Annual Year Review: 2012, The Year of Growth
I will join my fellow bloggers in the annual year-end round up of reviews and reflections. 2012 was a hard year, but a good one. I like to see it as the groundwork for all the good things to come in 2013. For me, it was the start of something new and the foundation for a new career and a happier work experience. I found something I love to do in a place with people I enjoyed being with.
I started 2012 with misgivings about the advertising industry and a hesitance toward returning to the food industry, even though that was the environment I was craving. All I can remember about the beginning of that year was a sense of apprehension. Do I really want to go back into the late night shifts, smelling of food, no weekends off, must work all holidays routine of a food career?
I suppose, in some ways I made it work for me. That has been one of my life-long goals; to make your circumstances work for you, not you working for your circumstances. I decided to treat it as a business, where I set the hours and I get the results I had envisioned. I picked up a private chef gig with the greatest little family I could have hoped for. Aside from their insistence on a semi-vegetarian diet, it was a heaven to work for them. The pay is great, I had freedom to cook anything I wanted (so long as I don’t feed them red meat of any kind), and all weekends and holidays were always off (and most paid for). Unfortunately, I live in Los Angeles, and even with all those perks, there just wasn’t enough money to meet my expenses. I needed another job. And quite frankly, more experience in the kitchen.
And I got one. At a restaurant. Back to the grind. For the first six months I worked all morning shifts, three days a week, Friday/Sat/Sun. I had a lot of fun, I learned a hell of a lot, and I was cooking on the line. But after the newness wore off, it got really tiring serving food to an empty room of 10-12 hungover brunchers. I wanted more.
I switched restaurants only to discover that just because the atmosphere is more upscale, the food is not necessarily better and the work environment is a whole lot worse for those extra bucks. A brief stint there sent me running and screaming back to my old restaurant.
Six more months later, my work load seems light on paper but was tearing at me in all directions mentally. I was cooking for my client from 3-7 and was at the restaurant 7-11. I had weekends off and was lucky enough to get most of the major holidays off too. But what was I learning?
I had pretty much maxed out on my client’s end, there’s only so many family friendly vegetarian meals you can make before they start driving you crazy. And my line cook job at the restaurant started to feel like I was just heating up a few things and assembling them together rather than actually cooking. I realized then that I needed a change. In a way, the whole year has been a lead up to what, I think, will be an incredible 2013. The stones of the foundation of have been set and there’s only one way to go from there, up.
There are a few goals on the verge of being achieved that make 2013 a good year already.
2012 was the year of growth and 2013 will be the year of opportunity. There’s only bright things ahead!
When experimenting with interesting meat and different cuts, sometimes, you have to give up one thing to get a completely new dish. I originally wanted to do a rabbit ragu but couldn’t find any rabbit at any butcher shop so went for the oxtail instead. Oxtail can be somewhat bland so you have to make sure you season it properly.
Hearty and delicious!
Turkey Zucchini Burgers
Roasted Yams with Figs and Balsamic Glaze
Easy side dish with exciting twists.
Mushroom and Leek Stroganoff
This is a great vegetarian alternative to beef stroganoff.