Saturday marked my two week graduation ceremony. It’s hard to believe that this part of my culinary journey is over. I am happy to be finished with school but it’s a little sad to see the people I worked along side with every day (some for better, some for worse) move on and out of my life… It’s also been hard to transition from a student to, well not a student. I’ve defined myself as a culinary student for a little over six months. I only had two days before I started a new job.
My job is exciting and terrifying at the same time. I actually work at my school as the procurement and foraging manager. I source all the food items for the professional and public classes. The best part is getting the opportunity to work with my instructors. I know this will allow me to gain even more knowledge from them.
I loved school! The one and only issue I had with school was the waste. I was guilty of over cutting garnish and other food items. I made too much of a bad dish that went into compost. I do appreciate that my school composts, but I would rather feed someone. One of my goals in my new position is to work with the students and instructors to lower the amount of waste.
As I ponder my life after school I remember being excited about all the time I would have to test and experiment with all my new knowledge and skills. I have a dehydrator, a pressure cooker, two Dutch ovens (small and large), and my set of knives. I
have tons of inspiring cookbooks and all the recipes we made while in school. I am prepared beyond my wildest dreams to create some kick-ass, mind blowing, best thing you’ve ever eaten food. I haven’t…WHY?
After learning so much about other types of cuisines, so many incredible cooking styles and methods and eating delicious food that I never knew existed, honestly I’m completely confused as to where I stand. I knew what type of cook I was before school and I had a good handle on what I wanted to make when I finally got my super clubs and possibly my restaurant up and running. (I am fully aware of the extreme amount of hard work and dedication it takes to run a restaurant, and I’m still naive enough to want it and believe it.)
I expected my culinary view/perspective to change and expand. I’m not the same person I was six months ago. What keeps me up at night is that I no longer have a point of view and I don’t know what I want to make.
Can you have a culinary identity crisis? Is their treatment for it?
I am secure in the fact that my future will involve cooking. The reason I went to school was to become better at what I am so passionate about, FOOD! That has not changed. I am also sure that I will have an impact on food waste in Austin, Texas.
Here are a couple of facts I also know. Forty percent of the food in your neighborhood grocery store is never eaten and goes to a landfill. Fast food restaurants in America have almost 86,000,000 pounds per day of waste and full service restaurants have almost 50,000,000 pounds per day. This all goes into a landfill. The average American household throws away forty percent of their food supply per year. That’s an awful amount of food being buried.
Reflecting on the food waste statistics, my lack of culinary perspective and questioning myself, what do I want to cook when I grow up, is my dilemma. What if I stop asking what do I want to cook? Maybe, there is a different question I should be asking… Hmmmmm…