- September 24, 2007
A bit like the famous Bill Shankley quote “Football isn’t a question of life or death – it’s more important than that”, cooking being more important than life came out of a great New York Times article about Gordon Ramsay.
Marco Pierre White was the reason why Gordon Ramsay is the 3 star chef that he is today – saying to himself when he met Marco in the late 80’s, “There’s Jesus” !
So, if it interests you, here’s the article in full – not a bad insight – http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/02/070402fa_fact_buford
Before my course starts (2 wks and counting) I’m allowing myself the luxury of reading articles about cooks and food – looking for inspiration, motivation, knowledge, references. If there’s a nagging worry for me it’s only my temperament (quand même, un point assez important !) – I can be pretty touchy (Daz / Steve / Brian, no comments thank you !) and that simply won’t do in the kitchen. But at the moment I can feel a burning desire inside me – I’m sure that I’ve found the activity (I can’t call it a job) in which I can lose myself, let go, go with the flow…..the next feew months will tell me….between now and New Year I’ll have 42 days at school and 18 in the restaurant.
- September 22, 2007
I remember when I first did work experience when I was 16 years old – I said that I fancied doing Advertising (ended up at “The Advertiser”, a free newspaper in Gosforth in the suburbs of Newcastle On Tyne….I think that I envisaged skyscrapers / big city / sharp suits / high concepts..!!)…obviously not true, but I didn’t have a single clue what I wanted to do (did you??!)….saying that, I still didn’t when I was 19, or when I started my degree at 21, but by that point I was already on a computing degree and thus my career choice seemed obvious…..well, I’ll work in computers won’t I…13 years and 1 “off year” in NZ and I’m still in computers…..but now I’m on the verge of starting my second “work experience” (called a “stage” over here) in a top restaurant in the centre of Paris (owned by Gérard Dépardieu) with a Michelin star chef (Laurent Audiot), and I have to say that this time I’m a hell of a lot more sure of where I’m headed.
So, 22 years later and I’m off to share a kitchen with 12 other young / older chefs / sous-chefs / apprentis. Here’s the link for the web site for the resto – there’s an English version…http://www.la-fontaine-gaillon.com/uk/
- September 20, 2007
alors, c’est parti !!!
My funding has been validated and I’ll be starting my course in just over 2 weeks time (8th Oct)…..elated, chuffed,….they will pay a total of 24000€, which ain’t bad.
Now the planning starts, going to top restaurant “Fontaine Gaillon” tomorrow to check it out with my future teacher from the course (M. Charron). Then need to check out a few others, before I decide which one to use for my “work experience” in a Parisian kitchen….this is the fun bit before the hard work.
- September 18, 2007
today was the appeal committee and normally my “adviser” should have contacted me to let me know personally what the outcome was…..but I ain’t got an adviser….I’ve got a “gestionnaire”, a person who just follows the procedure ! Madame Radel…I won’t forget her name in a hurry….let’s just hope that the committee have seen through Radel’s lethargy and give me the funding…..I’m meant to do this, it’s my destiny….but a fu*king administrator might just bollox things up for me.
It’s just dragging on and on and on…..”so here’s to you Mrs Radel….”
- September 11, 2007
Still in the throes of finalising our proposition for the Fongecif (funding of my project), but if this last week has taught me anything it’s that this training is something that I MUST do.
Simply facing the very real prospect of having no funding during 7 months has enabled me to answer my 1st basic question : am I ready to face the drop in income during the training ? Well, I can quite unequivocally say “YES, I am ready” ! I am so mentally geared up, ready and waiting for this training that the prospect of not doing it at all and continuing with my job is simply not possible / unthinkable…..
- September 6, 2007
Stevie sent me “mate, sorry to hear about the funding.. I didn’t know whether to add this into the diary or just post my comments in a personalised message! Any latest?? see you soon.. you can cook for me if you like?! Seriously, though, hope it works out”…..basically my wife spent the day trying to find a way of reducing the length of the training…we’re on the way, but even then it’s not sure that the Appeal Committee will accept.
Whatever happens, I’m doing the training, but just means that I’ll be living off 30% of my salary and paying 5500€ for the pleasure.
But I really feel that this is where I want to go….talked today with my boss about the possibility of working part-time..could be a solution.
Watch this space.
- September 5, 2007
New hope – if I shorten the length of the Cuisine course then there may be a chance….we’ve got to see how to manage to cut off 1 month….I may have to get one of my former restaurants to send me a letter saying that I spent 6 months working in their kitchen….even then it’s not sure that they accept my dossier.
Enfin bon, it ain’t dead, but….
- September 4, 2007
Tuesday morning, Fongecif refuse my funding – “my application would cost too much and there were lots of other people whose need was greater”.
So, the first step and the first knock-back. Time to start negotiating with the Fongecif, and calculating the cost to us as a family if we have to pay for this ourselves……that’s really going to put the pressure on….ain’t what I needed for my project.
Calling the Fongecif at midday….we’ll see.
- September 3, 2007
Finally the d-day is nearly here – tomorrow I’ll be getting the decision from the fongecif (the organisation to which all companies contribute which allows people like me to have their salary paid whilst they follow a long training course). Will they pay 90% of my salary and the training fees for the 7 months of my French Cuisine diploma course ? I’ll find out tomorrow.
For me, this is the start of a whole new chapter – am I cut out to be a chef and then a restaurant owner / chef ? I’m pretty sure that I could make it work….and I am absolutely positive that I will give it my all during the next 12 months.
I’ve been thinking about a restaurant for many years – ever since my ealry days as a waiter in Newcastle, up until a 3 day training course a couple of years ago at the Grégoire Ferrandi school here in Paris. Since then it’s been full on thinking / reading / meeting chefs / planning / preparing the letter of motivation / sorting things out with Capgemini &, of course, cooking.
Tomorrow is all about someone else showing that they believe in me. I believe in me, but this is already going to be a tough trip – I give myself 5 years to have a restaurant (I’ll be 43, Ant 45, the kids 9 & 10) – and I really feel that I need at this early stage a positive external sign.