Monday, June 27, 2011

First day at work

Punctuality and dependability I thought are important traits to exhibit as an intern, so despite my apprehension and nervousness, I made sure I turned up today and that I was there on time. One by one, the crew strolled in. No one spoke but everyone looked busy immediately. I was provided with the smallest chef jacket available and it suited me just fine. A chef's jacket is double breasted which serves to conceal stains on the jacket as one side can be rebuttoned over the other. How clever. I put on my brand new chef shoes and my $4 bandana, a good investment for a virgin chef until I remember my pay again. I stole a quick minute in the ladies to snap this for my blog. Do I look "cheffy"? Or maybe more like a  Jewish woman from the labour camp.

I spent the next 5 hours cutting bags of all sorts of mushrooms - shitake, portobello, white buttons - peeling onions, sorting the mixed salads, baby spinach and wild rockets. I could decide to dump an onion if I didn't think it was fresh. Such empowerment for an intern! There was no Gordon Ramsay to humiliate with his vulgarities, no Jamie Oliver food ambassador and certainly no Catherine Zeta-Jones glam. Everyone knew their jobs and the kitchen functioned to the precision of a Swiss clock work. The sous chef clearly directed the activities of the 5-member crew and knew exactly which tables had already been served and which ones were next. Office crowd, they have only an hour, so his team needs to be efficient, he tells me later. No shouting or yelling needed, just quiet, confident, assured instructions given at the right moments to steer the crew. No prima donnas, the goal is more important than the role.

It's nothing I've ever done in my life, using so much of my hands and so little of my brains. It would have gotten monotonous very quickly if I did not enjoy it so much. Exactly what is there to enjoy about menial work I don't know but it's such a refreshing change. And I have a ferocious appetite for change. No problems to solve, no one to impress, no strategy to develop, just try to make the pieces equal in size.

I have so much more thoughts to share but I am dog-tired - my back is sore and my neck aches from looking down so much. Should have developed those core muscles as the husband has been saying. I need to maintain a good posture the next time round, which will be very soon.

It's been anything but another Monday, and I'm loving it.


  1. Thank you, VM, for your kind words! If you would like to receive regular updates of my journey, please go to and click "Like". Cheers!

  2. I have a very similar experience, switching from a professional career to the culinary world. I remember on my first day I went to the hospital after taking the end of my finger off due to being so nervous. Keep at it, its not always fun, but its worth it.

  3. Hello Commiskaze, I'm delighted to connect with you. Write to me and tell me more about this journey you have chosen to undertake. How did you get into it, what drove the change, for how long now and what would you do differently with the benefit of hindsight? I'm new to it and have lots to learn from you! I went into your blog - it's gorgeous. Do you have an FB fan page? I'm at

    P/S: Hope your finger has healed nicely by now.



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