Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When you know, you just KNOW

Good Morning,

It's almost 8am on this wonderfully foggy Tuesday morning in Seattle. I've been awake since 4am and it's not exactly my ideal situation. I've just started my fall quarter in culinary school and I should be standing in a hot kitchen preparing seven different sides to accompany three very different main dishes. But I'm not... I'm sitting in my living room, listening to a little bit of Highway Evangelism, and steeping some coffee in my French Press.

The disappointment from my team mates was a little bit of a sting when I made the announcement that I would be dropping the class as soon as the Chef finished his lecture. But, they're good people- they'll get over my decision to drop out of the class. You know, once they wake up or their caffeine kicks in, standing in the dish pit like zombies, or on the walk to south campus for our 1230 management class this afternoon.

I think one of the most important things about the college experience is not only to challenge yourself, but to understand what kind of student you are and to exercise the discipline necessary to be successful. This situation is not permanent, that's kind of brilliant. The long days, hours of homework, drama of clashing team members, burns, bruises, and balancing work and school- it's all a lot of stuff to deal with.

For me, I'm the kind of student who strives for as close to perfection as possible. This is MY education, my learning experience, my passion. There are things that I have to do to get this degree and a few of these requirements are not exactly my cup of tea. For those scenarios that I cannot directly control (sitting through college Algebra, or writing a thesis for English Composition), I am capable of sucking it up and just doing it.

However, I am a stickler for the parts of my education that I can control. I can control my schedule and the lab classes I enroll in. Cooking is my passion and if I were to follow the masses and put myself in a situation where I'm unhappy in the kitchen, then what is the point? I want every quarter to be as enjoyable as possible. This quarter the main focus is on knocking out the management (lecture) classes that will help me set a good foundation for running the business side of a kitchen. But because this is CULINARY school, it is ideal to also be in a kitchen setting to coincide with the literature that I'm studying.

My Mondays this quarter are all about sustainable purchasing and cost control. Breaking down menus into sub recipes and crunching numbers to figure out how much revenue is needed to sustain a business. I mean, this is important stuff! This is taking investor's money and being responsible for employees' salaries all while making sure the customers are receiving high quality food that is properly acquired and safely produced. I'm sitting in lecture classes for 9 hours, just working with numbers, and importing, exporting, wholesale, retail, food, beverage operations, etc. I don't know if that sounds like fun to you guys, but it's satisfying to be accurate (down to the penny) in regards to knowing the ins and outs of operating a business in the food industry.

With all that being said, to start my Tuesday morning at 4am means that I am taking away from my ability to successfully operate as a human. Haha. After I got home at 5pm yesterday evening, I prepared dinner and started on my homework assignments. There is a lot of research that goes into cost control, sustainability, purchasing, and basic accounting (thank you Excel). So much so, that I didn't finish my homework until almost 10pm. Then I had to prep for Tuesday classes. Lab then lecture- I already knew as I was going over all my recipes last night (that I have already researched and studied over the weekend) that this wasn't going to be optimal for my education.

I made the decision last night to drop this class but to be sure, I went to class this morning anyway. I wanted to validate my decision by showing up and taking in the experience of standing there, with my low energy level (I went to the gym at 4:30am this morning) and to see how much I could actually pay attention. I zoned out about 30 times in the 20 minutes the chef was going over how this course was going to play out. The responsibilities as a student chef during this particular course at 0630 in the morning, are more than I'm able to commit to.

This chef is right up my alley though. He's firm, clear about his expectations, and means business. At 0630 after my Monday schedule- I know that I'm not ready to tackle this monster just yet. So, when you know..... you just know. And I know without a doubt that postponing this class is the right move for me. It's not a cop out or a lack of motivation, it's simply knowing what kind of student I am and exercising my discipline to ensure my overall success.

Now, coffee is ready- there are mad amounts of dishes that need my attention and contracts that must be drawn up for work. All of which would have been done into the wee hours of Wednesday morning had I made the poor decision to stay in my lab class this morning.

I hope everyone's start of fall is as wonderful as a giant soy pumpkin spice latte. Until next time, hugs and kisses.

-CrisM

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