I gotta…

by danggoodfood

I gotta do one thing…

I just gotta take a breather.  I can’t expect things to happen overnight.  Say it…say it…”I’m happy and I will live in the present.” Sure what I just expressed is most likely associated with someone floating in a nice fluffy cloud in a yoga pose, but what’s so wrong with that.  A zen approach is not so bad.

I was in a love-struck state of mind when I started this blog, well enamored would be a better word to use.  When I took my first steps into a full-time kitchen I was eager, wide-eyed and maybe not so ready for what was to come.   I gave this blog out to all my dear friends and some.  Sometimes strangers, co-workers, even family members but now it really remains a silent blog.  I began to type away, non stop (at first) with an uncensored writing style, but all that changed when I realized that the deeper the more engrossed I became with cooking and learning that the less I was able to write.  It’s easier to write when there is no audience.  I guess I was pretty excited –no, I mean I was really damn proud of myself and I just wanted to explain in a heartfelt shout out for my readers the immense emotional rush that I feel every time I am in a kitchen.  Well I always wanted to write.  Everyday after that first blog I would spend countless moments walking, or riding the public transits thinking, “What can I write about next?” All the while thinking of stories or plots always thinking of my next writing material.  The more I become engaged with the kitchen the more my mind begins to plot and thicken with ideas using new found and old materials. Always food.

daniel's I-phone photo

Really now…I shouldn’t be writing for anyone but myself.  Something that I once did for mere pleasure has turned into a cautious task.  So I would like to get back to the basics, and lose control all over again with writing.  Can I? Can I keep on writing knowing that a co-worker or boss could be reading this?  So what better way to start a new blog with the reasons why I haven’t been writing and what can necessarily drive me.

Lets try…breathe…

Since the beginning I was in love with cooking, now I feel that the romantic notions of the kitchen that I once had are now more realistic. It’s not a fairytale and I am not going to be wearing a tiara anytime soon.  My god, it has had its moments. I need to FOCUS.  Sometimes I focus too much on cooking that I lose track of why I’m pursuing it.

I need to focus on being content with the situation that I am in… I’ve had my bad and I’ve had my good nights or days.    One thing that has really helped is telling myself to take a breather when my mind begins to rapidly run through all the “what if’s?” …”what if I do this ticket before that one….what if another one of those come in and I just finished the other 4 and here I am working on the other?…what if the boss walks by and tells me that this is plated improperly…what if a co-worker reads this and laughs at my experience, what if my writing is just too novice  and who would want to read this? What if someone gets offended…………………what if ?????”

So what if? I can still count of writing as my cushion when I get to do something other than overthink…it becomes my refuge from worry and mayhem.

The hardest thing is telling myself that while most “normal folk” with sun shiny weekend trips are out and about, I  work a rapidly changing schedule that normally inhibits me from enjoying the sunny weekends.  Add to that an added day of work in another kitchen, this leaves me with 1 day a week off and normally it’s not a weekend day. Add to that communicating (which I think I’m not so great at).  So while friends family and loved ones stray off to enjoy the abundance of life, I am stuck in a kitchen.  That’s one thing that I have had to adjust to.  Normal people…thats what I consider those weekend warriors that merrily drive off and out of the Bay area…vacation in the sunny sands… meanwhile I slave away. My envious mind juggles a scenic landscape of green pastures, a lovely sunshine, warm beaches with sounds of the waves, trips to Tahoe, laughter and friends all out and about enjoying the 2 days out of the week when rest and relaxation should be the only thing on one’s mind.  PMA (positive mental awareness)…I center myself when I can take away all those negative impulses that make me want to spend my weekends lazily sipping a brew out in the park and instead focus on what I am gaining by pursuing this personal and sometimes awkwardly emotional attempt.

It is a job, and a I realized that there is a bit of self deprivation that may happen.  But, I am pursuing a very adventurous journey.  I relieve myself when I come home from work and think of finally…finally…I am putting on those chef pants (as unflattering as they are), and while I am buttoning up that while chefs coat I find great comfort in knowing that I will be able to move forth with another notch in my lifetime experience belt.  No one likes to work, but at least lets make this occupation more than just an occupation, make it an enriching one.

The other night I made a pan roasted salmon, with a summer vegetable ragout of sweet corn, slivers of garlic, Rannier cherries, heirloom carrots, and wilted watercress.  When I was able to plate up the salmon I realized that my experience in the kitchen usually showcases this on my dinner plate.  Influence, experience, time spent asking questions and just staring…watching…mimicking… lead me to better technique.  I was so proud when the salmon, it was cooked perfectly…carefully thinking about the textures and various flavors that would allow me to weave together all these simple ingredients into something that was well made and delicious.   I became satisfied.  Satisfied, mainly by proving to myself that I would not be losing any of my own creative style…my style and palate stays uniquely me, it’s just become more alert, aware and definitely enriched.  Plus, there is so much more to learn! I once asked one of my sous chefs if she felt her style of cooking had changed and she replied with no that her palate was just enhanced.

I just gotta stop thinking too much…I just gotta stop asking “WHAT IF?”. I just gotta realize that I am doing it, and each day is pretty damn amazing… I just gotta realize that at least I have learned how to cook a well made piece of fish, and learned how to make a moist cake…success relies on my budding experiences, drive and passion. I gotta live in the NOW before the future. I just gotta realize that whoever made the weekends never had the cook in mind. THE END.

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