Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Four Seasons and Happy Thanksgiving

I'm now an employee of The Four Seasons.

Yeah, I don't know how I pulled that one either.

My last job was miles apart from this one. Not to talk shit, because that's bad etiquette...but I'm totally going to talk some shit. I was working as a line cook (ie: not learning what I want to learn as a pastry student), getting mediocre pay, working for 12-14 hour shifts without a break because we weren't allowed to take any, and barely eating because I didn't have the time to, on every day when I didn't have school. With school, culinary team, an internship, and work I was pulling about 65-70 hours a week and had hardly anything to show for it. My list of complaints is indeed quite large beyond this, but that's not for this blog. Working in the industry is hard, and I'm fine with that but: it boiled down to the fact that I wasn't learning what I wanted to learn.

So I quit. And my life is much happier now.

There were flyers posted throughout the school about The Four Seasons needing a part time pastry cook to help them out through the holiday season. I sent in my resume, got selected with a couple of others, interviewed, and got the job.

I went from working in a tiny kitchen to working in a luxury hotel with a 5-Diamond rate restaurant with its own pastry kitchen downstairs. A nice, roomy kitchen with plenty of equipment, its own walk-in, and its own freezer. There are seven pastry chefs that prepare the desserts and pastries for the restaurant and cafe, breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, room service, banquets, and special orders.

I've been there a little over a week now and have yet to see the hotel or courtyard or anything other than the kitchens and employee areas. What I was overwhelmed by, however, was the culinary kitchen upstairs that I walked through on my second day.

It. Just. Kept. Going. The dish area alone had to have been at least the size of my entire apartment. There was an entire section devoted to room service, then the hotline. There was a garde manger station and a cold food station. I was in complete awe at the sheer size of the kitchen. The walk-in was the biggest walk-in I've ever been in my entire life, and they have more than one.
Hopefully I'll be able to stay on longer than this holiday season, if not, at least I'll have the experience to bulk up my resume.

Oh, and side note: tonight I had some amazingly delicious food from Dim Sum Garden at 11th and Arch in Chinatown. Great pork and chive dumplings and chicken stewed noodles with a little cilantro and bok choy...only ten bucks, and enough for two meals. Right by Reading Terminal Market, I think I found where I'll be getting something to eat after my shopping.

I don't really agree with gorging oneself to the point of not being able to breathe on Thanksgiving as so many people do. That, to me, isn't being thankful. A normal-sized meal of good food surrounded by family and friends is what it's all about. I didn't get to have that this year unfortunately, but I'm still thankful for what I have: a career I'm passionate about ahead of me, family, friends, a wonderful boyfriend, and a great job at the moment.

Photos on this post were snagged from the chef's flickr photo stream that I found when I googled him to try to research before the interview.

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