Sunday, November 22, 2009

missing LA

No, I would not say that I'm homesick. I would definitely say that I'm not ready to move back. However, every day, there are certain little things about LA that I miss. So, I thought I would make a list for fun...

* Seeing my friends in person-- phone calls are wonderful. but there is nothing like being able to see and touch someone.
* happy hour- discounted drinks and good times with friends.
* networking events. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed them until they are gone--- free drinks at amazing locations in LA, while strumming up new business.
* in line with the last one- having connections. We don't know anyone or anything here.
* Walking down Hillhurst in Los Feliz. I can still see exactly how all of the shops and restaurants are lined up.
* Del Taco & Carl's Jr.
* authentic tacos & good mexican food
* Spaghetti factory- specifically the Mizithra cheese
* knowing what the weather is going to be like from day to day-- while the guessing game here is fun, I miss the consistency of it.
* having a full wine fridge. and just good wine in general.
* palm trees
* wearing high heels & professional clothing.
* pilates
* the front yard pool parties

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I am so conflicted about blogging. I'm not sure I've written about this before, but it is something that has been on my mind for awhile. Perhaps, it is the reason that I have not blogged as much as I would like. So, here is my questions--- how truthful can/should one be in a blog??? I have a couple of blogs I read regularly and appreciate the painful truth in their writing. My heart goes out to each one of them.

There is so much I need to say...want to say...could reportabout day-to-day life. Yet, I don't. I don't know if I want people to know my struggles and challenges. I have a hard enough dealing with the truth of life. How appropriate is it to put the truth out there and have others deal with it? And once I've put those challenges out there, and now someone else is dealing with them or acknowledging them, is it okay to move on? It always helps me to talk about things in order to move on. So, if I put something out there, is it okay that I am then ready to move past it? Sometimes it feels as though I've taken my burden and handed it off to someone else. That is never my intention. I never want anyone else to endure the emotional roller coasters. I've spent majority of my life trying to help people so that they don't have to suffer at all.

This brings up another important question....does anyone even read this blog? If not, this is all a moot point. I am simply writing to the internet void and not affecting a soul. If that is the case, the blog can become a means to communicate and work my way through things. But how does one know? Is there anyone out there? Does anyone read this? Or have I lost you all completely? I suppose that would be a good place to start. Once I know if and who reads this, I can then figure out how much I want you all to know.

I just don't know how honest I'm ready to be....especially with the ones we've left back home. When you make a decision to make a big change, whatever it may be, it is hard to admit it is not always easy. There are a lot of challenges, every step of the way. I know I need the help of my loved ones to get through it all. But I'm not ready for them to know. I'd rather they think we are doing amazing. That everything is simply fantastic....because in so many ways it is. It just isn't easy. I don't regret one aspect of the decision. I was just foolish to think the move would be a smooth transition.

I don't really know where I'm going with this. I guess I just needed to let it all out and apologize for not being more raw. I just don't know if I'm ready. But perhaps it is what I need.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

when everything else goes away...

More and more lately I've become aware of how soothing the kitchen really is. All of the day's troubles just wash away. That's not to say that the kitchen is not stressful. As my parents will tell you, I can become really stressed when trying to get a meal on the table. When they were here a few weeks ago, we got into a bit of a tiff over getting "Thanksgiving dinner" out and hot. No one was ready to eat, there was no room to put the food, and it was getting cold very quick due to our freezing weather.

Anyhow, I'm just saying the kitchen can make a lot of stress disappear. I had forgotten this. My classes lately have consisted of learning about terroirs, fermenting in steel versus oak, and how to speak French. All very stressful, to say the least. But we were let loose in a kitchen once again and it felt soooo good.

I know some of you wonder what it is like to be in culinary school. Is it really like what you see on tv??? Surprisingly, it kind of is, just a lot less screaming. Today, we had to complete production for both today and tomorrow. Because of Thanksgiving, we are squeezing two days into each one day in order to be able to cover the same amount of material. This just means a lot more work and moving a lot quicker.

We start class every day at 7:00am sharp! If you show up at 7:01am, you are late and will be docked points. I do my best to get there by 6:45am every day. Lately, its been closer to 7:50am though. That leaves me just enough time to get out of my layers of a coat, scarf, beanie, and sometimes gloves. I have to put on my uniform, take out my books, grab a stool, and organize my area in that 10 minutes. At 7:00am, we step out into the hallway for brigade. Here, the chef instructor checks to make sure we have every piece of the uniform needed- from neckerchief to sharpie to thermometer to nametag. The chef instructor is also making sure our uniform is pressed, shoes are shined, nails are cut, girls' hair is completely hidden under the hat, and men are freshly shaven. Its write this out, it sounds so foreign and strange. Yet, this is what I have gone through every day for the past 4 months. Funny...what can become normal in such a small amount of time.

Anyhow, once we have passed the test, we go back inside for lecture. This may include powerpoint and/or a demo of some sort. Today, our chef instructor awed us with his knife skills. I have never seen anyone cut like this. It was amazing. At one point, I wanted to pack up my stuff and go home, as to not be embarrassed when my turn came. He can even turn a potato into a 7-sided dradle-like shape behind his back. I'm sure that does not sound anywhere near as impressive as it is. Let's just say, I've barely mastered creating the shape and can only do it when under extreme pressure. This chef can do it with his eyes closed...literally. AMAZING!!!

Anyhow, we got a short break and than a little past 8:00am we got to it. We had until 11:15am to make the following:
*lemon parsley vinaigrette
*balsamic vinaigrette
*tomato vinaigrette
*Caesar salad (dressing, croutons and all-- made from scratch)
*roasted pepper salad

After we completed each dressing, he had to okay it before we could move on to the next. At 11:15am, we had to have the two salads plated and ready for his critique. I know the list may not seem very long. But you also have to keep in mind we have to wash our dishes prior to starting the next item. We do not have five of everything. Just one whisk, usually one bowl, one chef's knife, one set of measuring spoons, etc. So, everything must be cleaned before moving on. It is pretty insane, and I'm sure amusing to watch. On top of that, everything we cut must be a certain size. For example, the roasted peppers all had to be in 1/2" slices. Prior to coming to culinary school, I didn't even know what 1/2" looked like. Now its something I must create without any thought.

At one point today, I took a step back to take it all in. All I could do was laugh. We had about 25 people with their heads down, chopping quickly, and mumbling recipes to themselves to make sure nothing was forgotten. It was hilarious sight. We all looking like fools speaking jibberish while waving knifes around.

It is pretty incredible when you break it down. So, I thought I would share. Just give you all a little piece of my day-to-day. I hope it helps you imagine things a little better. Or at least give you a reason to smile. Little Chef Soto has made it through one more day without cutting her finger off.

That means it is a good day.