21 August 2006

A-hunting she will go

A big, enthusiastic 'howdy' to you all. Chefette is back from a brief hiatus, which encompassed a three-week holiday with the Husband, lots of catching up with friends, and a mini assault on some chores. Think of it as Chefette's petite fermeture annuelle.

Before I forget, heartfelt thanks to those (few) of you who were kind enough to notice and lament the dearth of Chefette postings these past several weeks. Possibly all the rest of you have been on holiday, and would have noticed and lamented eventually. . .

Now, of course, the pleasures of student life have come to an end, and the job hunt has officially kicked off. I have already had the good fortune of two job offers, but neither one was what I'm particularly looking for. The first came before I went away on hols, which was a chance to be the manager of the food side at a local neighbourhood deli. While it might have been fun working in the neighbourhood, it was truly a managerial role, and there wouldn't have been much hands-on cooking. Plus, the fact that there would have been five (!) different owners to report to and keep happy didn't really seem a great situation to be going into as a novice food manager.

The other offer -- a commis chef position with a corporate contract caterer -- came last Tuesday. The manager there remembered me from a work experience stint I did with the company last December, and called me as soon as the company got my CV. I asked him if I could work there for a day or two before making my decision, which turned out to be a good move, as it helped me to narrow down my focus. I've come to the conclusion that I need to be working someplace where the food inspires me, and not just somewhere the hours would be good. Don't get me wrong, it felt great to be back in a commercial kitchen for a couple of days, helping with the mise-en-place and working a couple of lunchtime services. But the food they were doing simply didn't turn my head. And let's face it, life is too short to be turning out food you don't love!

So it's back to the drawing board, and getting out more CVs. I'm starting with local restaurants / gastropubs, and if that doesn't work out I'll be expanding to other ideas. People, wish me luck!!

Meanwhile, Chefette is trying to keep her skills up with lots of entertaining and adventurous home cooking. Had a good success at a dinner party for 6 last week with a variation on a Jamie Oliver recipe for tortellini of ricotta, lemon, parmesan and sage butter*. It took
me around 90-minutes to roll out, fill and shape c. 3 dozen tortellini, but these little efforts in the name of Pasta Practice are all good. By the end I was pressing and folding and churning out the little critters in record time. Well, at least I seemed to get a little faster.

* recipe can be found in Return of the Naked Chef, page 120

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