I have been looking for full time employment as a chef. During this time I have discovered that in the past 14 years the average salary has not really changed. This also goes for other people in the hospitality business. So the cost of living has increased by more than 50% but the pay has not! how is this possible, how do people live! why when we hear about a new pay rise for government workers! or CEO’s does the hospitality business not budge. Food costs more to buy, service costs more, businesses still make money so where is the cream for the workers.
Just my rant for today.
The very first job I had. Yes Montecarlo biscuits from scratch. Mmmmm still one of my favs. Sweet shortcrust biscuits( almost shortbread but not quite) sandwiched with apple raspberry jam and butter cream swirl. Serve chilled has always been my preference. The remainder of the first day and many from then are a blur now, but the skills knowledge and techniques remain clear. For me the best of my apprenticeship looking back would have to be the fantastic people and memories that shaped who I am today. The incredible food, produce, recipes, services etc I believe helped create my true passion for all things food.
Next entry I’ll try to recall some of the excellent meals I helped prepare and serve.
After my last post I need to clarify the names used. Much of what goes on in a government position is classified in confidence. Even after leaving. The names and explications are meant with the utmost respect to protect them and myself.
Freckles. The head Gardner. The father of the most beautiful black and white whippet x mini foxy pup.
Herbs. One of the many gardners who cared for our herb garden. He was dentally challenged so conversations often created some hilarious moments.
Bob the boat builder. Our head butler. He had a plan to build a boat in his single carport. We never saw more than plans.
Wus. The executive laundryman. I have never understood why he had this name. But he was a man blessed with memories and stories of better time when things were done the rite way “my way” as he would say.
Obviously this list does not contain all the people I met so I will endouver to introduce them as my story unveils.
Next. My first task.
Arriving for day one was more nerve racking than the interview. I was dropped of at the guard house and escorted to the kitchen.
Chef was waiting to greet me and showed me around the kitchen and introduced some staff. I will not use names but descriptive words to refer to the staff.
Kitchen assistant, old bitty. She was part of the antique manifest for the building and baked biscuits, cakes, Sunday roast and generally moped around waiting for retirement.
Kitchen hand, hairy ears. Minced around cleaning, tidying, washing and sniffing for new meet(not meat). He lived very close but was often late and under the weather.
The comptroller, sarg. As an ex-military man he liked to feet he controlled a tight ship, it was very tight but generous at the same time. Wonder if he every found out who photocopied their ass on the office machine?(roflmao)
The head footman, johnny from karate kid. Tall tanned blonde single and openly available to anything.
The head cleaning lady, oh! Really. She tried eyebrow waxing as a girl and it never grew back(maybe you don’t wax the whole thing) so with no eyebrows what is a woman to do? Of course draw them on, just a bit to high and curved, like someone saying ‘oh! Really’
The Sargent at arms, gas guts. Did you know drinking bicarbonate soda and water helps relieve gas. A very official position for an elderly decorated Sargent.
More staff to meet. Stay tuned, or not!
Oh crap I got a phone call back to attend an interview. Little did I know the position was apprentice chef to the governor of Queensland. I sure noticed when I was dropped off at the security building just past the massive ornate white gates. Ok a little more nervous now. An interview for a job with the governor is like being in a police line up(I think) you keep running the thoughts through your head about what they will find with security checks ready to say I didn’t do it.
The formal interview went well though and I was invited with the head chef to have a tour. Wow people live like this noooooo I though it was just on tv. What an eye opener, opulence like I had never seen and that was just the staff only areas, I was not cleared to see private rooms. The head chef though was to me a food god in clean pressed whites with an aura that was immediately humbling. I got the job. Why, not because of the interview but my reaction to the centre piece sculptures and vegetable carvings that chef showed.”amazing I want to learn to make these”
Next – first day – meeting the staff
Blind Luck. as with most people I knew in high school my results were, a little lower than I expected, ok a lot lower than my parents expected. So what to do, no university, no business college I know technical college. Yeah what will I study then, catering yes thats me. After 18 months studying food and catering stuff I was back where i started, just now I was holding an Associate Diploma. So one morning I decided to look in the paper for an Apprenticeship bingo there was one advertisement. so the application went in.