Where Do I Go From Here?
This year will mark the 5th year in my career as Head Chef.
I remember one of my fellow chef mates mentioning to me that “if you climb the ladder too fast, you will find yourself peaking too early”
I saw this as a challenge at the time but now I’m wondering if it has finally come true?
My career has been a roller coaster of a ride. I don’t think any chefs journey is really plain sailing. We work ridiculous hours, for pay that does not justify the means. But if you are a chef at heart and mind then you really keep pushing on to do it for the love of the ingredients and the foodies that travel to your establishment.
The food industry itself is very rewarding which ever way you choose to go. If you are aiming for accolades, working to support your family back home, wanting to work with obscure ingredients or even wanting to be a better cook and only want to work for or with the best chefs in the world, you can achieve all or many of these if you really ‘push on’.
My food style has changed from the first year I headed up my first kitchen, in a London Private Members club. The food has simplified letting the natural flavors of the ingredients to do a majority of the work with help from other produce to enhance the main ingredient, keeping the taste profile more established and less of a “Where’s Wally” type of dish, so to speak.
The current journey I have set myself on is to rework South African classics and turn them in to dishes that are artistic yet staying true to its origin of flavor.
The hard part of this is that I have no background in South African cuisine, but I do work in a South African restaurant with an owner that is also.
A lot of research and development goes into each dish that I choose to recreate. Some dishes do come out close to the classic with some minor adjustments needed, but some just don’t work and are totally of the mark. I tend to revisit these types of dishes after a few weeks to re-think the dish and to have a better prospective of the classic for my next attempt. When dishes don’t go to plan it does get me a little deflated, but I guess the research was not enough for me to execute a completed plate ready for consumer consumption.
The feed back that I have received from customers have been on the good side, with some customers having doubts before even tasting the dish , but yet they order due to curiosity and are blown away by how each component works harmoniously.
I do love the challenge of people doubting me when it comes to my craft. I have been putting in countless hours to bring “My Style”of food to consumers. Most people under estimate how much work goes into producing the food that they eat in a mere 10 minutes from kitchen pass to dining room table. Is this what drives me to push myself even more?
The direction I need to take my self is still unclear but, there is always an option to pivot and change the direction I believe is to be a correct one at any given time. This would be the best advice for me to give myself and to anyone who may think they are stuck in a position that may not see them self getting out of.
Change is always good. Take what you learn and roll with it. If it doesn’t pan out, then revert back to a previous step or pivot again, but continue pushing forward with the new knowledge that you have taken on board.
Around every turn is another stepping stone to your “CURRENT” end goal.
I appreciate you for stopping by and giving up some of you time to read my thoughts.
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