My work visa hasn’t come through and so my job is over at the end of this month. I’m bummed. On one hand, I physically need time off to heal – carpal tunnel has developed so badly in both my hands that when I wake up they are numb and I have to pump them open and closed to get feeling back. God knows the long hours aren’t helping my marriage or my social network either. My husband often makes jokes about his “nonexistent” wife and most of my friends don’t call me anymore because they know I’m not around.
But on the other hand, I love what I do…
Just when I was really beginning to understand the food at Guy Savoy on a deeper level this has to happen. I have seen three seasons come and go and with them some of the most beautiful traditional French cuisine in Paris. I have made it through the hunting season preparing and cooking game that is rarely served in America. And, I have braved out the traditional French mostly male kitchen environment permanently leaving my mark (I hope!).
Moreover, it’s become my second family and I know that when I go I will never see any of them again. The kitchen is it’s own underworld and once you leave it you’re gone forever – like a man overboard – gone. This saddens me the most.
Funny how you start to see things differently when you know you are leaving. I sometimes look at the piano – the 15 foot stove – and wonder how many cooks have lit it’s burners, spilled various liquids upon it, seared meat, blanched vegetables, plated hundreds of meals upon it’s hot plaques. It’s like a ship that rides out the changing of the seasons with different crews of cooks succeeding or failing miserably under the pressure. And trust me, I have seen more than a few cooks fail.
I’ve been very lucky to receive the training I’ve been given at Guy Savoy. There were many times that my training was as painful, embarrassing, exhausting as it was rewarding but that’s the breaks in a 3-star restaurant. My boss, Chef Damien Le Bihan, gave me the opportunity to work the viande station with him and prepare and cook all the meat for the restaurant. I know that all the young guys wanted my position and I’m sure they will be scrambling for it when I go.
Who wouldn’t want to work with the sous chef of the restaurant and learn how to cook meat, meat, meat? But chef Le Bihan decided that a woman could do the job for the first time in the restaurant’s history – merci par tout chef!
I have a lot of respect for the stamina it takes to be a true Chef. I know my training has been excellent. If I can take the heat at Guy Savoy, I can take the heat anywhere in the world – Bring it!!!
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