Culinary Quote Dump Day: People in kitchens can be dangerous


“It’s amazing the relationships you forge in a kitchen. When you cooperate in an environment that’s hot. Where there’s a lot of knives. You’re trusting your well-being with someone you’ve never before met or known.”

~ Alexandra Guarnaschelli

“my college doesn’t allow us to carry pepper spray for self defense cause they claim its a weapon.

i’m at culinary school.

every single student is carrying several hundred dollars worth of knives around with them and they teach classes on how to break down whole animals easily with said knives.

but no pepper spray.

no that’s way too dangerous”

~ determinationandaspatula (tumblr)

(Original post: )

“This is a world where everyone you work with has plenty of boiling liquids, blunt objects and sharp knives ready at hand. Have a sense of humor – you’ll need it.”

~ Chef Harold (posted on

“Those who are so eager for women and girls to go back to the kitchen might think again about just what it is we might be up to in there. You can plan a lot of damage from a kitchen. It’s also where the knives are kept.”

~ Laurie Penny

“Do not taunt a man for wearing chef pants. He has sharper knives than you, and he knows how to use them.”

~ Author Unknown


Today’s Quote: “…awake, hungry and totally wired at 2am on a Tuesday”

“…anyone who willingly turns their life upside down by becoming a cook is totally insane to begin with. So many chefs that I have met are dyslexic and totally not school people or intellectuals. That could be symbolic of the kind of lifestyle that they choose to live. They all drink a lot, do a lot of drugs, drink a shitload of coffee and espresso. They don’t sleep much, and obviously don’t have much of a life outside the kitchen. A cook’s friend is a cook, there isn’t much time for a non-cook friend or girlfriend. And time really isn’t the issue so much as it’s a lifestyle and a culture that is very hard to understand or identify with unless you are on the inside. Cooks hang out with cooks because there is nobody else awake, hungry and totally wired at 2am on a Tuesday.”

~ Jennifer Topper, “29 Jobs and a Million Lies”

Quizzes to pass the time

I'm a muffin!

"You are very laid back, calm, and collected. Muffins are sorta spongey, and tend to soak up they're surroundings. You're alert, but you don't make a big deal out of it. Muffins can also be softies, so don't let anyone push you around! But that shouldn't be too much of a problem, since muffins are loved by so many people!"

Righhhhhhhhhhht…. loved by so many people, calm and collected…. <snerk>!  At least they got the "sorta spongey" correct.

I'm also ketchup, apple crisp, and an egg salad sandwich (gross!).  This is the sort of stupid stuff I do when I get bored at work.  If you're bored too, go play on Quizilla.


"Hmmm… Do you have an interest in being a chef??  Perhaps you should look into it. Being a chef doesn't mean just working in the back of some crowded kitchen chopping vegetables all day. You can be so creative!  And chefs are a lot more famous than you think, nowadays especially.  Forget the rumors that cooking requires math – that's a load of crap. Just watch some Food Network, study some cookbooks, and practice!"

Wait… cooking doesn't require math?  Then why did I have to take TWO math-based classes in culinary school? If you don't have a good grasp on your costs and how to control them–you shouldn't be allowed to run a restaurant.  I've seen several examples of how good restaurants were dragged under by shitty cost control.

And to end:

MySpace Layouts

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Something I haven’t mentioned…

While I still work one day a week at the bakery, I'm now working full-time for a computer company in tech support.  This is an increase in pay with better hours, but I miss the kitchen.  On the up side, I now have more time, and customers, for my little sideline baking not-quite-a-business.  It's amazing how many people here want cookies, cupcakes, tarts, and all kinds of cakes.  I even have a set of wedding cakes scheduled for later this summer (this included a groom's cake shaped like Moya).  I also started working as a personal chef for a friend once a week.  While I'm not sure I'd want to do that for a living, we're trading professional services and her skills come in very handy.

It's amazing how happy I was to be involved with high tech again.  One of these days I'll find a way to combine it with my obsession with pastries.  And on that day–I'll be a truly content person.

Update: My friend that I'm trading work with is a talented programmer and interior decorator, but the most useful skill that I plan on taking advantage of, is her organizational skill.  Yes, people paid her lots of money to organize their homes and offices.  Bartering services rocks!

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‘Top Chef’ Dreams Crushed by Student Loan Debt

That's the title of an article in the Online Ledger by Kim Severson.  It kinda goes like this:

"Mr. Park wanted to be a chef. So like tens of thousands of other young people who grew up in the age of kitchen celebrities like Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse, he enrolled in culinary school.

Two years after graduation, all the “Bam!” has been drained from the dream. Mr. Park makes $10.50 an hour at a bistro in Austin best known for its French fries, trying to pay down his student loans. While he dodges phone calls from the bank, his mother helps him make his $705 monthly payments, almost twice his weekly take-home pay.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” Mr. Park, 29, said before starting another night shift at the Hyde Park Bar and Grill. “I put my degree on applications, and they make fun of me for it.” "

What Ms. Severson doesn't know, or doesn't care about, is that, in my opinion, Mr. Park is a lackluster cook.  How do I know this?  Because he managed to lower my grade in a class when I had him for a partner.  After that experience, I made sure that my class partners were set up weeks in advance to avoid dealing with him again.  I'd describe him as worse than lackluster, but he may have improved after graduation… maybe, but probably not.  And in school, he really sucked; once again, that is simply my opinion.    And I documented this in a few of my old culinary school posts.  Here are a few of them:

An introduction to my Partner from Hell
Good use for a saute pan
Wanna pan-fry his head…
I will never partner with him again!
Read the second paragraph
Read the second paragraph here too
Read the second and fifth paragraph

I finally got tired of even thinking about him by our third class and ignored him as much as possible after that.  Why did my name for him change so much?  At first, some of us at school thought that he was 'chemically enhanced', but it didn't take long to notice the strong odor of alchohol that wafted off of him almost every day. 

Now you're asking yourself, what does any of that have to do with crushing student loan payments that were completely unexpected?  They weren't unexpected.  I know he had to sign the same disclaimer that I did… the one that stated that we'd be LUCKY to make $20,000 a year after graduation.  And 16% interest on the loan?  <cough>STUPID!<cough>  You never sign something you don't understand, 'specially if money is involved.

My final and most important point is that many of us knew that culinary pay sucks when you start out, and for many, the rest of your career.  We didn't go to culinary school to become the next celebrity chef–we did this because we're insane–or passionate about food–depending on your point of view. But if Rick's work in the culinary field is anything like his work in many of his classes, I'm not surprised that he's having problems. He liked food, he just didn't seem to be any good handling it (yes, I'm still upset at him for dragging down my grade). I think the only thing I regret about culinary school is physically restraining one of my classmates when she was ready to slam Rick upside the back of his head with a frying pan. That would have been worth the money.

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