Well friends, our school year has come to a close.
As we’re all preparing for our next adventures, I want to offer a little support to our first-year friends going into their apprenticeships…
Before I do that, I should mention to any hiring chefs reading this that SCS students are nothing short of paragons of employability and you need not read further.
Are they gone?
Ok, here’s the deal: You’re going to make mistakes. Probably a lot of mistakes. If I’m honest, some days making mistakes was probably my best thing. In fact I’d go so far as to say that any apprentice who tells you they don’t/didn’t screw up is either lying or needs to Google “Dunning-Kruger effect”; but for the most part, your chefs are going to know this and be pretty understanding. The trick is learning from your mistakes quickly and not making the same one twice (there are days I’m still working on that one… making the same mistake twice is possibly my second best thing).
So in the spirit of fellowship (and in hopes of saving someone else from making the same gaffes), I trolled the graduating class for some of our own apprenticeship bloopers to share and picked out the top 5. I’ll start with my own, but I’m holding back the other names to protect the embarrassed:*
- I had spent the better part of 2 hours meticulously slicing the most beautiful, local, organic, heirloom tomatoes you’ve ever seen for a featured salad and honestly, they looked great. As I was packing up my prep supplies and getting ready for service, I caught the corner of the container my beautiful tomatoes were in and watched helplessly as they fell from my counter (taking my career with them, or so I thought at the time), landing upside down on the floor.
- We had two identical and poorly labeled containers: One for icing sugar, the other for corn starch. I thought I was refilling the cornstarch. Several desserts were sent back before my mistake was discovered.
- I slipped on duck fat, took out a shelf and broke a decorative mirror in the fall.
- I was putting a bunch of things away in the fridge and knocked over a nearly full bucket of dijon mustard that hit the floor in the most epic splatter ever. It would probably have taken less time to paint the rest of the walk-in with mustard than it did to clean it up.
- I spent something like 2 – 2.5 hours shelling fava beans. A co-worker asked how I planned on doing the mash and (jokingly) I punched my fist into the bowl. I must have punched a lot harder than I realized because all of the beans went flying. Ironically, not a single one got mashed in the process.
Take from that what you can, my first-year friends and best of luck in your summer placements!
To my own graduating class… I’ve been trying to come up with something profound to say about all that we’ve done, worked for and been through together but I think A.A. Milne put it best so I’ll borrow his words:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
*While these stories are true, they are paraphrased from my notes and not directly quoted.
Class of 2019 photo by: Terry Manzo