Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
Tuesday, April 24, 2012


In my line of work, I meet a lot of cooks who are in the same boat as I am.  We all freelance and are basically competing for the same jobs.  Truth is, there is work somewhere out there.  You just have to be diligent in finding it.  And like all other freelance work, it's feast or famine.  That being said, I shouldn't be surprised about how some cooks act when it comes to work.

Here's a typical interaction:

New Cook:  So, who else do you work for?
Tim:  Here, and (big catering company) and (small local place).
NC:  Oh, is (bcc) hiring?
Tim:  They probably are.  Send them your resume.  Let me give you a contact there.
NC:  Thanks.
Tim:  Where else do you work?
NC:  Just at (other big catering place).
Tim:  Oh, I've heard of them.  Do you have a contact that I can reach out to?
NC:  I'll ask if they are hiring.

Seriously?  Is that what you are going to do for me?  How about you do the same thing that I just did?  Give me a contact name and let me send them a resume.  And let me deal with it from there.

I asked a trusted friend about this type of interaction.  She said that it's because they are scared that I am going to take away their work.  Really?  This trusted friend has gotten me gigs at the same places she works.  And she has never lost a job because of me.

I considered not giving out contacts anymore but the truth is, I don't live that way.  I find it very tiring to feel that someone may "take away" my work.  I just work as hard as I can and leave it at that.  So far, it seems to work.  Is it others lack of confidence in their work that forces them to be this way?  All I know is that I don't want to ever feel like that.  I see no problem in helping people find work.  If I lose work because of that, then it's my fault for not working hard enough to keep it.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

 Sometimes I feel that I am not that good a friend.  I really tend to spend my free time doing nothing when I could be spending it doing things with friends.  But really, what does that mean?  One can only eat out so much.  And the weather often gets in the way.  And it's not really cheap to do most things.  And my work schedule is opposite of theirs.  Are those just a bunch of excuses?  What is one to do?

I am very grateful to have a partner of 14 years who's company I enjoy.  But I really don't want to get to a point where the only friend I have is him because I have ignored everyone else.  I don't want to be one of those friends that schedules their life around the partner.  I hate those type of people.  What is one to do?

I am grateful that the friends I consider the closest are more than happy to meet at a moment's notice.  I am glad that they indulge me when they can.  And I think I try my very best to indulge them as well.  I hope it comes across that way, because I really do.  But there are times that I feel that I don't.

Like now.

Because I have been working so much, a lot of the other things I feel are necessary are being neglected.  I need to dedicate time to making sure the home is organized.  I need to find time for the gym.  I need to get my personal stuff done:  haircuts, retirement investments, potential employers, possible catering business.  And because of all this, I let spending time with friends fall by the wayside.

Am I wrong?

Maybe I'm thinking to hard about this.  Maybe part of it is that I am suffering from allergies.  Maybe I am feeling some sort of doldrums.  Is this what it's like to be depressed?  Is the feeling that you have no control and the feeling that no matter what you do you cannot catch up... is that feeling depression?  I don't think I'm depressed.

Maybe my body is telling me something.  I had a fever Friday and left work early.  I came home and just slept.  Maybe it's my body's way of saying slow down.  Unfortunately, my mind tends to work overtime when my body is trying to slow down.  Maybe what I need is to spend some time laughing with friends.

And when is that going to happen?



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I feel so unattractive lately.  Not really physically.  And not really to people.  Just to myself.  I don't feel like I am doing anything to make me feel proud of who a I am physically and emotionally.  But I need to clarify that.

Am I happy that I am back in the kitchen cooking?  Absolutely.  I am good at what I do.  I can make money at what I love to do.  And I am working at places that are more than just tolerable.  One of them is even a place where I learn a lot about cooking.

Am I happy about my relationship?  Without a doubt.  I don't think I could have been any luckier meeting the man I am with.  It's not perfect but I don't expect it to be.

So, why don't I feel proud?  I just feel that I am not moving past what I am.  I don't feel like I do anything that makes me grow as a person.  I don't go out to experience new things.  When was the last time I went to a comedy club?  Or some off-broadway play?  Or an art installation that makes me think?  I cannot remember because it has been so long.

And what am I doing physically?  I've been held back by my foot problems.  So cardio has not been kept up.  So, I feel fat.  I feel unshapely.  I still lift weights.  But I need to do something new.  I don't feel comfortable in my skin.  I feel like I am so not in the shape I could be.  Maybe I need to take some new classes or get a training session of some sort?  Pilates?  Yoga?  Don't know.

I'm at a loss.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Is this a mid-life crisis?  Later.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012
Cloudy skies abound.

How do you tell someone that their negativity is always going to hold them back?  I don't think it's an age thing at all.  Because the three people that I know, who's negativity holds them back are nowhere near each others age.

I worked with a lesbian that was so negative that it stopped her most things correctly.  She was in her middle 50's.  She left a career in graphic arts to pursue a career in culinary arts.  She sucks.  No.  She just is not that good a cook.  And on top of that, she is always critical of everything she works on.  Why do we not add more lemon to the hummus?  Why would you marinate the shrimp that long?  Why do we use these environmentally-unfriendly platters?  And so on and so forth.  It's gotten so bad that people refuse to work around her.

Then there's a young head chef in his late 20's.  Who is super-talented.  Who at times is very nurturing.  Who has vision that many more seasoned chefs won't ever have.  But his need for perfection leads him to doubt his work.  It leads him to constantly think negative things are going to happen during events.  And inevitably leads him to sulk while cooking.  I have noticed that when he is surrounded by people who don't feed his negativity, he actually does calm down and appreciates the work that is done.  But when he is surrounded by anyone who feeds that negativity, it becomes a shit storm.  It's only a matter of time before people begin to not want to work with him.  And the first people to leave are always the talent.

Speaking of negativity, there is a catering cook who's lack of self-confidence renders her utterly useless.  She often "bites off more than she can chew."  And while in the midst of doing things that are basic knowledge to most cooks, her self-doubt kicks in and she begins asking questions that make me think she really has no idea what she is doing.  What do you mean you just want me to grill these for color?  Should I add more salt to this?  When is this salmon done?  How do you want us to make that thing we have done a million times? 

I just don't get it.  I work one way.  I review the menu.  Ask questions about how the food is to be cooked, seasoned, finished, and presented.  And get it done.  When I get to the point of finishing the food, I ask the chef to taste it.  Adjust it as needed.  And send it out.  Done.  If I don't do it correctly, I take a deep breath, fix it, and move on.  I certainly do not dwell on it at all. 

This is probably why I have always been successful.  Negativity and drama roots people.  It forces them to take their focus away on what they should do and place it squarely on what they didn't, effectively causing them to perform poorly, leading to more mistakes.  I just don't have to time or energy to do that.  Nor do I have the desire to tell most of them.  Not that I think telling them will work.  Later.

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

This past weekend, I got irritated at work.  I don't normally let stuff get to me in this line of work.  Especially because for the most part, I have my part to execute and as long as I do, nothing else bothers me.  Part of it is also age and experience.  I am to old to not know what my strengths are and how good I am.  Which is probably why I was massively irritated by a coworker.

This is not just any coworker.  She actually trained me in this kitchen.  I have come to realize that all her talk is basically self-encouragement.  She has utterly no confidence which to me means that she just is not that good a cook.  Don't get me wrong:  she can cook.  She just has so much self-doubt, it becomes an obstacle for her and eventually the rest of us.  I would consider her an okay cook.  But that's about it.

She is especially not a leader when it comes to the kitchen.  Which irritated me this weekend because for the third time in a row, she took over a position that she thinks showcases her to the owners and head chef.  The thing is, she becomes so flustered that she comes off looking like a mess.  Another coworker and I have realized that when she is not in the kitchen, the head chef leaves us to run the place.  Interesting.

So, what is one to do?  I think the next time she works a party with me, I am going to ask that she work the less stressful side.  I know she will have an issue because she once told me that she feels that everyone is trying to steal her job.  Issues!  It doesn't help that my head chef tells her how smooth things are when I work parties.  Not helping!  I guess I'll just say that I want a chance to work the more involved side; even though I already have and the head chef is confident in my skills.  Whatever.  She'll have to deal.  Later.

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I'm just writing down some of the things that run through my head.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Eating up the City before it eats me up. I'm a freelance cook who spends his free time working out, cooking for "my man", and wondering why the Right is so concerned about my bedroom.

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