My step-daughter would like to go to cooking school. She’s almost out of High School and works in a small café as a waitperson and the owner says he will apprentice her in the back of the house next year. She says she wants to take a year off before going off to college to make sure that cooking is what she really wants to do.
I moved in with the family when she was 6 years old and she spent many happy years messing around in the kitchen with me. She saw me come home with horrid burns on my arms from sheetpans , stressed from working 90 hours weeks, overheard conversations between her father and myself about the druggie waiters at the restaurant I was working at, the manipulative owners I worked for, seen me exhausted the next morning waking up at noon on Sunday mornings after staggering home at 3 in the morning because staff didn’t show up.
She also saw the “gourmet” side of it, being in Newspapers, in Magazines, coming with me to help at SOS (Share Our Strenth) events or Taste of the Nation fundraisers. She got to experience first hand that being out there with a white chef’s coat and a toque was “Cool!” She would occasionally come with her Dad to restaurants I was working at and I would put her to work peeling carrots or chopping parsley during prep time. She liked the kitchens, she liked the camaraderie that she saw and liked the food. She got kicked out during service, which in hind sight would have been good for her to watch.
The café she works is at is mostly bakery, day time hours, no line, no stress. It’s not very realistic if she wants to get into the cooking end. All the horror stories in the world have not dissuaded her that the cooking world is no place for a sweet and tender innocent like herself. Perhaps I’m being over protective, but having spent 20 years working in the middle of and seen the abuse of: – sex, drugs, alcohol and way to much stress, I don’t want my cutie-pie to go there.
She called us last night and told us she would be working in the back this weekend, unhappy because she wouldn’t be able to spend time with us, but ecstatic because she was going to working in the kitchen. Although I did cringe and then had to laugh when she told us she had her “outfit” all set. Umm……outfit? My dear is in for a rude awakening when she finds her long painted nails have to go too. Oh boy!