I Started Cooking at a Very Early Age. Cooking Excites ME!
From baking Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookies with “NANA Spinney” in her Boston city kitchen at age 6 to creating a Chop Suey from scratch with my father in my Intervale NH childhood home as a teen. Cooking excites me and has always fascinated me as it still does today. The great thing about cooking is that there is no wrong way to do it. Cultures from around the world have their own unique styles, ingredients, recipes, and methods, all to create an individual experience meant to delight each and every one of the body’s senses in a very gratifying way.
By 13, I had my first restaurant job
For those of you that have had the pleasure, dirty, grimy, gross, and soaking wet describes it best. I was covered in other peoples half chewed scraps and was just happy to be in a kitchen.
Most would cringe at the sight.
- Stacks of sauce covered plates
- Pots & Pans teetering up to the ceiling
- Square Plastic racks full of milk or wine-stained glasses
- Trash barrels weighing more than I
- What seemed like thousands of food covered pieces of silverware
I had the pleasure of scrubbing, spraying, sanitizing, and putting everything that is needed to make a restaurant run away. I knew that I had to learn as much as possible and make everything I came across shine.
Chris! This is a Broiler.
The introduction to my first piece professional cooking equipment was not much more than that. The restaurant where I worked at the time was a Mexican joint named “Margarita Ville.” They eventually had to rename the place to “Margarita Grille” due to the famous Jimmy Buffet’s copyright claim on the name. I had shown up to my 4 pm shift ready to spray, scrub, and run the up & down lever action “Dish Tank,” as I had done countless times before. The lead line cook named Don threw a white apron at me and informed me that his “Grill Guy” was out sick. The truth, however, was that it happened to be Friday, payday, and the gentleman had a party to go to. This same scenario would play out over and over throughout my restaurant career, but I digress.
Don handed me a spatula, a set of tongs and showed me how to cook a burger. He also showed me a neat trick where a person can feel a different part of their palm to identify how done a piece of meat is. A great article about temping meat using this method can be read here. Little did I know at the time, that this was to be the first upon hundreds, if not thousands of experiences with different cooking appliances. Since then, Grilling has always been my “Fall back,” my goto, anytime I started a position in a new kitchen
Cooking Excites Me Still To This Very Day
Nothing makes me happier than creating a new recipe for my family. Cooking Excites me when I get to see the look on my loved ones faces as they try something “Out of the Box,” (figuratively that is,) or completely new. This gives me a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. The smiles, the jokes around the dinner table. The nightly “Thanks, that was awesome,” gives me a feeling unlike any other. Food brings people together. Whether I am cooking for one person, or one thousand, the gratification is still there. As long as I tried my best and created a meal that I myself would be happy to enjoy, I feel good about it.
I have the unique opportunity to be a Freelance Restaurant Insider and would love to share my knowledge.
My experience in restaurants is as follows, (In no certain order)
- Chef de Partie/Line Cook
- Garde Manger
- Broiler Chef
- Pastry Chef
- AM Chef (Breakfast/Short Order)
- PM Chef (Closing KM)
- Pantry Chef
- Sous Chef
- Steward Manager