Saturday, August 18, 2012

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Well, folks, it's two weeks later and I haven't posted anything else about that fancy-schmancy new chef coat. Basically, the story is this:  I have been asked to be the Executive Chef at a lodge, about 25 miles south of my place of residence. The man in charge of finding the new Exec happened to be at a wedding I catered in July.  It took him about a month to track me down and discuss the possibilities. After much finagling, foodie talk, discussion, and a little bit of sass, he still decided I was what he was looking for and said we'd keep in touch. I, in the meantime, have been writing the menu drafts and trying to figure out if it was all a dream. 

I am blown away by this opportunity. Honestly, I'm hesitating just a little, especially when it comes to telling people, because I haven't actually been down there yet and I'm feeling a you say...ummm.. "OH MY HEAVENS DID THAT ACTUALLY JUST HAPPEN?"  followed up quickly with a "WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?!"--as if my brain is convinced that one day, I'm going to wake up, realize none of this was reality, and that I'm actually just a five-year-old kid who fell asleep while playing with her little toy kitchen and her little felt-and-plastic food, in a little paper chef hat.  

In the midst of figuring out this new development, my brother moved to Utah, my little sister got married, my older sister and her husband got a dog and also pregnant, my mom came to visit, and I moved to a new apartment in a different town. The next two weeks involve getting my brother totally moved IN to Provo, getting me totally moved OUT of Provo, packing up my out-of-state childhood home and moving my mother in to our apartment. I also managed to totally blow out my left kneecap during this time, and am sleeping on the floor amidst moving boxes--still packed up, as my kitchen is fully functioning and that's where I have been spending most of my time. 

So. . . that's where I've been.  

Okay, so, the interview with the guy.  It went very well, lots of cool stuff.  (I should mention, I had no idea I was going to get offered a job at this meeting.  I assumed he wanted to talk about the theoretical/business plan side of my business, and possibly a gig or two. So I was totally floored by his proposal. But I think I played it off pretty well.) We learned a lot of things over the course of the interview. Some things *I* did not realize: (1) He was offering me a real-person job (2)....yeah that was a pretty big piece that I was missing. Some things *HE* did not realize:  (1)Not only was I NOT a graduate of LCB or the CIA culinary schools, I had never even BEEN to a culinary school. (2)Not only was I not intimidated by large events or frantic wedding families, I was not intimidated by ANYone--even when maybe I should be (him, for example). And, the kicker, Number(3): I was born and raised in Northern Idaho, and most of my extended family live in Lehi, Utah. 

That last part became a very valuable asset when he informed me (with some hesitancy) that this was a COUNTRY lodge/ranch--attempting to explain that it was WESTERN food, MEAT AND POTATOES food, COWBOYS AND INDIANS food, DUTCH OVEN AND CAST IRON food.  Food "so redneck, they are tying the to-go boxes to the rifle racks hooked to the bed of their pick-up trucks!"  

I looked at him for a second, blinked, and broke out in a grin.  
"Wellsir," says I.  "Where I come from, we call that--'food.' "

So, thank you, Idaho. Thank you, garden.  Thank you, orchard.  Thank you, camping trips. Thank you, cooking my life in a cast-iron skillet. Thank you, Mom. Thank you, farm-heritage. Thank you, pioneer family.  Thank you, 25-different-kinds-of-pie-over-the-last-2-Pi-Days. Thank you, Benadryl allergy medicine. And thank you, random citizen. 

So, bring on the bison burger, the elk steak, the dutch oven peach cobbler, the green beans 'n' bacon. There will, of course, be classy, high-end, carefully plated and meticulously portioned occasions. I hope there to be many of them.  But it's nice to have to comfort zone of cast iron pans and game meats, Walla Walla onions and Idaho potatoes, dutch ovens and apple pie.

Back to menus. Praying it all works out. I'll let all my excitement loose once I'm actually standing IN the kitchen WITH the chef coat and menus and a paycheck. But for now, cautious enthusiasm is a great start. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Paid To Be a Redneck

Today was fantastic.  I'm having a bit of a hard time processing it all, actually. Many changes, really quickly.  Potentially very good changes. 

And if I wasn't me, I'd be a little scared. 

Good thing I'm me, and am totally not scared at all of anything ever. 
:shifty eyes:

As it is, I may possibly be feeling just the tiniest bit...what's the word?  Um...nervous?  Overwhelmed? Underqualified? Extremely blessed?  Shell-shocked? Dazed? All of the above?  ("One person couldn't feel all that at once!  They'd explode!" "Just because YOU have the emotional range of a teaspoon, doesn't mean we ALL have!")

The logical, "go get 'em!" side of me is trying to run forward, seeing all there is to be done and all I have to learn and trying to fit this in to the larger context of the rest of my life--seeing how it re-organizes and re-prioritizes everything, etc. 
A smaller part of me is shrinking away, hiding in a corner, afraid.
  Most of me is still a little stunned, not really sure if everything ACTUALLY happened. 
But part of me, this little voice in my head, keeps reminding me how sweet I could look in my fancy-shmancy new Exec Chef coat. 

. . . more later. :-)