Preparing to Stage

Sorry for the delay in the blogging – I guess I have been busy-busy and not making time to blog.  Fortunately the Olympics are over, so now I can get to sleep at a more reasonable hour each night….somehow they were able to keep me tethered to the TV until the last event each night – you know how good they are at building up that story to keep you watching – I’m the sucker that falls for it.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, but I will say that I am glad they only come on once every 2 years.  Apart from the Olympics – I have been pretty much focused on school, cooking and work – it has been a great few weeks and I am really loving the program.  Lots of lessons learned in the last few weeks, some great guest speakers who came to talk, teach, inspire and cook with us, our first field trip and another “menu” night where we make and plate 3 courses throughout the class, oh and an elective class on making macarons…which was fantastic.   For today’s post though I want to focus on what might be the next step for me in this process.

For the last few days, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about where I might like to stage, (French word short for stagiaire).  Stage is pronounced with the same ending as you would mirage (I am terrible at French so these tips help me).  Anyway, the gist of it is you go to a restaurant and you work for free – doing the bottom of the barrel tasks, picking herbs, cutting onions, juicing lemons, what have you….the hope and intention is that while you are doing said tasks you are learning how the kitchen operates, gaining an understanding of the day in the life of kitchen, seeing how the ingredients are taken from their original form to the way they are served.  All the while you are getting faster at your tasks and taking on more and more and thereby impressing the chef in hopes that perhaps the next time you come in you might get a different task, or be able to learn something new, maybe ask some questions (most every article I have read about staging says not to ask questions unless clarifying in nature about your task at hand, especially at the start).  For those of you who know me, and let’s be honest that is everyone reading this blog, you know this will be tough for me, I am known to not only ask a lot of questions, but to ask them in rapid-fire succession.  It was only years after I became close friends with one of my co-workers that she told me that she considered moving desks when I first started since I was constantly asking her questions….needless to say, this part will be tough for me.  So why you ask am I considering working in a restaurant where I will be the lowest man on the totem pole, doing the crappiest jobs, not really expected to talk other than to say yes Chef or no Chef, and not make a dime in the process? Well, the hope is that I will learn the ropes and practice and fine-tune my skills as an aspiring cook, with hopes of one day being an aspiring chef.   This will be a humbling experience for me to say the least – it already has been – and one that I think will open my eyes to a world that I am still wrapping my head around.   I am hoping to try staging at a few places to get a well-rounded picture of how many kitchens operate and learn new skills from each one.   Stay tuned for tales from a stage….

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2 responses to “Preparing to Stage

  1. Tammie

    What about starting a “stage brainstorm” section. I know you are developing some ideas about where you might want to stage – it would be cool to let us in on that process. What are your ideas now? What restaurants are on the list – and why (what do you think you’d like about the experience)? Then you can get insights/ideas from the the community too (if you want that)! Just and idea.

    • I like it. Here goes, the staging brainstorm section….some ideas so far:

      Fish – I love the idea of learning more about local/sustainable seafood and their food is amazing. Plus I know the chef and he’s awesome 😉
      Insalata’s – I need to get there to eat, but I have had a lot of their food from the cookbook and everything is amazing – especially the fattoush. I hear that Heidi is an incredible chef mentor and she is someone I would love to get to know….plus this type of food brings me back to my middle-eastern food roots in Michigan.
      Delfina, Locanda, Nopa – are all of interest to me too.

      Any other thoughts out there?

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