Kitchen & Housewares

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Real You

The Real You

Some say that we are like onions and that with time we pull back the layers to get to the real you. But with about fifty different varieties of onions which are we before we begin to peel back the layers? Onions very pungent vegetables in any variety and if you are a chef like myself, with the proper heat (tribulation) we become sweet. Funny, we sweat to become sweet so I guess in some ways we are like the onion but again we have:

Viladia - It is an unusually sweet variety of onion, due to the low amount of sulfur in the soil in which the onions are grown.

- Yellow onions are full-flavored and are a reliable standby for cooking almost anything. The red onion, with its wonderful color, is a good choice for fresh uses or in grilling and char-broiling. White onions are the traditional onion used in classic mexican cuisine, they have a golden color and sweet flavor when sautéed.

Hawaiian - are a sweet and delicious variety of onion. Their taste is famous and is popular to use as flavoring snack foods. Some love the mild taste of the onions so much they can eat them raw like an apple.

Red - These onions tend to be medium to large in size and have a mild to sweet flavor. They are often consumed raw, grilled or lightly cooked with other foods, or added as color to salads.

Shallot - are much favored by chefs because of their firm texture and sweet, aromatic, yet pungent, flavor. a relative of the onion, and tastes a bit like an onion, but has a sweeter, milder flavor.

Scallion - the scallion also known as spring onion, the upper green portion is hollow. It lacks a fully developed root bulb. Harvested for their taste, they are milder than most onions.

Ramps - The flavor, a combination of onions and strong garlic, adaptable to almost any food style. Ramps are most commonly fried with potatoes in bacon fat.
Chives - uses for chives involve shredding its leaves for use as condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. Because of this, it is a common household herb.

But with too much heat, we burn and become bitter. Sounds like some women I know lol :], so again we are like that onion.
Some of us never see heat and for the most part are eaten raw and so again, what type of onion are you? Are you bitter by nature, sweet, low key, mild, spicy, bland, and very impressionable? Taking on the characteristics of anyone else or do you stand out in a crowd? Not saying any of them are negative, just know who the real you Is. A lot of times we conform or transform into what we perceive others want us to be (a leader, when we are born follower, or vice versa). Leaders can’t lead without great followers so the second in command is just as important as the chief. A great chef is nothing without a great sous chef and strong cooks and dish and servers you can no longer call yourself a chef.
I am a leader; I know this because through my fire and heat I realized who the “Real Me” is. Some might say conceit, but I like the word “swagger” but if I was an onion I would say I have an abundance of FLAVOR.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Next Level

Going from PAL to AAU
From High School to College
From College to Professional
The next level is great but with it comes new problems, experiences, attitudes and accountability.
Next Level is rarely easy or a smooth transition, regardless of how good you are.
People like Lebron, Kobe, and Kevin are very rare being able to skip a level and have great success.
Even then there are things not acquired from skipping the prior level.
And at a different level it may take longer because you don’t have the proper training.
Don’t always be in a rush to make it to the next level.

The Next Level for me is going from triple A to the pros. Every job or sport has a level, take school for example: Pre-School to Elementary to Middle School to High School to College to Grad School or High School to College to Semi Pro to Minor League to the Pros.
What level are you on? I always tried to skip levels but for proper growth you have to go through the proper preparation for the next level. Saying “you have to crawl before you can walk” is so true. To be a great chef isn’t just being able to cook but making others around you better. Chef to me means Leader, General, Composer, Bitch, Babysitter, as much as I don’t want to be the last two sometimes in order for my kitchen to run smooth I wear many hats and those are two of them. My Next Level is Elite Chef where I am in command of one project solely. My own place no longer weighed down by someone else’s vision or lack of vision for that matter.
You have to be true to yourself, when gauging what level you are on not having formal training has afforded me to work through a lot of issues personally which in my opinion is the best way to see how to and how not to deal with business and learning on some else’s dime while collecting a check has allowed me to learn purchasing, BOH management, sales and butchering.
Every aspect of being a chef and owner and now I can take it to the next level. But the most important part of moving on and moving up is knowing “The Real You”.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sorry Mr. Bynum

Sorry Mr. Bynum
Sorry Mr. Bynum we’re going in a different direction.
Sorry Mr. Bynum your credit has been denied
Sorry Mr. Bynum you haven’t made the cut
Sorry Mr. Bynum your parents make too much
Sorry Mr. Bynum the job has been filled
Sorry Mr. Bynum you just don’t have what it takes
Sorry Mr. Bynum you not smart enough, athletic enough
Sorry Mr. Bynum you’re Too Dark

These words have been said over the years that have been permanently embedded in my brain, that have changed my life, not like some may think. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yes but only if you allow it to. Sometimes what doesn’t kill you can make you weaker, or discourage you or turn you into a zombie or even worse a monster. There is a fine line between confidence and conceit, life and death, greatness and failure, but you must possess the tools that allow you to embody greatness.
[Character, Integrity, the Ability to Lead and Follow, Humility and Strength to Go On]

In any profession there will be opposition if you want to be anything besides mediocre it come with the territory. Be it because your black, white, mixed, skinny , fat , tall, because your fingernails are too long there will always be someone there saying sorry Mr. or Ms. It could even be yourself saying “I’m not good enough” or you hear it so much that it becomes true to you. When that time comes reach back into the crevice of your mind and pull on to that ray of hope and say to you “I Deserve More.”There were plenty of days I cried thinking I would never make it. Why do I have to work twice as hard to make half as much? And on top of that being passed up for something I feel I worked so hard for. Why do things the right way when I can be a “shoe maker” like everyone else? And step on this person and that person to get where I want to be and possibly get paid more.

When I would walk into a kitchen and be the only black person there and them say “that n…a” and be called “that n…a.” In a cooking class where they destroyed my projects and went through my thing never once did I think maybe I should be doing something else? Let nothing or no one tell you that you can’t accomplish anything you want to. You always have a choice to stop or keep going. “I came to a fork in the road and went straight” said by Jay-Z. Let the words fuel you to try harder be better, not bitter. Many people come out of hardship hard and cold but you should be more in tuned to someone’s pain and help them through it. I choose Jay-Z as a mentor because he had hardships and turned it into a brand, a DYNASTY if you will that is recognized globally. It has stretched his brand in a areas that would have never known him or been inspired by him, not just through his music but by his master minding. Focal points, vision boards, know what you want and go after it. I’ve made mistakes along the way and so will you but make sure you learn from each mistake. Just like in cooking don’t throw the sauce in the garbage, transform it into something that can be used. “Every mistake is an occasion for something new,” new sauce, new song, new idea, a lot of great things were made by mistake.

My greatness is fueled by someone mistaking me for worthless, not good enough. Don’t get me wrong I knew I was going to be great as a kid, I just didn’t know how or through what outlet. If I listened to what others said to me or what I said at times when I thought I was less of a man it wouldn’t have worked. All these situations lead me to this point it’s not by chance. I’m here; this moment was 31 years in the making all this labor, all this pain and heartache has brought me here to THE NEXT LEVEL.