How can we help EACH OTHER?It made me so sad to read Wendy's posts -- not because she's wrong -- (she's right to be mad and tired and bitter -- but because I know exactly how she feels. She has touched on so many important issues:
-- the inhumanity of the working conditions;
-- the hostility women face (not that men don't, but believe me, we DO face more that lingers longer);
-- the "reward systems" that no one with the slightest intelligence can figure out, because they have nothing to do with brains, or aptitude, or any "normal" kind of merit;
-- the BIG differences between chefs who succeed because they lead and inspire, and those who succeed because they just plain outlast the competition;
and more -- that rarely if ever get discussed in the culinary schools. IT IS OUR DUTY TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GIVE UP THEIR LIVES TO THIS INDUSTRY KNOW ABOUT ALL THAT.
BUT IT IS ALSO OUR DUTY TO LET THEM KNOW WHY WE ARE ALL HERE. To go back to the original question raised by Cape Chef, my reasons are:
1. Of all the other "careers" I've had, this is the only one that uses EVERY part of my brain: I need math, languages, interpersonal skills, planning, organization, the ability to teach, creativity, all 5 of my senses -- just about every thing I've learned (and enjoyed);
2. There is always something new to learn, whether it is a new ingredient, technique, flavor combination, person I might never meet otherwise, culture ... the list is endless;
3. If we really get it right, we can make people happy at the same time we feel a sense of real accomplishment.
4. I get to stick my hands in the middle of piles of gooey stuff and squish squish squish and PLAY WITH MY FOOD!!!!!!!
Seriously, this is a roller-coaster business in so many ways, and it's a relief to find others to commune with about it. Keep the faith, all!!!!
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004