobs because of my lack of experience. Long story short I went into work at Wildfire on Wednesday. Chef Ray pulled me aside and pretty much said he had to let me go. I guess they got a bit over zealous in hiring and due to my lack of experience they didn't want to always have to stop to instruct me. Ray actually said he tried to talk them into keeping me, but Chef Jim (Who's actually the executive chef, Ray was the Executive Sous Chef) told him to let me go.

Its a bummer. Especially since I didn't even have time to screw anything up this time. heh. Even though I didn't see it coming, I'm not fully surprised. There was actually a little voice in the back of my head telling me to look out for it. But I had hope this time would be different. IF anything I'm bummed at not getting the opportunity to work under some knowledgeable chefs.

But I'll live, I've worked in this business long enough to know you can't take things personally and that you just have to pick yourself up, wipe yourself off and then continue on. Everybody who I've talked to in depthly about this who's familiar with the business has said its happened to them. And Chef Dunn even went on to say that occasionally Chef's ego's get too inflated and they forget that once upon a time they were the guy with no experience needing someone to teach and mentor them.

Which brings me to my next point. As a bit of a result of this I came to appreciate even more those people in the industry who I admire. No, not the Bourdain's and the Symon's of the world (who I still do admire). But the ones like Chef Dunn, and Chef Whitman, and my often mentioned online friend Chef Steve out in NYC. The ones who are there willing to give advice and will let me bounce thoughts of them. In an industry that is all about having a mentors and/or people to look up to, those are the type of people who you don't want to take for granted.

And on a brighter note with all this. I may have actually put the wheels in motion for a possibile internship after I graduate. But thats all i'm going to say about it until I get more of my ducks in a row and deal with all the odds and ends it would entail to get things figured out.

Monday, September 14, 2009


So I think I know whats its like to have a job you love. Or maybe its just the fact that I don't really want to work in a retirement home anymore. (no offense to anyone from the Square who may see this, but it's always been my goal to get back to working in restaurants.)

Seriously, I'm bummed out that I don't get to work at the Grille again till Wednesday.

I sent an email to Chef Ray giving him my school schedule (and the one day a week i'm still working at the Square) so he would know my exact availability and more or less said I'm willing to come in whenever he needs me if I'm not at school or work.

While I am totally aware of the fact that I may not become the next big Rockstar chef, I'm totally at a point where I want to just learn as much as I can and just work as much as possible. Like I said the other day, I'm not trying to make too much a big of deal that I'm working for someone who used to work for Thomas Keller. It would be too easy for someone in a similar predicament to get a big head about it. But this is one of those moments I'm staying humble about and appreciating for the experience it brings.

I'm all for using opportunities like this and for knowing someone like my online-friend Steve Mendoza who is now the Executive Chef at Lac Chicas Locas to gain more opportunities in the future. Its also something that I can't take for granted. Once again I'm now thankful that I have a mentor/friend in Steve and will hopefully have a mentor in Chef Ray who are both humble and willing to help and give advice.

A far step up from previous places I've worked (*cough*Graydon's*cough*)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Holy Shit moment #1 + the new job

This past week I've had a couple Holy Shit moments. This covers the first one and since it has to do with the new job I can tie the two together.

Work at the Grille has been okay so far. I haven't really done much. I mean, we're not open yet so in retrospect there's not much prep work that needs to be done. Scratch that. This past Tuesday was a practice day for both servers and cooks so some food got cooked, Wednesday was "Friends and Family night" then we had VIP events Thursday and Friday. So yeah food did get cooked, but not in the quantities that they will get cooked once the Grille opens. So even though I did go in, there wasn't much to do by the time I got there. Which brings up a scary flashback to Graydon's of me exasperatedly standing around being told to find something to do and not knowing what.

The bright side of that is Chef Ray totally picked up that I have a bit of a deer in headlights complex with being there. I mean I made it clear I haven't worked in a restaurant in about 3 years. Likewise he also realized that for about 3 days he had me come in when there's been nothing to do and I think he did feel kind of bad. So he promises I'll get more hours when we get busier.

Otherwise the people I work with seem to be pretty nice. Ironically despite being a prep cook I've mostly worked nights and have started to get to know the night time guys. Although I think my normal hours are supposed to be mornings on the weekends and then one night a week. So its going to be a bummer not getting to work with them as much (although I'm sure the daytime crew is pretty cool too.) So yeah, that's that.

The holy shit moment came when we were having a little kitchen meeting before working on my first day. Both Chef Jim (the executive chef) and Chef Ray (who I thought was the Executive chef, but I guess isn't) were both talking about what places they worked and their history and what not. But anyway, Chef Jim has mostly done corporate chef jobs but has more prominently done work at the McCormick Place and the Sears Tower at Chicago. According to him, nothing beats doing a 3 banquets for like a million people in 24 hours. Chef Ray, has previously worked up at Tapawingo in the Northern part of Michigan. But here's the kicker, in the past he's also worked at Trio under Grant Achatz and at the French Laundry. Seriously, it can't get more epic than that. I mean despite what you think about the restaurants, those are like two of the most highly acclaimed chef's in the country. And my boss used to work for them.

At first I had a bit of a breakdown. I mean, here I am, a person who to all extents and purposes isn't very experienced. And I got a job at what if probably going to be Grand Rapids next best restaurant. But then it hit me something that was said at orientation. That we were hired just as much for our personalities as we were for our experience. So if Chef Ray saw potential in me, then who am I to doubt it. I have my chance, now I just have to work my ass off so I don't fuck it up.

Cheers to that.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Change is coming, but not the change I expected!

So wow.

I need to re-do my last post. So the changes with my car were a precursor to a big change in my life. But the change wasn't moving home. The change was getting a new job!

Long story short, I've been emailing teachers on and off all summer asking if they knew of jobs. A few weeks ago one emailed me back about a restaurant which I will refer to in the blog as "The Grille" that was opening up. So naturally I sent in my resume. Where upon I got called in for an interview.

I felt good about I handled myself. For the life of me I can't remember what he asked me, but we talked some about my experience and about how I want to get back in restaurants and push myself to learn more. And some about what the restaurant is going to be like. And then much like my interview at The Square I got a tinglely feeling at a certain point which made me have a good feeling. Close to the end he was like "well I have to interview a few more people, but I think you'll be a good fit. I like teaching people and helping them reach their potential. So if I hire you I'll probably start you at prep cook"

I may not know much, but I know if they give you the "I think you'll be a good fit" talk then they're heavily leaning towards you. So I left feeling good. Chef Ray (my boss to be) seemed like a nice guy. Like me he is kind of soft spoken. And like me he is awkward as hell talking on the phone. But yeah I felt great about it. And sure enough I got called two days later and got offered the job.

Orientation is this Thursday and then I'll find my schedule from there. But I know that my main days are going to be Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings and then one night a week. I have NO clue how I'm going to balance school, work at the Grille and work at the Square togther. But I'll figure something out.

So here's hoping I don't crash and burn like Graydons. I know it will be a great learning experience for me. And I hopefully will get the chance to write some interesting things about it. Who knows, I may get pictures to post.

Oh and on another happy note, I'm stayin in GR now too. Although that was decided on before I got the job.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blown fuses and broken axels

So it seems that everytime something big happens in my life, something happens to my car.

I bought my old one shortly before my original stint in prep cooking.

I finished paying it off shortly before I started at Mark Maker

I replaced the brakes the first time shortly before moving into Matt's

I got the mirror fixed after having it be held on by electricians tape shortly before moving in with my sister.

The brakes got fixed a second time shortly before moving in with Zigs.*

and now it stopped working on the cusp of my final year of school**

Funny now things worked.

On the bright side, I found a new car yesterday. A Friend of my mom's works with a used car company. Kind of like a middle man. He finds customers to buy cars from the used lot. And then he's the ones who tracks down the "perfect" car for the customers. We've gotten my last car, my sisters last 2, and my mom's last 2 through him. So I trust him

The downside to all this is in light of not having a full time job I have to move back home. On the one hand I'm bummed cause I like living with Zigs. But on the other hand I think its kind of a good move. I get to focus more on school now, and less on worrying about rent or utilities.

And due to not having to buy my own I get to worry less about the cost of groceries (well kinda) and more on cooking.

I love to cook. I'm discovering its seems to sooth me and put me in a good mood.

Even when I was line cooking at Carrabba's or New Holland and even getting my ass handed to me at Graydon's it seemed all my worries went away.

I like cooking, I like learning about different cuisines, I like eating, I hope to be able to travel in the future. I just like having something I feel good about.

And despite sucking at it, I love writing about it.

So here's to a new car.
Here's to the beginning of a new chapter in life
Here's to eating
and here's to writing


* I'm not sure if those things happend exactly around those times. But I like to think they did

** I still claim my car didn't die. For some reason it didn't start. The good samaritan who tried to help me jump it used to be a mechanic and checked what he could out (considering he didn't have any tools) and theorized it could've been either the ignition fuses or the starter. Considering that my entire rear axel and shocks were well....shot, it totally wasn't worth it to get fixed. Figures. Hope the new car can last as long

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Counting the days!

So MJ's funeral was yesterday and now I'm counting the days untill people stop acting like the world is going to end because he died. Don't get me wrong, I respected the fact he was a decent musician with a bunch of creative ideas. I respect the fact that for the most part he was a big influence on African American culture. And I am sad that he died.....just like I'm sad that all other dozen or so people who died last week died. Otherwise I'm like "oh well"

It might just be me but I never get why people make a such big deal about celebrities. I mean yeah they're cool and all, and they may be great actors/musicians/athletes/chef's/reality stars who are only known for being douches/whatever, but I still don't get why people go crazy and run around saying they want to have the celebrities babies and marry them (etc, etc).

This would be the point where someone may be prone to pointing out my semi-obsessiong with Tony Bourdain. Then thing with Bourdain is that I've pretty much admitted that if I were to hang out with him I'd probably get him to hook us (and out entourage) up with decent seats and meal at one of his friends restaurants, then find some dive bar to go to with a "crappy" punk band and drink all night. You know, hanging out doing normal people things, talking about normal people things (well as normal as a guy who travels around the world can be). People seem to forget that celebs are regular people (well not reality TV stars.....they're just dumb) and probably want to hang out and do regular people things.

So all in all, MJ dying is sad. But its nothing to lose sleep over. Besides, I doubt people are going to be running around crying as much in 2 weeks. go figure

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Adventures in eating Sushi

So I once read an article, or maybe it was a blog entry by Anthony Bourdain. In it he talks about how he places bets with the members of his production staff (especially new ones) about when the first person is going to get sick on any given shoot for an episode of No Reservations (well they do it when in other countries). 99% of the time Tony picks the breakfast buffet at the hotel because, as he so bluntly points out, you can't always trust that food and you shouldn't eat food you can't trust. Almost every time a member of the production crew eats the hotel breakfast buffet and sure enough they get sick.

Last week, I totally disregarded that word of advice and I paid for it dearly. For a while I had a bit of a craving for sushi. I have no clue how that craving started because I've only had sushi once back in November. But I had a craving nonetheless. My forary into eating Sushi here in Grand Rapids started out fine enough. I mentioned my craving to one of my friends who I went to Culinary school with the first time, and she mentioned that Jonny's Cafe at Calvin College (where she works) had a sushi bar on Tuesdays and that its pretty authentic. So a week or so later, I finally made it in (it probably helped that it was 90 degrees that day and hanging out in A/C is always a good thing). I had sushi and it kicked ass. I'm totally going again when I have a chance.

Needless to say, that is not what made me sick. What made me sick is two days later I was at the grocery store getting something to eat for dinner. I saw the grocery store made sushi and got a small bit of desire to buy it. A little voice in the back of my head was saying "don't do it, you know you want Potato Wedges instead!" a little voice which I then told to "fuck off" (bad decision). I bought the sushi, took it home and scarfed it down. And I seemed fine.

The next day I felt off. One of the classes I'm taking is bowling. Normally I can break 100 and even make it up to 120. (and today I got 143) But I was sucking due to feeling totally out of it. After class I met my dad for lunch and my trademark appetite seemed to be missing. After lunch I went to my aunts house to hang out (god bless A/C). Eventually I told her I was feeling like crap and upon mentioning I felt like I almost had to puke she said that making myself puke might help me feel better.

Thust started a 30 minute ordeal which has probably been the worst 30 minutes for me in the past 19 years. Seriously kids, I don't get sick and when I have puked, its because I've drank too much. After I finally felt I couldn't puke anymore, I grabbed an empty trash can and told her I was taking a nap and plopped down in my cousins bed. Naturally I woke up feeling much better.

Its funny though cause I tell people that story and the unadventerous ones always snarkily ask me "I bet you aren't going to be eating sushi anytime soon?" and its like "why not?" I'm not letting one bad experience turn me off. I ate bad food, I puked, it happens. I'd much rather be adventerous and puke than sit at home eating crappy fast food.

I seem to have the impecable luck of being an adventerous picky eater. I want to try a ton of stuff yet there are still things I won't eat. Despite that I have no learned an important lesson. No more eating food that can make you sick if its not being made someplace trustworthy

Monday, June 1, 2009

Old Memories and the journey from now to then

So for the first time in ages I've listened to the Ataris (the pop-punk/rock band). I don't know what compelled me to listen to them, but I did. For those of you who don't know, I some what credit them for getting me into most the bands I'm into now. I forgot how I orginally got into the Ataris, but for the longest time I wanted to see them and would always see when they were comining close to little old Holland, MI. They never really did, but I would pay attention to who they toured with, sometimes I like the bands, sometimes I didn't. During these inquiries into who they associated themselves with, I discovered a little label you may know as Fat Wreck. And inevitibly I fell in love with NOFX, No Use for a Name and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. And now I was following four bands, which led to the Epitaph bands and so on. But the Ataris have always been one of the first I "discovered" (after Blink 182 which I didn't so much discover as I did hear Whats My age again? over and over).

Eventually I saw them back in 2004 shortly before I moved to Lansing which is when I slightly soured to them. I had met up with my friends Ben, Brittany, Robert and later Jim (all whom I met off the Ataris Message Board...ha)(I had previously met Ben when his band played in GR) for the show. Brittany and Robert has been to a whole slew of the Ataris mid west shows and had met most the band and the crew and found out where there bus was which is where we headed after the show. And we pretty much got snubbed by the band. Mike, The bass player had already come and gone, Chris, the drummer stopped long enough to thank Ben for saying the show was good, Kris, the lead singer/gutarist walked by grumbling something, and then finally John, the other guitarist came out. He recognized Brittany and Rob and stopped to talk for a bit, and thanked us all for coming. Which made my night. I was bummed about the rest of the band and like I said, it kind of slightly soured the experience for me. Later I had found out that a few things had gone wrong that day and they were ALL just in a crummy mood. So for a while I was just kind of bleh. And things didn't get better when they released their nex cd. I didn't really like it as much and thats when I kind of stopped listening to them.

But today, I randomly decided to listen to them on my Ipod which brought me back to to that show almost 5 years ago. The Timmy back then was so clueless as to what he wanted to do or even what he had to do when he got there. Here we are 5 years later. The end of my college career is in sight and the options are plentiful from there. I have some ideas, I have some goals, but it goes to show how things can change. I'm happy with how things turned out. Part of me wishes I would've stuck with culinary school back in the day, but at the same time I don't think I was at the right time in my life to deal with at. With all the stuff I've dealt with since then like Aspergers and all the crashing and burning and more or less maturing, I think I'm much better prepared to deal with stuff now.

(on a bright note, word on the street is that the next Ataris CD is supposed to be a step back in the right direction.ha)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Future Goals

Once again I havn't posted in a while. But I think thats okay, I'm trying not to make this a blog posting random stuff about nothing....thats what my myspace blog is for.

One of my younger cousins just graduated from college out in CA and my aunt and uncle went out there. For a while now, my cousin seems to freaking out because she didn't know what see was going to do afterwords, but at the same time hasn't been really looking into anything. I mean, okay, so you've come to the conclusion you're not really into what you just went to college for, but since you spent all that money on it you should probably look into doing SOMETHING. Now I guess she's going to Denver to live with a friend and to learn how to sew. Which on the one hand is totally awesome. Having a hobby like that would be pretty cool. BUT she still has no plan what to do after that.

And here's where the main catalyst for this post happens. My Aunt Sally turned around and asked me what I planned on doing when I graduated. (which could be in December or it could be in May...long story). I replied that I wasn't totally sure, but that I'd hope to have those wheels start spinning soon. Weather I know what I'm going to do or not, I have ideas, and dreams and hopes. And places I would like to go. If anything, its the fact that theres too many chocies for me to make a decision.

As for the things I'd like to accomplish, well its nothing grand. I have no big delusions of granduer or anything. As long as I can succeed in what I'm doing and don't crash and burn I'll be content. With that in mind, who DOESN'T want to get somesort of recognition? I would hope not to fade into obscurity. Who knows.

The big thing for me is the "WHERE." All I know is I want to to get out of Grand Crapids. I mean, its a good town but the options for food industry sucks right now. And I'm SOOO ready for a change of scenery. I've pretty much narrowed it down to one of the smaller big cities in America, or maybe somewhere in another country. See, its too hard to decide. The problem with moving to another country is that it will pretty much mean leaving EVERYONE behind. And I'm not sure if I want to do that. Moving across the country is one thing, but across the ocean, thats another. I wouldn't want to get held back over something as simple as missing friends, but I need some sort of support system where ever I go. Decisions, decisions.

I guess maybe this isn't as simple of a thing as I thought. I guess I've come to the conclusion that if anything, looking into the future is scary. Fascinating

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

End of the Semester!

So I finished the semester last week and with the exception of work (and some yard work for the parents), I've spent the past 5 days doing nothing. I'm really at a loss at what to write right now. Pretty much it came down to copying and pasting the Facebook note I wrote about the Blind Basket or my obsevation on Flay and Bourdain. I figured that I would re-post the Blind Baskte on to shed some closure on all the posts I'd made about school.


for those of you who don't know I had my practical exam last night. It was hectic and kinda stressful and exhilarating and exciting all at the same time.

It was like an episode of Chopped (kinda). We go in, Cheff Dunn gives us our items that we have no idea of what they are ahead of time and then are let loose. It went great. I probably could've worked cleaner and been more organized. But thats me. My whole life is perpetually slightly untidy so yeah.

Our items were 1 chicken breast, 1 duck breast, a fillet of fish (I totally forgot what kind it was), 2 grains from the grain cart and half a tomato (they were left over from the graduation dinner and chef wanted to get rid of them I guess). And at least an ounce of cheese.

For my soup I ended up doing the Vegan Miso soup like I did last time. I didn't see any leeks in the walk in when I first ran in (my original idea was to do vicyssoise), so I figured why mess with a good thing. IT wasn't until I had gotten well underway with it that I went in the walk in looking for cucumbers for the original plan for my salad that I saw leeks and got kind of mad at myself for missing them. But it happens. Regardless, I knocked out the soup but didn't really do a garnish other than chopped chives (most which splashed out en route to chef :(.

My salad I ended up doing a duck salad. I chopped up the tomato to serve as the base. then put mixed greens in a red wine vinagerette. I origininally was going to smoke the duck breast but I kinda lit the smoker on fire. No seriously, I opened it up and there was a small little fire down by the wood chips. Luckily for me, one of the adujunct staff members was in the kitchen putting together a hoers douveres menu and she helped me put it out (so to my knowledge chef never found out). In stead I ended up slicing the duck meat and sauteeing it then putting it on the salad and grated the cheese on top.

My appetizer I wasn't happy with. I grilled the chicken, sliced it and then cooked the polenta and put it in a small cup. Not very inspiring. bleh.

My entree I was real happy with. I cooked rice for my starch. Sauteed the fish, then made a veloute sauce and put it over the fish. Then I sauteed (and slightly burnt) asparagus.

For my soup he said that the miso soups are normally garnished with black soy beans, or seaweed, but otherwise the soup itself was MUCH better than the practice. My salad he said he liked and that I redeemed myself with my dressing. The chicken and polenta tasted good. He agreeed with me to do a different presentation, to which I pointed out that if I were to do it again I'd probably incorperate the tomatoes in there somehow. The entree he liked. My fish was slightly over cooked, and he liked the veloute. But went on to point out that one of the faults that they as teachers made was that they taught us how to make it, but didn't teach us how to use it. And that most chefs would use it to make another sauce. So yeah, that wasn't my fault.

Oh and then we were supposed to tourne two potatoes but I totally forgot. Oops heh.

All in all I was happy with things (except the appetizer). Chef thought they tasted good and said that since the practice Blind Basket I improved the most!


Overall I was happy with how I did, and how much I improved. Also afterwards I think I bonded a little more with some of my classmates. After he tasted our food we were able to go into the dining room and eat it. And seriously, the 10 or so minutes I was in there eating just shooting the shit with my classmates was probably one of the more entertaining 10 minutes of the quarter. Seriously if this is what my future holds as far as the socializing aspects are concerned (eating and conversing with other cooks/chefs) then I'm totally pumped for this business.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Life continues on

Where to begin, where to begin?

Well, its the end of the third week of service and things are alright. I'm feelng slightly more confident about myself when it come to cooking so I suppose thats a good thing. Now all that needs to be done is to find a job. ha.

This week Devers and I were on the prep station. Like the name pretty much implies, we prepped stuff for other stations when needed. ALSO, we made an amuse bouche. We havn't been ambtious as people have been some weeks (I.E. the last two groups made a new one every day. We ran the same one Tuesday and Wednesday, and then switched last night), but we knocked out some good ones. Hell, anything that gets me to eat a cucumber has got to be good.

Last night I was on my own, Devers had a hot date, and it went great. Granted Devers had tasked a few other people in class to make sure I didn't totaly crash and burn, but I was pretty independent all night. And I make a pretty damn good amuse bouche. ha. It was also a pretty interesing night due to the absence of Chef Dunn (as well as Miss Heckwell, the Advanced Table Service instructor). I can't remember where either of them were, BUT to subsitute for them we had Chef Angus and Mr. Schultz, the morning Heritage instructors.

As many of my friends know, I totally look up to Chef Angus, ALOT. So it was a big thrill to have him teaching. Things went pretty well. The fun part of the night was when we got the inevitable quickfire. People were certain we wouldn't get one this week due to Chef Dunn being gone. But we got one. Angus did his a little different. With the help of the sous chefs he gathered enough tomatos for each person to have one, then gathered avacados for each person to get a half. Then measured out a half a cup of olive oil for everyone. Then he explained that that was all we'd get along with ONE citrus fruit and one type of herb. Only in the initial rush for the items all the oil got knocked off the table. So in the midst of cleaning it up, Angus seperated all the items and then section by section told us to get our avacado's and tomatos and herbs. And then someone randomly passed out the fruits. I got a lime. Overall I did okay. He liked my presntation, but I didn't win. Oh well. It happens.

With the exception of Advanced Food Production, I'm just ready for school to be done with for the semester. I'm seriously getting mentally worn out and kind of just need a breather. bleh.
Thats life. I've officially decided that once I graduate in Decemeber regardless of what I do, I'm seriously taking like a week long break, sleeping in every day, watching movies, reading, whatever.

Noteable Quotes:

"Chef Dunn said you were a great class. It really means alot if a second year advanced cooking lab says you're a great class."
~Chef Angus, shortly before the quickfire

"So much for being a great class"
~Amber after the oil got knocked over

"Wow, you can sure tell pasta was on sale?"
~me on my food cupboard

"Hey, want to see some chef porn?
~me to Jake on the article in Bon Appetit about the outdoor kitchens

"Good job tonight"
"I don't think we did well"
"Didn't you win?"
"No we got alot"
"oh yeah, oops wrong team. Sorry"
~My semi drunk ass to a member of the Bleeding Heartland rollergirls

"For what its worth, I never actually pay atention to the score. Especially when I'm scorekeeping multiple games"
~My semi legitimate defense at kinda being a dick

"This is good if I can make myself forget I'm eating a cucumber"
~Me on our amuse

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The new term

So like I've explained before, the culinary classes only run half the semester so shortly before Spring Break (or the Thursday before) I started Advanced Food Production. For those who don't know, Advanced Food Production runs the the kitchen for the Heritage (the on campus restaurant) at night. The Thurs and Fri before break, and then Mon through Weds this week we did prep, but tonight (Thurs) was our first day of service.

To rewind for a bit, the class is really intense. Along with cooking for the restaurant, Chef Dunn does try to teach us stuff when possible. Chef is a vegan, but he doesn't have any alterior motives of trying to make us see his view. If anything he does try to get us to understand where our food comes from and how it gets there. Like wise our homework is to visit a bunch of informational links and write about them, and also to post thoughts (and responses to other peoples thoughts) . So yeah, its pretty nice

So tonight was our first night of service and it went alright. For the most part I let Devers (Adam my station partner) take lead and I just helped him. Due to the lack of actual restaurant experience I'm still kind of shakey and not too sure of myself. But I'm sure to pick it up. We really only messed up once and that was due to the expeditor mis calling something.

Anyway, at the end of the class Chef called a demo. Now let me rewind for a bit. The first day of class he mentioned everynow and then (or at least once a week) he calls something called a quickfire. Long story short, in a quickfire he'll have you make an appetizer of your choice. Most times if he has alot extra of something he'll have you use that as the main part of it. So when he called the demo we all started to suspect something. When I made it back to the table I noticed he was fiddling with something so right then and there I took a step towards the walk in. Then he called it. Luckily for us all we had to do was make any appetizer and then only thing we were limited by was that we couldn't use anything already prepped.

My proximity to the cooler made me one of the first people in. After I cleared my head for a few seconds (and the rest of the class caught up with the 4 of us who made it in first, I grabbed mushrooms, garlic and red pepper. I left the walk in to avoid the mad rush and realized I had NO CLUE what I wanted to do. I then grabbed some yukon potatoes and decided to make roasted potatoes only I was worried about time. I minced the garlic and took some oil and let it sweat in a sauce pan. Then chopped up the peppers and cut the potatoes into chunks and threw it all in an oven. The rest of the time is a blur, but I do remember the Advanced Table Service class AND the dishwashers AND a few of the banquets class getting a kick of watching us all run around like chickens with our heads cut off. Overall mine turned out okay. It didn't win, but chef thought it worked to an extent. Crazyness.

So yeah, now I'm home. HAvn't really done much I think Zigs is off playing basketball who knows. I should take a shower. blah.

Random quotes heard lately:

"Olives are like sex, if you don't like them you havn't tried enough kinds"
~ Chef Dunn

"Pretty much I grabbed the first three things I could think of, ran out of the walk in, grabbed my knives and thought 'now what the fuck am I supposed to do?"
~me on the quickfire

"You're single right?"
"ah, you must enjoy it right here getting to check out all the girls"
~Kim and me on what I allegedly will enjoy about being on the front line

"So you never put two and two together as to why I spent so much of my free time in Banquets down by table 1 and 2. All the girls were down there"
~Me on Kim's realization

"Front line, can you hear me? Its me God!"
"Please have mercy on me for not giving any money to the homeles dude!
~Chef testing out the microphone and my response

"I'm fine with having no toliet paper if it means you don't get to take any 30 minute craps"
~Zigs on wether or not we need toilet paper

Spring Break

Hot Damn....thats all I can say about the past two weeks. Spring Break was a whole lot of nothing. I was too broke and too lazy to do much of anything other than stay home and watch TV all week. Surprinsingly as much as I like going out, it was kind of peaceful. G-spot went on a cruise so me and Zigs took it easy. And by "take it easy" I mean played lots of Rock Band. Zigs has been challenging me to move from Hard to Expert. So far I've only succeded in doing that with bass. But it works.

But on to what you all should really care trip to Petoskey. The drive up was pretty good. Nothin eventful, although there was just kind of a WTF feeling when US 131 stopped being a freeway. The past hour and a half or so was going back and forth betwee 60 mph and 35mph. Bleh

But the visits were fun. Friday afternoon I made it to Walloon Lake and met a little with Golan, the sous chef there. Mark (the executive chef who I had interveiwed with) was on a trip to Napa Valley so he set me up to meet with Golan. Golan just showed me around the country club and then explained what they do. A plus thing for me is that the two spots they're hiring for would be good for someone with minimal experience like me. Also both Golan and Mark are pretty good at accepting reccomendations from the cooks on possible items to make which ALSO works good for me since I seem to have 10 million ideas floating around my head. I guess it was left at that Mark is going to call me when he gets back and either we'll set up a meeting or talk on the phone.

Afterwards I went to my hotel, checked in and then explored town some. Kind of reminds me of Grand Haven with the "quaint little town on the lake feel."

The following morning I made my way to Bay Harbor Yacht Club to do a stage. That was actually pretty fun. This summer they're catering a wedding with an Indian (as in the country India) theme so they were working on recipes for that. So I helped with a few while they took care of lunch orders and then we tried some. That ended up being most the afternoon and then at the end I got the request that I knew would cement my fate. Dan asked me to make two different types of eggs of my choice. And then I shot myself in the foot by saying I only knew how to make scrambled and Hard boiled. To which the line cook standing next to me said "you shouldn't have said that." So Dan said, well make those and then try something else. I seemingly did okay, but I wasn't really happy with it.

Afterwards Dan pulled me in his office and we talked. Overall he said that he like my work habits of cleaning up after myself and that I worked well with others. But overall he didn't think I'd fit in there due to my lack of experience. He said that while I'd do okay that he wanted me to have an experience that I'd succeced and feel well about and that working up there for the summer probably wouldn't provide that. Mostly cause they go from being slow to getting their butts kicked in the cours of 3 days.

So yeah, it sucks. But I understood. Walloon Lake is still an option so when I talk to Mark I'll bring that up. The whole flip side to leaving GR for the summer is that if I stay, I can take summer classes and then be done by this December and explore my options then.

So yeah, that was spring break. My new lab started this week, and its intense, BUT I'll write about that later

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm alive!!

I don't know if anybody reads this. If so they've probably thought I've abandoned it. ha.

Not much exciting has gone on lately school wise....or work wise.

I'm just taking lecture classes right now so theres not much worth writing about as the classes aren't even that exciting. Thursday though, I start the next 7 weeks classes. I will be beginning the intense and difficuly yet VERY educational class that is Advanced Food Production. The cooking lab to end all cooking labs at GRCC. They're technically the "BOH" at the night time Heritage. Everyone who I know who has taken the class has pretty much said the same thing. "Its hard. Its intense. You learn alot. And the worst thing you can do is worry too much about it."

So we'll see.

Next week is our spring break. The 6th-8th I'm heading up to Petosky to check out Walloon Lake and Bay Harbor. I think I may actually be staging at Bay Harbor. In the Culinary industry a "stage" is when you actually go work in the kitchen so the chef can acces your skills and see how you get along with everybody. Fun fun. More on that when it happens.

Social wise, things have been getting interesting. About a week and a half ago I went to the BOB. A typical guys night out with me, Zigs, Boersma, Luvva, and Lambers. We made our way down to the nightclub. Like always I was trashed, and like always I made my round on the dance floor. Well things happend, I started dancing with a girl. I have no clue what I said, but I ended up making out with her. Yes, you read that right....this self declared introvert who is socially awkward and nervous around girls, somehow made out with one. So that was fun. I got her number and called her but havn't heard back from her.

Upon telling the story to Jonny he made the great comment of "Its always a good thing when you make out with a girl and don't have to hang out with her afterwards." And THAT my friends is why he's a keeper. Well that and the fact that he was the first person to get me drunk and introduced me to jagermeister

Fast forward to this past Thursday, we went out for Gina's b-day (oh yeah, despite the earlier claim, Zigs and her are back together). We eventually made our way to Taps. I got drunk. (surprise, surprise) and I ended up dancing with a girl. We talked some, I snuck a kiss (no makng out though) and I got her number.

Needless to say I'm kind of on a mental high right now. I think I've somewhat learned that the more you put yourself out there and attempt to talk to girls that the more chance you have of meeting one. Even if it means getting shot down 10 million times.

So theres a new law for Timmy "Try your best to talk to girl. Stop being a pansy"

That is all

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Next Stage

I. R.I.P.

So I did it, I finally killed my Ipod. Anyone who has hung out with me for any amount of time knows I probably don't take the best care of my electronics. I mean, I bought an almost $200 camera and then the first time I took it out dropped it. And likewise I havn't been too keen on not dropping my Ipod. Actually it still works just fine, but the screen is all fucked up. So who knows, I'll stop by the apple store tomorrow to see how much it will cost. Unfortunately I reall can't afford much more than 50 or so bucks for repair (and THAT was actually supposed to be my beer money for the weekend

II. School

Classes are going well. This seven weeks I have the Intro to Hospitality course, a course that you're supposed to take first (which I didn't), Spanish for the Hospitality Industry (Which is something that may help me in the long run) and then English (which lasts all semester). In the grand scheme of things they aren't too exciting BUT, I am learning interesting stuff.

On an even more interesting note I had 3 interviews about possible summer internships. The first place is Bay Harbor Yacht Club, the second was Walloon Lake Contry Club and the third is Glendevon's restaurant. The first two are up by Petosky and the third is here in GR. I thought I did good at expressing myself, and my history and my strengths and weakness'. So who knows, I sent each of the chefs a quick email saying I enjoyed talking to them and thanking them for the interview. So we'll see.

I really like Walloon Lake. I thought the area was someplace I could fit well, and the job sounded like something I could enjoy. Likewise, Glendevon's is a place that would seem preferable. Not only is it in GR which would mean I wouldn't have to move. But it could possibly evolve into an actuall job. And the had a similar veiwpoint that I do about serving simple food that tastes good.

III. Work

Well....not much new on this front. I've become lazy about job hunting. I think part of it may be that once the second 7 weeks comes around that my schedule will be WAY more crazy.

Regardless, things at the Square are going good. I'm mostly just working mornings. Which kind of sucks cause I can't really sleep in. But oh well. It happens.

I.V. Social life

My social life is kind of FUBAR. I WANT to go out. But I can't afford to alot. And I have 10 million people wanting to do things. I am attempting to go on a psudeo date with a friend of a friend. I have Nicoles birthday, The Derby Awards banquet, and a few other things going on. Luckily if the girl I'm trying to hang out with and I work something out it will be Friday. I'm probably going to become public enemy #1 if I say this, but I'm almost tempted to skip the awards banquet. In the grand scheme of things I think I'd have more fun sledding. Theres a part of me that would enjoy the simple pleasure that sledding would provide. On the flip side I have already comitted to going to the GRRG banquet. And there are a bunch of the derby folk I want to see. I don't know. I kind of feel myself being dragged from both ends.

I'm at this point socialy and mentally where I almost have to do what is best for me. Being the nice guy and all is fun, but sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand. I admit I'm not the most out going guy and that sometimes I bring the lack of communication on myself. But I can't just sit here spendng every waking hour trying to fix it. I have to do what I can and move on (thus another reason for wanting to go hang out with Nicole and the TSM/Beat-Ups/Dynaflo crew). Cause god knows once summer hits, regardless of if I get an internship or not, I'm gonna have to bust a move on my education. IF I don't get an internship my goal for being done is Dec 2009. But regardless of when I graduate, my goal is to get the hell away from Michigan.

Decisions, Decisions.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


So the car ended up costing 717 dollars. Which was about $616 more than I could reasonably afford. So once again I ended up borrowing money from my parents. Honestly, when I graduate, I totally just want to say their present to me can be subtracting the money they would've spent on a gift from what I owe them. I hate being in debt. Thats the only downside I had to quitting Mark Maker.

The plus side of being broke is that I start relativly looking at my expenses. And figuring out what I need and what I can live without. In other words, I look at cutting out all the random junk food and pop I buy myself during the day (mostly while at school). Yeah, I fell off the wagon when it came to trying to drink less pop. But now I'm (hopefully) back on. Who knows.

I'm actively in the process of trying to find a second job. I've been trying to go out to fill out 2-3 applications per day during the week. So far I havn't been keeping up on the "2-3 a day" but I have been picking some up. I'm also in the process of sending emails to some of my teachers. I think the advantage I have right now is that I'm early enough in my food career that ANYTHING would be a learning experience for me. I have gotten somewhat more of an interest in baking and maybe pastries some. Yeah, the big bad meat eater is interested in something he doesn't really like (what next, tackling Vegan recipes?) (yeah, when pigs fly)

School is looking up. And somehow I just happened to end up in classes with two people who I've become quite good friends with. Despite the fact they both graduate in May, I have a feeling they are going to be life long friends.....or at least I hope.

And finally in a bit of shocking (or maybe not) new. My apartment is now a home of bachelors. Yes, Zigs is single now. I'm not going to go into details because its not really any of my business too. But it is kind of going to affect the atmosphere of life now. But you know, I think thats why I refered to things as the new normal in my last post. Fun times

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The New Normal

So the new semester begins tomorrow. I am fresh off the high of a succesful first semester back as well as the joy of all umpteen million books I got for Christmas. With a ton of Christmas money (and the last of my lingering b-day money) horded I'm slowly making a "shopping list" so to say of things for our kitchen. Granted I have yet to use the new toy I got for my b-day (my new cast iron pan!) but hell, I can't let that money burn a hole in my pocket too long.

If anything though I'm not looking forward to seven week classes. By the time I get used to things they change. Bleh. But oh well. I have a class with a few of my co-compatriarts from my Banquets class so that should be fun.

Work is work. Thanks to classes switching my work schedule switched. Unfortunately I'm not getting to many night shifts. Which on the one hand is good because night shifts are bussing/dishwashwer shifts), but the night servers are much more fun to work with. But work is work. I'm kinda sorta looking for a second part time job, but I may hold off til the class schedule changes so any work schedule I get can be semi-permanent till the end of the summer. But we'll see.

NYE was a blast.....I think. I drank too much (surprise, surprise) so I don't remember much. ha. But I did get a chance to party at the Amway Grand. I'm sure I got numerous people annoyed with me. But oh well. Thats me.

The only down side was that I now have to get work done on my car. It seems that the wheel of my car broke. I don't know how, all I know is that I was parking my car in front of my apartment, hit a patch of ice, slid half a foot, heard a crack and then the drivers side of my car dropped half an inch. And I got out of my car to check it out and saw that my front drivers side wheel is more or less perpendicular to my car. bleh. My parents thought that it might be the axel or something. So now thats one more thing to stress me out that I don't need....damn

Thats life for you