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Designated Chef?

Designated Chef?
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  • Designated Chef?

    Post #1 - July 8th, 2007, 10:01 pm
    Post #1 - July 8th, 2007, 10:01 pm Post #1 - July 8th, 2007, 10:01 pm
    Are you the Designated Chef in your family? Do you attend family get togethers and as soon as you hit the door you receive your cooking assignment?

    I've gotten to the point that I actually have my own traveling kitchen gear. I avoided the Fourth of July BBQ because it dawned on me that would probably be a 10 hour gig for me.

    My biggest complaint would be people expecting you to produce while they have complete control over ingredients and the like.

    I just started culinary training and the only one that knows this is my Father. I fear getting a degree can only make things worse.

    So stand up and be appreciated designated chefs!
  • Post #2 - July 8th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Post #2 - July 8th, 2007, 10:04 pm Post #2 - July 8th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Where are you going to school at? I start Kendall tomorrow.
    Logan: Come on, everybody, wang chung tonight! What? Everybody, wang chung tonight! Wang chung, or I'll kick your ass!
  • Post #3 - July 8th, 2007, 10:06 pm
    Post #3 - July 8th, 2007, 10:06 pm Post #3 - July 8th, 2007, 10:06 pm
    I think the trick is suggesting recipes you actually want to make, before you arrive, and perhaps even sending along a list of ingredients for them to have on hand for you.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #4 - July 8th, 2007, 10:16 pm
    Post #4 - July 8th, 2007, 10:16 pm Post #4 - July 8th, 2007, 10:16 pm
    This will be my second week here: http://antihunger.org/oliverskitchen/index.html

    Certainly no Kendal College. The program is based on Washburn's program though and hopefully will open some doors to me. The City of Chicago is paying my way so I could hardly say no.
  • Post #5 - July 8th, 2007, 11:03 pm
    Post #5 - July 8th, 2007, 11:03 pm Post #5 - July 8th, 2007, 11:03 pm
    Hi,

    I'm not quite sure why all this attention is making you seemingly unhappy. You presently have an opportunity to practice your craft for the home crowd who recognize your efforts are a gift. Friends and family shower compliments and don't fuss the little stuff. When people pay, then they are a lot less forgiving and a whole lot more demanding. Ten hour days in the kitchen will be your lifestyle if you choose this profession. Why not learn now whether you really want that life?

    While it is wise to bring your own kit. I reiterate Cynthia's suggestion to call in advance to negotiate expectations. It gives you an opportunity to plan your offering, which is less pressure than arrive to a surprise task.

    As for an 10 hour gig on the 4th of July. My smoke BBQ cook took around 11 hours. Between flips, water refills and later additions of meat, I made side dishes as well as walked in a parade.

    Congratulations on your scholarship. I hope you learn whether this is the right fit for you.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - July 9th, 2007, 4:18 am
    Post #6 - July 9th, 2007, 4:18 am Post #6 - July 9th, 2007, 4:18 am
    Sundaysous wrote:My biggest complaint would be people expecting you to produce while they have complete control over ingredients and the like.


    Years ago, a chef friend of mine offered to cook for my oldest daughters' high school graduation party. I readily accepted his offer, but part of the deal was that he would buy the ingredients and I would simply reimburse him. It ended up costing hundreds of dollars more than expected because he bought great stuff that he wanted to cook...but I was, of course, totally okay with that. I think that if people expect you to perform in the kitchen, they need to give you the right tools (e.g., high quality ingredients). What this means, unfortunatley, is actually MORE work for you because it could put you in the position of planning, purchasing, picking up, etc. Still, if you're a chef-in-training, you can chalk it all up to experience.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #7 - July 9th, 2007, 5:15 am
    Post #7 - July 9th, 2007, 5:15 am Post #7 - July 9th, 2007, 5:15 am
    Wow rereading this makes me wonder if I do indeed need therapy. The whole subject came up while talking to a cousin about family events like holidays. It 's more funny than tragic.

    You show up for Thanksgiving and realize you're the cook. You open the fridge knowing there is only 3/4ths of a stick of butter in there, total.

    The other comic part would be when we show up for a function at the culinary challenged home the designated cooks huddle to access the severity of the situation.

    I'll admit also that a great deal of the blame lies with me allowing these situations to occur.

    Twenty years ago I was employed as a line cook, not an advanced one at that. I have experienced the ten and twelve hour shifts. Not walking into anything blind here.
  • Post #8 - July 9th, 2007, 8:03 am
    Post #8 - July 9th, 2007, 8:03 am Post #8 - July 9th, 2007, 8:03 am
    In my family, I am one of the designated cooks- I'm following in the footsteps of my dad (BuddyRoadhouse, who does more cooking than baking) and my mom (who does both cooking and baking, but desserts are her specialty.) My extended family is very supportive and encourages me to make anything I want for family gatherings.

    I only wish my boyfriend's family was the same way. I know everyone has their traditions, but it's hard to not be insulted when they'd rather have the sister-in-law's frozen hash brown/processed cheese food concoction than real, made-from-scratch mashed potatoes. Or when they'd rather I only bring one dessert since someone else is bringing a Bakers Square pie. :roll:

    Cooking in under-equipped kitchens is the worst- I've had to deal with knives that could hardly cut through butter, 40-year-old garlic presses that disintegrate in my hands, spices that are 15 years old and have no smell left....I was cooking at my friend's mom's house and the woman didn't have measuring cups. Fortunately, it was a salad, so precise measurements weren't necessary. I've learned to just bring my own stuff with me.
  • Post #9 - July 9th, 2007, 8:17 am
    Post #9 - July 9th, 2007, 8:17 am Post #9 - July 9th, 2007, 8:17 am
    abe_froeman wrote:I only wish my boyfriend's family was the same way. I know everyone has their traditions, but it's hard to not be insulted when they'd rather have the sister-in-law's frozen hash brown/processed cheese food concoction than real, made-from-scratch mashed potatoes. Or when they'd rather I only bring one dessert since someone else is bringing a Bakers Square pie. :roll:

    Cooking in under-equipped kitchens is the worst- I've had to deal with knives that could hardly cut through butter, 40-year-old garlic presses that disintegrate in my hands, spices that are 15 years old and have no smell left....I was cooking at my friend's mom's house and the woman didn't have measuring cups. Fortunately, it was a salad, so precise measurements weren't necessary. I've learned to just bring my own stuff with me.


    This sounds like my in-law family. MIL has spices in the tin cans and not one sharp knife, SIL would rather make gravy from a jar or package and buys all the pre-made things at Sam's. I would prefer to be the designated chef than eat the bland stuff they make.
  • Post #10 - July 9th, 2007, 10:05 am
    Post #10 - July 9th, 2007, 10:05 am Post #10 - July 9th, 2007, 10:05 am
    HI,

    I guess walking into a household with a stick of butter with expectations you can pull off grandeur is really dreaming. This reminds of the Audrey Hepburn movie where she was a French trained chef. When confronted with a few eggs, canned tomato soup and a few cellophane wrapped crackers was able to whip up a souffle. Most people, including myself, would have my coat on and out the door for dinner out.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - July 9th, 2007, 12:44 pm
    Post #11 - July 9th, 2007, 12:44 pm Post #11 - July 9th, 2007, 12:44 pm
    I am certainly NOT the designated chef at any of my family's functions, but I feel for your plight. Your general interests, education and future profession should really have no bearing on your status as a guest. If you were interested in medicine, would they expect you to treat their ailments when you're invited to the family's holiday get together? I think it is very presumptuous of anyone to expect so much without explicitly asking you. Especially since it sounds like you enjoy helping out, but would rather have some voice in the preparation and planning, if you chose to help out.
    To suggest that one's career path should mandate their servitude at other people's festivities is ludicrous.
  • Post #12 - July 9th, 2007, 2:01 pm
    Post #12 - July 9th, 2007, 2:01 pm Post #12 - July 9th, 2007, 2:01 pm
    I think I mentioned somewhere on another thread - I had a disaster once, being invited to cook in a kitchen I wasn't familiar with, that had all kinds of eccentricities (professional-style burners with all the BTUs that implies, one oven would not heat up beyond 200 degrees, the other a good 100 degrees off) and asked to cook a difficult dish (paella) that only a few in the group were familiar with. Needless to say, I didn't pull it off and was never offered a chance to redeem myself. Thus I am remembered by a select group as one of the worst cooks in history.

    Fortunately, I have all sorts of evidence to the contrary from other meals - but since that event I have divested myself of the mantle of designated cook.
  • Post #13 - July 9th, 2007, 4:46 pm
    Post #13 - July 9th, 2007, 4:46 pm Post #13 - July 9th, 2007, 4:46 pm
    I'm actually starting to feel guilty about bringing this up. I probably failed to mention Jewel Foods are actually open during...uhm...ok 24 hours a day. Not meaning to mislead anyone I'm not talking about anything more involved than traditional down home cooking.
  • Post #14 - July 9th, 2007, 6:28 pm
    Post #14 - July 9th, 2007, 6:28 pm Post #14 - July 9th, 2007, 6:28 pm
    Some are born chefs, some achieve chefhood, but apparently some have had chefhood thrust upon 'em...
    :)
  • Post #15 - July 9th, 2007, 11:41 pm
    Post #15 - July 9th, 2007, 11:41 pm Post #15 - July 9th, 2007, 11:41 pm
    I graduated from Kendall last June, a great education. Prior to that time and while at Kendall I had to fight my way into the kitchen at my in-laws house. Russian matriarchy ruled the roost. The first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner I knocked myself out. I prepared all the traditional foods I had at her home on past Thanksgiving as well as three others - braised red cabbage with apples, green beans with shallots and lemon zest, and an additional stuffing with sage sausage. Comments from my mother in law, the gravy isn't the right color (made with turkey stock I had prepared), and there was too much food. No comment on the turkey, moist and hot, the sweet potato dish, or any other item. I'll continue to cook there, but if she where my sole reason for wanting to cook, I'd apply to McDonalds tomorrow.

    Peace
    David
    Cooking is the accumulation of details done to perfection. Fernand Point
  • Post #16 - July 10th, 2007, 7:23 am
    Post #16 - July 10th, 2007, 7:23 am Post #16 - July 10th, 2007, 7:23 am
    Timidchef,

    Pride is not always a pretty thing. You did well and she knew it.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #17 - July 10th, 2007, 11:55 am
    Post #17 - July 10th, 2007, 11:55 am Post #17 - July 10th, 2007, 11:55 am
    I have never been designated chef unless I asked to be. My family is big into food, not always gourmet, but quality home-made foods. Usually I am asked to bring a side dish of some sort, the hard part is when you make something that everyone likes, and then they ask you to bring it every time.

    My in-laws are good about hosting to, and not expecting me to show up do everything, although I do gladly help out when needed.

    Anytime I know I am going to be doing a lot of work in the kitchen, I take my knife.

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