Chef writes open letter that ALL chefs should read

Chef Writes Open Letter That All Chefs Should Read

Chris Hill is a chef, television personality and writer who has appeared on stage at TED and written for a number of high profile publications.
 
Hill also runs My Bachelor Kitchen – an online portal designed to encourage people to fall in love with cooking.
 
We featured some of his work before, when he wrote a piece on the eight key points that make a great chef, and now he’s back with a poignant open letter that all chefs should read.
 
The letter is addressed to all those people pursuing a passion and career in the kitchen and is packed with sound knowledge and advice.
 
If you are a chef, want to be a chef, know a chef or just like the idea of chefs – this is a letter you should read.
“DEAR CHEFS,
 
They won’t understand you. They won’t.I know this, because I used to be on their side, stuck in a dead end office, working a shitty job, making decent pay. My family and friends were convinced I’d lost my mind when I gleefully leaped into the unknown abyss of cooking. I suppose they thought it was a phase I’d soon grow out of. Could this be you? Maybe finishing high school and are contemplating a life in the kitchen, or are already in culinary school. Maybe its not you, but rather someone close to you. Whatever the circumstances, if you’ve gotten this far, I implore you to keep reading.
Chefs are a rare, often misunderstood breed and if you’re amongst the naysayers, I don’t blame you, I really don’t, however if the smallest piece of you is debating a life in the kitchen, or have already taken that plunge finding yourself needing reassurance, you might find that here. There’s also ample evidence to scare you away, there is plenty of that here. It just depends on the way your mind works.
 
Most will never know what it’s like to make a living as a professional cook or chef, and that makes me smile. It’s something of which I am arrogantly proud. No, not because I think we’re better than anyone, but because of the fact that to be a really good cook or chef it takes tremendous physical, mental and emotional fortitude. Most people don’t have, nor appreciate the gifts we’ve been given, and this often includes our front of the house counterparts.
Seven days a week, we show up willing to get our asses kicked. We sign up for this in exchange for an opportunity to express ourselves through food. There’s no such thing as weekends or holidays. We might get a random Tuesday off, and if we’ve put in the proper dues and happen to be in cahoots with the chef, we just might have the good fortune of being exonerated from working the dreaded Sunday Morning brunch shift. No one wants to work Sunday morning. We work longer days than just about anyone. Days start early and end late, typically when the rest of the western world is changing into their PJs, brushing their teeth and hopping into bed. The length, isn’t the hard part though, it’s the depth. Fifteen hours on your feet is grueling enough to scare away some fence-straddlers, but on top of that, consider the kitchen atmosphere where everything is either excruciatingly hot or sharp as hell.
Cooks scurry around cussing, the printer spewing out tickets as fast as it can, and for hours every inch of one’s body is physically tested. Emotions are tested, and sometimes you will fail that test. You’ll break into frustration mid-shift, relying on a teammate to help pull you through. Your mental strength will be tested — misreading tickets, overcooking steaks, undercooking pasta, or completely blanking the fuck out on any number of things, once again having to rely on a teammate to pull you through.You’ll do the same for him — it’s how we survive. Close call finger-nicks and tears shed while chopping onions don’t phase us, not even secondarily. Screaming hot 50-pound pots of salted water simmer away, not boiling fast enough most of the time.
 
Read the letter in its entirety at Fine Dining Lovers
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The Polished Hoe

Author: Austin Clarke
Publisher:  Amistad; First Edition edition (June 17, 2003)
ISBN: 978-0060555658

When Mary-Mathilda, one of the most respected women on the colonized island of Bimshire (also known as Barbados), calls the police to confess to a crime, the result is a shattering all-night vigil. She claims the crime is against Mr. Belfeels, the powerful manager of the sugar plantation that dominates the villagers’ lives and for whom she has worked for more than thirty years as a field laborer, kitchen help, and maid. She was also Mr. Belfeels’s mistress, kept in good financial status in the Great House of the plantation, and the mother of his only son, Wilberforce, a successful doctor, who after living abroad returns to the island.

Set in the period following World War II, The Polished Hoe unravels over the course of twenty-four hours but spans the lifetime of one woman and the collective experience of a society characterized by slavery. Infused with Joycean overtones, this remarkable novel — winner of the 2002 Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best Book Award, Canada and Caribbean region; and a bestseller in Canada — evokes the power of memory and the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

No Excuses

Author: Derrick Coleman Jr.
Publisher: Gallery/Jeter Publishing (June 2, 2015)
ISBN: 978-1-4767-9658-1

Trailblazing Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman Jr.—the first deaf athlete to play offense in the NFL—tells his inspirational journey of persevering through every obstacle, remaining dedicated to the hard work and a no-excuses attitude that ultimately earned him a Super Bowl victory. Great for readers of all ages.

Even at a young age, if anyone told Derrick Coleman what he couldn’t do, he’d just reply, “Watch me.” Diagnosed as hearing-impaired at age three, he faced a potentially limited future, but neither he nor his family were going to let that happen. Now Derrick shares the story of his remarkable journey toward NFL stardom, of the friends and colleagues who cheered him on when skeptics tried to chip away at his confidence, and of how every challenge he faced only strengthened his resolve.

At the heart of his story is his unconventional family, whose one constant was always love. When Derrick was misunderstood as “difficult,” or bullied and laughed at by schoolmates, he removed his hearing aids and listened instead to his mother’s advice: Never let anyone else tell you how far you can go.

Playing football became an outlet for Derrick’s restless energy and a way of proving he could forge his own path. As a senior at UCLA, he became a standout, an award-winning player who led his team with eleven touchdowns and demonstrated to the world what his heart had known all along: He had what it took to be a champion.

No Excuses is more than just Derrick Coleman’s story as a sports legend, inspirational role model, and icon. It’s a motivating and unique testament to the human spirit, to the potential inside everyone who has ever faced difficult obstacles. It’s about aiming high in life, giving it your all, and never ever settling for excuses.

Family Life

Author: Akhil Sharma
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (2014)
ISBN: 978-0-393-06005-8

Hailed as a “supreme storyteller” (Philadelphia Inquirer) for his “cunning, dismaying and beautifully conceived” fiction (New York Times), Akhil Sharma is possessed of a narrative voice “as hypnotic as those found in the pages of Dostoyevsky” (The Nation). In his highly anticipated second novel, Family Life, he delivers a story of astonishing intensity and emotional precision.

We meet the Mishra family in Delhi in 1978, where eight-year-old Ajay and his older brother Birju play cricket in the streets, waiting for the day when their plane tickets will arrive and they and their mother can fly across the world and join their father in America. America to the Mishras is, indeed, everything they could have imagined and more: when automatic glass doors open before them, they feel that surely they must have been mistaken for somebody important. Pressing an elevator button and the elevator closing its doors and rising, they have a feeling of power at the fact that the elevator is obeying them. Life is extraordinary until tragedy strikes, leaving one brother severely brain-damaged and the other lost and virtually orphaned in a strange land. Ajay, the family’s younger son, prays to a God he envisions as Superman, longing to find his place amid the ruins of his family’s new life.

Heart-wrenching and darkly funny, Family Life is a universal story of a boy torn between duty and his own survival.

Facing the Music and Living to Talk about It

Author: Nick Carter
Publisher: Bird Street Books (September 17, 2013)
ISBN: 978-1-939457-88-2

This book is Nick Carter’s autobiography and self-help hybrid in which he chronicles his struggles with a dysfunctional family and the unimaginable rigors of becoming an internationally successful pop star at the age of 12. From his battle with addiction to serious health complications and the pain of his younger sister’s tragic death, Nick leaves nothing to the imagination and offers true and heartfelt advice to help readers overcome obstacles in their own lives.