Monday, April 4, 2011

Leaping the Divide Between Home Cook and Professional

The last few months have been filled with job times two, writing, and the slow, exciting immersion into a new culture. And somewhere along the way, my priorities and thoughts about the future changed. Earthshift. Which is all really incredible, I just wish I could sleep through the night without anxiety over the way my life is changing waking me with a jolt at 3 am. Can I really become a chef? I'm not sure, but I can sure try.
The first interview I went to was at an uber-hip west end establishment. It was a job fair, something that didn't promise much really, but still I took the long slow streetcar into hipster territory, and without any plaid that would allow me to blend in. I get to a closed cafe and see a long wait ahead of me; the job fair had started an hour ago, and there were rows of seated attendees in mild business casual. When putting my name and desired occupation down on the awaiting clipboard, I saw a line of would be bartenders and servers. "Are they even hiring back of house staff?" I wondered.
I was seated near the HR guy, Jeremy, and so could listen in to interviews on the sly. It seemed that the sociology undergrads wanting to work the summer away serving Toronto celebrity royalty (and Johnny Depp, when he's in town) were out in full form. And then I was called.
"You're a pastry chef! Wow. Y'know, pastry, you either love it or hate it, it's like onions versus oranges, which do you want to cook? Most people have a difficult time with pastry." Jeremy talked at a quick clip, and called the female coworker who gave him a coffee (and me, when I left) "darlin'". I was thrown off guard, mostly because I'd never had such a positive reaction to my resume before. I quickly focussed, and started to talk about my work at my current pastry job, interest in back of house, and love for cooking.
We left it with Jeremy giving me the card of the HR manager and pressing me to call in a week. I walked out of the hotel a little confused, a lot exhilarated, and now seriously thinking that I might work at this incredibly cool restaurant. And just like that, I eased into thinking about a new career path. Pastry.