Monday, March 17, 2008

Hey Everyone! How is everyone doing? I haven't spoken with many of you in quite some time. To update everyone, I am currently working at BigTray.com. I am also catering/private cheffing on weekends. Life is good and I am loving and enjoying every free moment I can cling to.

I finally sold my car too!

When are we going to get together? I keep hearing that someone wants to host us, but the dates keep getting pushed back. hmmm... ???? On another note, does anyone just want to do pot luck style dinner one of these weeks? If anyone is interested, let me know.

Let me know how y'alls doing.

rj

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Birthday, Richard!

Have a great birthday weekend, Richard! Hope married life is treating you well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

updates and photos

Hey y'all. So Richard, when do we get to see pics from the wedding?

Speaking of pictures, here's a call to all of you out there to take just 30mins to sit down and gather all your pics of us "CityKids" and share. Anyone try Picassa? It's super easy to use and share photos. Yeah, yeah, a google prod but I swear it's so great for sharing and really easy upload. If you don't want to download the software, just use it through Gmail. Anyway, Nick said that he was thinking of putting together a slide show but didn't sound like he was collecting photos. I would love if you could send me any photos that you have. I'm trying to get better at taking photos and this would definitely inspire me! I'll show you mine if you show me yours. ;)

Ok, I'm super tired and probably rambling. I just started to support some of our European business which required that I adjust my schedule. Change was just affective this week and now I start at 6am which requires me to wake up at 4am to get ready, shuttle there, etc. It's actually not bad. It helps that I'm a morning person. I actually like it a lot better because I get home early and in less traffic. Anyway, enough rambling and time for bed. Oh yes, the downside is 9:30 bedtime. Ah well.

Hope you're all doing well.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

new jobs 'n stuff

I almost forgot about this blog thingy but fear not, here I am! Well my life (as have all of yours I'm sure) has taken many twists and turns these past few months. I got back from Hawaii at the end of July ready to finally settle into life here in Arizona. I registered for some classes and started looking through the help wanted ads. Well after attending my 3 registered courses, I realized how spoiled I was at CCSF to get basically a free education. Paying out-of-state tuition at a community college here is painful especially when the professors are less than remarkable. So I am sticking with one course only. Maybe I'm not the over ambitious student I thought I was :)
I guess right now I could say that I am the over ambitious worker...I got a job hostessing at a local restaurant. The place is owned by a young couple (I think they might be swingers) who operate the whole thing. The restaurant opened about 5 months ago and although there are definitely kinks that need to be ironed out, so far so good. I dont know how long I can manage the hostess stand however. I am hoping to either begin helping in the kitchen or move up to server. So I do that 4 nights a week and it is a fun environment with good people. Also I recently got another new job as the cook at a preschool. So yes once again I am lunch lady Natalie. It reminds me a lot of my summer camp job. The school is brand new and the kitchen is spotless right now. Anyway the school officially opens Monday although we've been setting things up for the past couple weeks now. I am excited to bring some changes to the menu and develop good healthy foods for these brats! Just kidding, all children are unique jems. Right? People at the school wonder what a culinary school grad is doing in a preschool (and to be honest I have asked myself the same question) but I am excited about the potential. I think kid's health and nutrition is so important these days (I say that coming from a home where pop tarts and kool aid was breakfast :) But the menu definitely needs help and that's what I'm there for. I'm excited nevertheless and will let y'all know how things progress and develop. But I am doing that full time so my schedule is jammed packed but it feels good to keep busy. I just dont want to wear myself out!
But more importantly I cant wait to see everyone! It is so soon! Yea!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Closing a Chapter

Friday was my last day at Piperade. It was a bittersweet moment as I left knowing I was now a chef without a kitchen. No more experimenting with family meal, no more rush, no more getting slammed, no more late night beers, no more talking dirty to all the spanish speaking workers, no more being with my latin family. I also knew that this was a much needed break. I worked 3 straight 6 day weeks and I needed a break. More than a break, I needed to get shit done for the wedding. And of course, I needed to post here =)

So what do I take with me from Piperade?
- Line cooking is always the easiest part of the job, no matter how slammed you get.
- Babysitting is the least fun job in the world, and it only gets worse as the age of the babies gets higher.
- Talk to your cooks directly, not down to them. They may not understand every word of english, but they can understand your piss-poor body language and tone when you talk down to them.
- Do more than you have to, especially if it will make their lives easier. Your work ethic will make them return to you with 100% loyalty and respect.
- Linguistics are a minute detail. Actions mean so much more in the kitchen.
- The less "work" you do, the less "fun" you have, and the more "food" you eat
- Leadership is about doing the right thing for the customer, your employees, and the business - in that order.
- Never call out your employees in public.
- Some sales reps will do ANYTHING to get your business. Some will say anything to stick you with stuff you don't need or want.
- Defrost your walkins and freezers regularly.
- The more natural light your kitchen lets in, the longer you can cook when the power goes out.
- Schedule regular pipe cleanings.
- Less is almost always more.
- Listening and following instructions are critical life skills.
- Tempers and words are forgotten, poise and composure stay with you forever.
- The more people talk, the less they know.
- The food speaks for itself. Excuses and justifications don't belong on the same plate.
- If you play, play to win, not to not lose.
- Enthusiasm, determination, and heart can take you very far.
- CCA really does mean Can't Cook Anything.

So what's next? Well, I have a little time on my hands and we can get together now. Who wants to do lunch? Mary, you are on my calendar as a must visit. When can I come?
And, when can we finally do these dinners we keep talking about? I guess you could say I'm sponsoring the first one at the end of the month ;) Who's next? haha

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

end of summer

well, not really. but the kids are going back to school in my neighborhood, with the resigned looks of soldiers off to faraway lands. and still we work. I am still with PLD. It's been busy; lots of weddings. we travel for events, usually to napa or sonoma, sometimes to woodside or this past weekend to big sur (but I didn't work that particular event). The days are long and hot, but not like working in a restaurant kitchen. Usually we are creating a kitchen out of the dust, putting up tents and tables, unloading food off of trucks to be prepared on site. The client is "ALWAYS VIP". Therefore, as you can imagine, we get special requests and have to change things as best we can given what we may have on hand. It's amazing to see two hundred plates come out of the kitchen in ten minutes once we get the signal, all with their meat at 6:00 or 7:35 and garnished with artichoke crisps or microgreens, etc. It's also amazing to watch an event go up from scratch every night and then take it down again twelve hours later.
Maybe because my mom and I did community theater back in the day (she was always a costumer, I was always "street kid #3"), I love to watch from behind the curtain as the show goes up, after we've all planned and practiced and sweated to make it look easy. You get the feeling that everything lives and dies in those moments. And there is applause (the comments back to the kitchen) or there are complaints (filet wasn't rare enough) and then you strike the set and begin anew the next night. In the catering world, the theater house could be city hall, or it could be the parking garage at yahoo. this is our performance art, except the real performance is backstage, where sometimes with no running water and a tin box oven, we produce wonton cones filled with ahi and wasabi aioli, heirloom tomato salad and filet mignon.
An artist friend of mine said that it's hard sometimes to make things that will not last the night; I actually prefer it. One chance is all you get. As Kerouac said, you blaze like a roman candle, then you go out.

Hope you are all well. If not before, then I'll see you in a month at the royal wedding-- hope you like sea monkeys, richard!