Saturday, August 6, 2011

You have no idea how important this garlic is to me.

We had 'Gordon' all to ourselves all morning. Argh! I googled him and a few chefs' names last night and found out they all have strong credentials, most of them climbed up the hard way through sheer determination, perseverance and an ability to park their egos aside for a few years to make way for an insatiable appetite to learn. They all learned from world renowned chefs from mostly Europe and despite their own obvious language handicap, managed to overcome communications and cultural barriers to experience a meaningful and long lasting exchange that would change the course of their lives and careers. In this journey to attain success, many have suffered abuses and harrassments of many forms but are now enjoying the fruits of those years of hard labour.

I did some basic research on general chef salaries - they are not very high for the hours they put in and the skills required. The justification always seems to be this - You have to be in this because you're passionate about culinary. Nobody is here for the money. Doesn't quite fully explain...

How are chefs perceived?
I asked them about the general perception of chefs in the fraternity and in the community and heard some interesting anecdotes ranging from a prospective mother-in-law who disapproved of their relationship thinking a chef could not properly provide for her daughter to dignitaries who are so wowed by the food they eat that they ask to see and speak with the chef personally and go on to hire them as their personal private chefs. Some private chefs command full influence on what the household should be eating and are highly regarded and respected for their skills and knowledge. The ones who have made a name for themselves are hand-picked to open kitchens of top resorts in the world and they live this nomadic life of always being in the hottest spots to cook for the rich and famous, and the line between the kitchen and dining room blurr as they also earn a seat at the table with the top honchos of the world.

'Gordon' went on for hours about his own journey. I was beginning to suspect perhaps he was the creator of, as the army puts it. I got a little bored and started writing on my notepad the many recipes I still want to try but haven't gotten to them...cinnamon rolls, strawberry cake, walnut butter cream, savoury muffins, ...

What is important in your profession and your cause?
Suddenly Gordon said something that caught my attention. "You have no idea how important that garlic is to me!" I thought that was a pretty impressive line for Gordon. I could relate to it. As a communications professional for the past 20 years, you have no idea how important that one word is to me!

To a struggling student, you have no idea how important one passing mark is.
To a desperate couple, you have no idea how important one good embryo is.
To a 100-metre sprinter, you have no idea how important that one second is.
To the Somalians, you have no idea how sweet one water drop tastes.

What is important in your profession and your cause?

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