When I first got into this cooking thing by a chance meeting dropping a friend off at his part time job, I never expected to learn a trade, start a career or become a chef.
In the early years one of the other chefs told me to read a book by Anthony Bourdain to get a little perspective on the kitchen lifestyle or what becoming a chef really means. That book is Kitchen Confidential, The book on which the short lived tv series by the same name staring a young Bradley Cooper was spawned.
I have actually owned 3 copies of this book, I never lend it out any more. I have read it many times, I always turn back to it when the common feeling of unworthiness/doubt that rears its ugly head in this business gets too heavy. It is inspirational and urge aspiring chef s to give a few good reads, there is also audio book versions for ipod generation to plug into their ears.
Few people on the planet have lived the kind of globetrotting and adventure-filled life that chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain has. Here are some of his rules to live by that have inspired me:
1.) “Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.”
2.) “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”
3.) “Don’t lie about it. You made a mistake. Admit it and move on. Just don’t do it again. Ever”
4.) “What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?”
5.) “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”
6.) “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.”
7.) “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”
8.) “Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom…is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
9.) “I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”
10.) “Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”
11.) “We know, for instance, that there is a direct, inverse relationship between frequency of family meals and social problems. Bluntly stated, members of families who eat together regularly are statistically less likely to stick up liquor stores, blow up meth labs, give birth to crack babies, commit suicide, or make donkey porn. If Little Timmy had just had more meatloaf, he might not have grown up to fill chest freezers with Cub Scout parts.”
12.) “Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”
13.) “Luck is not a business model.”
14.) “There’s something wonderful about drinking in the afternoon. A not-too-cold pint, absolutely alone at the bar – even in this fake-ass Irish pub.”
15.) “Under ‘Reasons for Leaving Last Job’, never give the real reason, unless it’s money or ambition.”
16.) “It’s very rarely a good career move to have a conscience.”
22.) “Without new ideas success can become stale.”
23.) “But I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.”
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