I went to culinary school. To get a job as a pastry chef. To do what I love. To present my gift of pastry to the world. What they don’t tell you in culinary school, I will tell you here. Your gift of pastry skills and hospitality skills in general will be used to appease angry assholes that want you to kiss their ass.
When I left school I quickly found out that culinary school should have taught me how to kiss ass. First off, your talent, nobody gives a shit about. How fast can you give me what I want? That’s what the guest and your boss wants to know. Second, the pay is pathetic considering how much school and training costs.
People want what they want and want it now. Quantity over quality. This is what we’ve become.
I’ve had guests where I work demand chocolate covered strawberries in January. I’ve let people know that it’s not wise and offered better options that I could do. No. They want strawberries and they want them now. Quality means nothing. The fact that the strawberries are no good is beside the point. The idea of them having something better and of better quality doesn’t matter. It boils down to “I want what I want, I want my way and I want you to make it happen.” If you insist I make your chocolate covered strawberries, I will. I was going to throw them away anyway. I make them, you get what you want and feel important and I get paid. Win win.
Not always getting what you want isn’t a bad thing. I’m not a salesman. I don’t like sales people either. I’m just letting you know somethings not a good option. Pick another or take my suggestion. If you were in the mood for strawberries in January and went to the grocery store and saw the strawberries. You would change your mind.
I made a wedding cake for an unfortunate wedding many years back. The only good thing to come out of this wedding was the food and my cake. The bride was smart in the fact that she new business and how to screw people in a very smart way. The only reason I made the cake was because she gave me total creative freedom. She was smart enough to trust me and let me run with what I know and do best. She got a beautiful wedding cake, stress free. For both of us.
This is smart. You hire someone because you trust them. You know they know their craft, you like what you’ve seen and let them go. You know the saying, “If you want something done right. You got to do it yourself.” Though I did want it to be done right, I didn’t do my hernia surgery myself, so I let the doctor do it and I think he did a great job. You know why? Because that’s his job and he went to school for it and he’s been doing it for years. I trusted him. I didn’t tell him how to do it and what I thought was best.
After my parents paid a fortune for me to go to culinary school, the best thing I learned at school was from a Chef named Mick. This guy was a down to Earth guys kinda guy. He told our class to form relationships at the farmers market. Go to the farmers market, get to know the farmers. Ask “What’s good?” Because they grow it, they know it, it’s their lives. Instead of getting what you want and getting garbage. Talk to the farmer. The farmer is going to sell you whatever you want. Even if it’s not good. He doesn’t care. Why should he? He wants to make a sale, feed his family and put money in the bank so he can retire and not have to deal with people that don’t have a clue as to what they are eating. Listening to the farmer and have him tell you what’s good would be a better thing. You will get better produce and always get better produce from the farmer because you’ve earned their trust and respect.
If someone is pushing you something, they are selling you something. If you ask someone something, you generally are going to get a genuine and honest response. That’s usually what you want, right? If you don’t want honesty and you like to be bullshitted, go watch your reality show and leave the good people and the farmers alone.