" /> FoodZealot.com: February 2010 Archives

« February 2009 | Main | March 2010 »

February 27, 2010

Prong #1 - Catering

It's a short month, but I'm gonna get two posts in, dang it.

The first prong of the new plan of attack is I'm working for a caterer. I'm learning the catering business because I think my skills and temperament may be better suited to that than restaurants. It's still cooking, it's still a solid days work (when there are catering gigs), but it's more project oriented in approach, organization, and timeline. Quite a bit different than a restaurant, where they goal is to be ready for anything on the menu, and make it 75 times, exactly right and exactly the same, every night. Catering is more like make it exactly right ONCE, for 75 people.

There's an interesting stigma amongst restaurant line cooks that cooks that can't hack the restaurant kitchen do catering. But catering usually is better money, shorter hours, more creativity, and less wear and tear on the body and soul.

I'll take it!

The only downside so far is that it's usually not as steady as a restaurant gig. But I'm cutting down on my monthly overhead, so that should take a little of the pressure off during the occasional slow week. And I definitely can use a little more flexibility in my schedule than when I was working 75-80 hours a week at the restaurant.

So far, so good. Today we had a good chat about how to proceed from here. We're going to push ahead with plans to keep us busy during the gaps. Gotta keep bringing the pain.

February 20, 2010

What A Difference A Year Makes...

It's been too long. Much has happened since my last post. As it turns out, Las Vegas wasn't for me. Or at least for the time being. I didn't much enjoy the corporate/casino work situation. I actually was enjoying living in LV - it snowed while I was there, and I drove through the Asiatown twice a day. I still hadn't found a Mexican restaurant that I loved, but new opportunities came calling.

I moved back to LA almost exactly a year ago. I served as a sous chef at a new cafe and bakery, which was one of the most engrossing, demanding, and challenging things I've ever done. I worked hard, did the best I could, and learned a ton. We were fortunate to be very busy, even during hard times for most restaurants. Most of the time, it was just a race to keep up with all the food we were selling. I had a great team of cooks, we figured out a lot of things as they were happening, and the guests seemed to enjoy it. Good times.

At one point, it seemed like I had found a home where I could be for a long time - indefinitely, even. There were some areas of difference of opinion, difference of style, and difference of priorities. At first, it seemed like those differences could be complementary. Ultimately, I decided, it wasn't the right fit for me. I wish them continued success and every happiness.

I spent most of January sitting in my bedroom thinking about all the things I coulda/woulda/shoulda done, but more importantly, all the things I wanna/hafta/will do next.

One of those things is writing more regularly. Perhaps the cliche'd blogger resolution. But there's a multi-pronged plan in the works. More on that as it develops. Thanks for reading.