Thursday, August 26, 2010

My interesting story (or where Timmy turns down a chance to go on a trail at one of his favorite bakery)

So its getting to be the end of the summer. The time where I should probably be sending out cover letters and resumes and what not. Which I actually havn't been doing. Don't get me wrong I probably will next week at some point but I've been trying to prioritize things in my head which became evident with the resume I DID send out.

Those of you who may or may not have been following my ramblings for while know that I've kind of had a hankering for moving. Why...I don't really know. I think I'm just ready for a change of scenery. I think I've kind of always resented Michigan and the Holland/GR area ever since I was pretty much forced to move here. To me my childhood memories are rooted in Blue Springs, MO a city I probably wouldn't recognize today therefore making me having a childhood connection to anything moot and void.

But yeah I've had a hankering for moving. Late last year I think I unofficially narrowed it down to one of 3 places: Chicago, NYC, or Cleveland. The first two should be self explanatory. Both are fun towns, both are big food towns. Cleveland is kind of a WTF choice. To be frank, it actually does have a good culinary scene. For better or for worse, having Michael Symon there has helped it alot. I don't care if its Detroit's little brother, I don't care about Lebron James or the Cavilers, I don't care that the Indians aren't doint well, I just care that it does have an inspiring food scene (and the Rock and roll Hall of fame.)

Since going to stage at my friend Steve's restaurant last fall I've really had a thing for NYC which leads us to where my story begins: I sent a resume into the Momofuku Milk Bar. I was browsing through the NYC Craigslist and saw a posting for a "Etc position." Pretty much it consisted of doing random baking and delivering stuff to the other Momofuku locations. I sent the resume in, and then I followed up and I heard back from Helen, one of the sous chef's. We talked a little and she said she'd be happy to have me in for a trail, but that if I were to get a job I'd probably start off as an extern due to my lack of pastry experience.

So I told the usual suspects (my parents, my sister, Steve, the girlfriend, and two teachers who never did get back to me) about it. And they all had varrying responses.

My parents pretty much gave a "non-answer." They were happy that I was able to find something and follow up on it. But also they pointed out the money issue and that it would be something that I would have to think about and work on.

My sister pretty much implied I was crazy to think about it. And the she wanted to know why I felt I needed to move. She also thought I was crazy for thinking about Cleveland. And despite not really having to defend myself, I did.

The girlfriend (who for some reason I keep refering to as "The girlfriend"). Seemed excited that I got contacted by someplace that inspired me. But after talking a bit more we realized we were both sick of the long distance relationship. I think she's happy I ultimately ended up turning it down (more on that in a second). Also I think if I were to end up going someplace not with in an hours drive of GR that I'd have to visit way more (which is understandable).

Steve did what Steve does best and gave me the insight from someone in the industry.

And so yeah, I liked getting peoples insight on it.

Unfortunately I ended up turning it down. After talking to Helen some and realizing I wouldn't make enough to comfortably live (or probably even visit home). I said thanks but no thanks. She understood my reasoning and we were both amicable about it and she even said it was cool to stay in touch. So who knows Momofuku may be an option down the road.

So yeah, I have no idea what the hell I'm going to do now.

Actually I do, I have a list of places in the GR/Holland area, and Chicago and Cleveland to send my resume to. I just have to figure out if I really do want to go someplace out of town.

Also this whole Momofuku thing has kind of opened me up to the option of pastries, which I have zero experience with (I kinda never took PAstries in school. heh)

Thats about where I stand right now. I still don't freaking know.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Five Years from now (or maybe not)

So last night I went out to the apartments to go to the bonfire. Most of the kitchen staff as well as the managers live out there. The last time I went out Chef was out there (but left right as I got there) as well as one of the ladies who work at U-21 (Under 21, named for it being geared towards younger folk). This week it was pretty much just the night staff (minus Giles, the night sous chef)

It was actually pretty fun. Hanging out with the people I work with (and the night pastry cook) outside of work was a new experience. It was just nice to talk and hang out without the stress/pressure of work all around us. AND it was a nice change of pace from life at Beachview.
Don't get me wrong, I love Beachview to death, but sometimes you need a break from partying and hearing all the servers bitch about things (work, the members of the club, about how hot they get, about who else in the service staff may or may not be dumb).(true story)

Anyway we're at the bonfire and Jeff decides he's going to be Dr. Thought Provoking and asks everybody where we want to be in five years. When it got around to me, I answered that I honestly didn't know. Heck, I didn't even know where I'll be in 5 or so weeks after I'm done here. And that kind of troubled me because I know everyone needs to have some sort of goal to work toward. In work, in life, in play, for anything I suppose. And I felt bad for not really thinking that far ahead
When push comes to shove I know what I'd like to be doing. In a perfect world I'd like to be well on my way to working my way up the ranks in a kitchen to eventually becoming at the very least a sous chef. I'd also like to be putting the wheels in motion to opening my own low key restaurant. Either some sort of Asian cuisine (currently I'm reading the Momofuku cookbook for like the 3rd time and I'm getting a culinary boner. ha), an Italian/Spanish/Mediterranean cuisine, or the cop out of "American Regional" cuisine. I'd also like to have the Momofuku/Au Pied De Conchon vibe going for it (in terms of it being not pretentious or not having a high end vibe going for it).

I don't know why I feel uncomfortable telling people that. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I self admittedly still kind of suck. I mean I know the basics pretty well. For the most part I'm pretty serious about my job. I can cook pretty well at home and for others. But I have to work on my speed and working cleanly when I'm at work. Oh and I have to work on my common sense sometimes too. So it feels weird having high ambitions when I have alot to work on.

I think its also due to insecurities I still have tucked away from when I was younger. As hard as it is to believe, growing up I was dorky (okay, that's not hard to believe), shy, kind of socially awkward and didn't always fit in. It got better as I got older but when I was younger there weren't too many people I was super close friends with. When I did try to share some of my aspirations with people they tended to make fun of me. In retrospect, I think it may have just been the regular ribbing people give each other about things (I.E. Calling someone who wants to be a basketball player Michael Jordan.....or do people now get called Lebron James?). Regardless I never really felt comfortable sharing my aspirations with people.

My back-up plan at the very least is to find a job at a low key restaurant/bakery/cafe/catering company/whatever in a decent sized city, keep my head down, work my ass off and then get a foot in the door of writing. As is evident by some of the blog entries I write, I LOVE to write and am pretty decent at it. I don't know if I'd want to do restaurant reviews forever, but I'd be open to doing informational and opinion articles. Actually, I'd probably try to do food writing even if I did open my own place. So regardless I'm going to put the wheels for writing in motion.

No matter what I do, I AM starting to narrow down where I a want to go after here (working at the club). I haven't hidden the fact I want to go back to school for additional schooling. Maybe a bachelors, maybe just to learn more about the aspects of the industry I'm unfamiliar with (baking, pastries and if I can find someplace that has a class: butchering), maybe to go someplace and take writing classes. So I want to end up someplace with a decent school for what I want to go for. Likewise I also want to end up someplace with good restaurants. Partially to eat at, but also partially so I can beg my way in to work for free if needs be to learn more. (in addition to any normal job I have).

So yeah, that's that. That's my rant on where I want to be an my inability to tell people. I wasn't expecting to have that conversation last night. But regardless it was still nice to hang out with the cooks.

(on a brighter note, Jeff became slightly less thought provoking afterwards by talking some good natured crap about his roommate. haha)