“Thank you and your team for the wonderful time and experience. We look forward to having more of these fun experiences in the near future,” said Jenny Coert, a teacher from Claremont Primary, who agreed to letting us have the fun morning with the children.
Cheffing is more than a career. It is a calling
Lecturer at Capital Hotel School, Alicia Gilliomee, shares what it means to be a chef.
As with any career, what you put in is what you will get out.
But unlike any other career, you will find that success as a chef requires that you go further than the extra mile, and work harder, stay on top of the latest trends and products, pursue and embrace knowledge in whichever unlikely places you may find it.
The way in which you read a magazine, confront raw product knowledge and cooking methods will be altered forever. Everything you see that is related to cheffing will send your mind racing.
“Hmmmm... yes, that combination works well, or no, what have you done? Where is your flavour triangle?”
That is why cheffing is such a challenging and very rewarding career. When we study, when we learn, we become alive. It is a hunger that must be fed. This in essence, is also the reason why some succeed, and some don’t.
Committing to the career of a chef will require that your studies take up your party time, and that you will have to put in brain work, that you will be challenged to think, to analyse and to evaluate every aspect around every corner.
Cheffing is a science. Certain products combined start certain reactions, and certain flavours added to others will alter the taste completely. And if you are not equipped with that knowledge, you will not be able to fulfil your task and impress your patrons. You will not be able to stand back and say: I’ve done well!
Training is important, for here the foundations are laid and you are equipped with theoretical and practical knowledge.
But then you go out into the industry. This is where the real training starts. And the trainer? It comes down to one word - YOU.
If you do not ask questions, show what you can do, challenge and push yourself, volunteer for more than you are tasked with, share your gained knowledge with others around you, then you will most definitely reach a platform where you will feel that it is not worth it.
Cheffing involves very hard work, it is tiring, and patrons are unappreciative more often than not.
So, if you are not a chef in your deepest of hearts, if you can’t find fulfilment in the perfect julienne, a sauce smooth as silk, a flaky buttery pastry that just begs to be eaten, then you will get disheartened quickly and move on from this treasured career.
But if you stick it out, if you set out to be inquisitive and to learn all that you can, if you strive to be the best that you can be, then you will find that there is nothing that compares to cheffing.
Nothing can compare with the rush you get after prepping a whole day in a busy and hot kitchen with a dangerous mix of personalities, before everything comes together magically and service just flows like a symphony with everything and everyone in sync.
You will have many joyous years ahead of you filled with some great and some not-so-great memories; you will have the opportunity to create food for the most discerning patrons.
This is all just in a day’s work, but then someone asks to see the chef and you are humbled once more by their honest enjoyment and acknowledgement of your art.
This is when you know – I have made the right choice, I am what I was destined to be.
I AM A CHEF.