For the past six years I’ve been in the hospitality and restaurant industry. Four years as a cook, two as a waitress. Like a black hole the industry is capable of sucking you in, probably never to return. You work in a kitchen, you read about chefs, you watch documentaries about food, and you hang out with other cooks. Your life revolves around food. The industry in your religion.
For some cooks, it’s ok. They’re sold the idea of an all-encompassing passion and will go to great lengths to fulfill it no matter the cost. I myself was in the cult. Like a horse chasing a carrot I recited alongside peers the daily mantra; cook faster, better, cleaner, refine, plan, organize, learn, teach, compare, per-… Exhausting. I wanted nothing more than to be the best, is that so much to ask? I put a tremendous amount of time and effort into this industry, only to realize a terrifying fact: Not only did I have other interests, I wanted to explore them!
I struggled for months about what to do. I had so many friends and connections in the hospitality industry, I had student debt up to my eyes, and I had spent countless days dedicating my life to the industry. It was my community, my family. Did I want to waste all of that effort? Did I really want to leap into the great unknown? Did I want to abandon ship? And then all of a sudden the unexpected happened. Relief although it didn’t feel like it at the time. I found out that as of January 1, 2016 I was to be laid off.
At this time I already had a trip to Nova Scotia booked for the beginning of January, to visit my family. So, I put off the job hunt and decisions, cleared my head, and went east. While I was there, I had time to think. Time to realize what my Chef saw, and the reasons for his decision. I needed time.
It happens to the best of us. At some point or another every cook goes through it, even if they don’t want to admit it. Our industry can be tough and sometimes you need a break. You need to clear your head, you need to focus on you. Sometimes it can be as simple as a week in cuba, or in my case a few months spent taking care of yourself and delving head first in to another passion without feeling as though you are neglecting your job.
This blog originally was to follow me as I explored my other greatest passion in life- dogs. I started a small business, took a course on dogs, volunteered with a local rescue, and spent as much time with my handsome flat coated retriever, Jack, as possible. It was a wonderful time of discovery for me.
However, eventually I missed cooking and decided to find my way back to a professional kitchen, I got a wonderful job at Peller Estates. I love my job. It allows me to grow as a cook, balance my family life, and explore my many other hobbies an interests. I’ve found that I can enjoy being a cook, as long as I make time for other things. I’m training to hike the Grand Canyon, taking art classes, shooting archery, and spending a lot of time reading for fun.
This blog has evolved again, and has become my way to explore all of the things that make me happy. Jack is still a big part of it. He is my fur kid, and my best friend. He and my loving husband are helping me become, I hope, a better version of myself. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my journey, and my family.