Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I've been thinking about my years as a chef. I worked as a restaurant line cook, and pastry chef/baker/caterer for 13 years. There are endless stories during that period.
I learned how hard that work really is. I started as a pot washer, moved up to prep cook, then to line cook. On my own time, I studied with a pastry chef at another restaurant, and taught myself the fine art of garde' Manger. (Cutting up fruit and vegetables to look like flowers and birds) Sadly, that is becoming a lost art, due to cost cutting. It is labor intensive. My years in art school, studying sculpture and carving came in handy for that art. As a caterer, my knowledge of color mixing made my arrangements of crudités very pretty.
The camaraderie of restaurant kitchens is wonderful. There are plenty of loud arguments, and jockeying for position among cooks, but a good kitchen is a well oiled machine. Aside from the head chef, the expeditor is the top of the food chain with good reason. Orders are lined up as they come in, but different cooks do different parts of the order in different times. The expeditor must be able to coordinate this in his/her head through sometimes hundreds of orders. At one restaurant I worked in, the average lunch number was 400. Chaos quickly ensues if the expeditor loses track.
Of course I am too old now to do kitchen work but I believe all of that practice influences my self discipline, coordination and love for puzzles and challenges as a painter. I believe all of our non art life experiences are very important to our painting skills.
Life is good for artists...

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