Saturday, December 09, 2006


It's been a long while since I last posted...I know, I'm bad at updating and shouldn't hassle others about not updating too.

Life as a full time chef is finally starting to become more acceptable (for lack of better word)-the lack of structure in rosters, unsociable hours, ridiculous demands on the body due to lack of sleep & proper nourishment......bla bla bla and the list goes on. I am still getting used to it and am in a constant state of knackered-ness but I'm slowly coming to terms with the nature of the industry.

About a month ago, I finally dragged my rear end to a physio to find out what was wrong with my thumb/wrist. It had been sore (& occasionally really painful) for a good few months but I thought it'd go away after while and I was just getting used to full time work. But it never went away and got worse. So it was off to the physio, then to a GP to get ACC. Since then, after a heap of forms to fill in (this is coz I am an accredited employee-way too many procedures to go through!), I finally got my claim approved. That's the good news. The bad news is there is a high chance of my needing to get cortisone injections!!! I'm not looking forward to those but if it doesn't get any better soon it's not a choice. In the mean time, I'm working in a constant state of sore-ness....

I don't regret the career path I have chosen despite all the negatives of the job. I still remember the sense of familiarity I felt on my first day of work and that is what gets me out of bed each day despite how tired I feel. I enjoy the challenge of a busy service-docket machine screaming at a rate of 1 docket per second, the head chef calling out the dockets at the top of his lungs, each chef from his/her various sections trying to gage how far away the others are so that all the food from every section can come up at once for a certain table. This rush can go on for anywhere between 5 mins and 2 hrs at a time. As the rush dies down, this is the calm before the storm, we catch our breath before the next hit comes and it starts again.

As we head into the festive season, the level of busyness increases and so do the stress levels of everyone else. I am both looking forward to it as well as not looking forward to it. The bad thing is that our work load has doubled and tripled so that we are always on top of things and not running out of food but the good thing is that there will be no time for thumb-twiddling and that I am that much closer to heading back to full time study!

Yes...only 10 weeks and 1 day to go before I start back at uni. I'm very much looking forward to it-the structured weeks/months/years and ability for me to plan ahead. It'll be a cruisee 2 yrs of study because I have papers that I am able to cross credit from my previous course plus I have knowledge from that too. So I am going in armed rather than aimless...I feel good about it. I hope I'll still be saying the same when I start-do remind about this when I am moaning and complaining about going back to study!

Something that I am exceptionally bad at is keeping a routine with my bible reading. I'm sure I'm not the only one but that's no excuse. However, on the odd occasion I get my A into G, I have been working my way (though rather slowly) through Philippians. A verse that as been playing through my head over and over again (this doesn't happen often, so I figured I should take notice of it) is Philippians 2:3. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Well...when I was reading this verse many thoughts raced through my head. I figured it is a pretty straight forward verse-be nice to others, don't walk round with a big head, be humble, do things for the betterment of others. That's all good and I get that but the bit that stuck in my head most of all is "but in humility consider others better than yourselves".

The bible is so often taken out if context and this verse is no exception. Of course you shouldn't walk around with your nose in the air with a big head and thinking you're all that. However, it's easy for someone like me to take that verse and do what I do-constantly put yourself down. When do we cross the line of being humble to putting ourselves down? When is considering others better than you become self destructive? Nothing I do is ever good enough, it can always be better. Even when 'perfection' has been achieved, it's still not good enough. I rarely say I am happy with what I produce and when I do no one knows quite how to handle it...

Something I need to work on is to be happy with what I have done/produce. Maybe not just happy or satisfied but proud of what is. I know it won't be easy, it's something that other have been helping me work at and we are progressing-though rather slowly.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

For the love of study

This must be the epitomy of my madness! So...there has been an opportunity for a promotion coming and I found out about it a week ago. It is for the next rank up (Demi chef) from the one I'm currently at(Commi chef) and promotion includes a pay rise too. When I found out about this, I kinda dropped hints about wanting it-not so much for the money but more for the recognition for the amount of work I do. But at the time, he didn't seem like he was going to nominate me for that position to the Exec chef so I just left it as is.

Last nite, the head chef approached me and asked if I was still going back to study next year and I gave him an adament 'yes'. And I then found out that I was going to get the promotion had I not decided that I'm going back to uni.

So I'm a little bummed....

I can still decide to not go to uni and get a promotion instead but I think studying is something I really want to do at this stage. But some prayers on this subject would be great appreciated.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Breaking news!!

Yes, I'm heading back to AUT next year for another 2 years. Term commences on Feb 19, 2007.

So what will I be studying? Well........wait for it...................


Crazy isn't it?! But then again, what's new? It is Jean we're talking about, remember?

Monday, October 16, 2006

The birthday that was...

So I celebrated my 21st birthday a couple of Saturdays ago. The actual day was pretty shocking-having had to work the graveyard shifts that weekend plus heading to the Mercy work straight from work. That weekend was a nightmare, surviving 3 days with a mere 12hrs sleep! Oh well, we got through it.

But I took Monday off to go to the NZ Culinary Fare & Hospitality show. It was a great day with dad-catching up with some people that I met while in Wellington and just being able to be a spectator rather than a competitor. I did miss the competition excitement though...Then later that evening, I spent the nite over dinner with the Jones', Snell's, Megs & Becs @ Molten. So that was more of a birthday day than my actual birthday. It was good.

Dinner was beautiful...I'll try and get some photos up soon.

So what's been happening? I've been extremely busy at work-pulling a double shift this pass Thursday so I could get my Sunday nite off. Not sure if I'd do it again though! But it was worth it just so I could get my Sunday off.

I'm still very busy with paper work for chow. It's not a bad thing but it does get a little overwhelming at times, esp when I'm exceptionally tired from work and just don't have the brain capacity to cope with having to sit in front of the computer for a few hours. But it still is enjoyable and rewarding for the most part.

I've been doing some thinking (shock! horror!) about what I want to do next year. At the moment, flatting is quite high on the agenda. I have people to do it with and everything. However, there are some serious thoughts of going back to uni to study Pastry. And with the Diploma I currently have, I'm eligible to go straight into 2nd yr Diploma in Patisserie. If I do so, the flatting option goes out the window coz i won't have enough $$ to be able to afford it. I'm still undecided at the moment....

Having said that, I'm having brunch with Alan (my lecturer/trainer) and Arno (trainer for pastry) this weekend @ Bracu, located in Bombay. So I'll definitely be having a good chat with them about whether or not it's a good idea for me to head into 2nd Pastry. I'll only do it if I can get into 2nd yr. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to brunch. Bracu is said to have great food and is situated next to olive groves. So it should be a delicious & beautiful day...

So if I head back to uni next yr, I'm seriously contemplating competing in NZ Culinary Fare in the Toque D'Or category. It's a highly prized addition to the CV and should be a blast. What's even better is it's a team event-so hopefully a little less scary. But we'll see...I'm trying not to get too ahead of myself.

Well, I think that's about all that's been happening in the mad life of Jean. Til the next installment...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lessons of survival

Amidst of the hustle and bustle of the Rebo kitchen, I was tucked away in a corner cleaning some mussels that were needed for service that nite. While stuck with the tedious and lonesome job of mussel cleaning, my thoughts started to drift from getting the mussels cleaned in time to the various events in my life over the past week.

Recently, I've been feeling really overwhelmed. What with? Work, ministry, life at home & just life in general. And as Melissa puts it, "You seem to be back in that high stressed state". Well, she's not wrong!

From these 'events' that have been happening, there have been many lessons learnt-both new & old. So what are they?

  1. If I'm the absolute crap, I can't shut people out no matter how hard I try. It's when I need to let people in most. However, when I do so, I've noticed the hurt that results in my actions. It's not pleasant-for anyone. So how do I solve this prob? On to lesson number 2...
  2. Learn to let people in-esp those to care. But how do I do that when my trust for other is rather limited for fear of getting hurt? I was once advice by a very wise man, that the only way to learn to trust again is to trust...A viscous cycle, isn't it?
  3. Communicating is lesson number 3. And by doing so, I guess I'm aiding lesson number 2. I'm not very good with letting other know how I'm feeling. I generally brush it off by putting on a big smile and saying, "I'm great, and how bout you?!". It's just the easiest way of avoiding having to face the issues I'm having to deal with.
  4. When most people greet you with "Hi, how are you?", when is "I'm fine" an ok answer to give and when is it a lie? My dear friend Katherine and I once had a chat about this...When someone who genuinely cares about you asks if you are ok and you say you are great when you are not, what does that say about you and the relationship you have with that person? if you love that person enough, shouldn't you allow them to be there for you when they are offering a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent your frustrations? How would you feel if you were in the other person's shoes...trying to help but continuously being pushed away and left wondering what they real prob actually is?

So, it hasn't been an easy pass few weeks. But thanx to those who have put up with my antics ( you know who you are), I've been coping better. Thanx for being you, for being there and still being there despite me being crazy, mad me...I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

3rd place/exceptions/tolerance

So I'm back from a week in Windy Wellington. It was a good experience and I would go through it all over again- but maybe not til next year! It was stressful and absolutely draining but fun. After a 3 day cook-off, I managed a bronze medal. Yea, I'm pleased but not stoked...I really wanted to win it. However, I knew gold was out of the question after day 3 was over so I was only wanting to place.

It's taken a while for the brain to recover; yesterday was hard! Even driving was a mission, it required A LOT of concentration. I'm coping better today. So I'm back to work tomorrow. *groan* Unfortunately, I'm back to nite shifts. That does suck but not as much as being rostered on for a Sunday nite! I'm really annoyed by that so hopefully I'll be able to sort it out when I get back tomorrow.

A few things have cropped up since being back from Nationals and it's caused me to reflect on the exceptions (or lack of) that we make and level of tolerance we have for others. (I'm not going to elaborate on what it was that happened that brought upon this reflection coz there is no need to. )

How do we determine who are the people in our lives that receive more grace than others? What makes them more special or deserving? Is it because they have shown us the level of tolerance that we show them, if not more? Or is it because we crave acceptance from the other party(s)? What is it that drives us to crave that acceptance when that really isn't all that important in the wider scheme of things?

Some things to ponder on...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

SkillEx Nationals

Well....2 days to go before I fly down country to the capital for 5 days. Why? I'm the Auckland representative for the Cookery category in NZ's Largest Trade Skills competition. I'm heading down with 17 other competitors from other trades + judges & chaperones.

It's both an exciting and nerve racking time for me. I'm stoked to have won the Regionals and qualify for Nationals. But I am also really nervous-coz there is a certain sense of the unknown (that I don't handle well) as well as expectation (both from myself & my lecturer).

Competing at Nationals isn't just a competition for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, it is a competition to qualify for the Worlds. A chance to compete against the rest of my peers from the rest of the world. A chance to compete at an international level.

I want to win Nationals not to say that I'm better than everyone else and that they suck. I want to win it for the sole purpose of wanting to compete overseas to see what others are doing outside of NZ. To see where I stack up against others my age, those that I will be in competition with in 5-10 yrs time when we start owning our own businesses. And just the experience of being able to go overseas and compete.

So this last few days leading up to Wednesday are all a bit insane-trying to pack for the comp but also trying to organise the week after I get back. It'll be stressful but hopefully I don't drive myself silly coz I really want to do well and win over the 3 days of competitions.

No doubt I will be making some phone calls and sending many txt messages while I'm away. I'll be needing the support and company (even if it's via technology and not in person). I won't see many of you for a good 2 weeks, so I'll let you know how it goes when I get back.

Monday, September 04, 2006

house sitting/weird week/sneaky friends/new series

It's been about 2.5 weeks now that I've been house sitting for the Jones' with Rebecca. I'm totally loving it! Another 1.5 weeks to go. What I enjoy most is having a space of my own (even if it's only for a little while). I guess the only thing stopping me from moving out of home at the moment if the almighty $$$. Oh well...Hopefully by next year it'll happen.

The past week has been much of a non-week, thus making is weird. It has been exceptionally quiet at work, even on Fri nite, which is our busiest nite! On Monday, I had my hair done. The lovely Katie came by for dinner and then we spent the rest of the nite in front of the TV doing my hair. Tues nite was spent catching up with some uni mates over dinner in Mission Bay. It didn't end so well when we had to send one of the cars to the doctor! So it was one car between Ian & I for 4 days!!! Man, was that annoying...Anyhow, Wed was a typically long 17ish hour day which started at 5am for work and ended at 10pm ish after heading home from training at uni. Thursday was a nite of 'getting straight & dealing with reality' for Jean at Melissa's. It was that nite that I was given the official ban from any work-including cession related matters-on Saturdays. I tried so hard to weasel my way out of that but it was never gonna work. Worth a try though...Then it was up early Friday morning for training and then straight to work til 12am! Another long day. Saturday was another early morning (there goes my one sleep in a week) for training and then a nice evening at the Powell/Ritchie's for their house warming. I didn't do any work or cession related matters......Except for one illegal txt! :D I forgot and it needed to be done so, I did it.

It doesn't sound like much of a non-week for most people does it? But it was for me. Not so much that I was still running round trying to get things done despite not having enough time but more in the sense that there was no major dramas, esp comparing the past week with a couple of weeks ago.

Which brings me to Sunday...Boy, do I have very thoughtful, lovely but extremely sneaky friends! This Sunday was my rostered Sunday on worship as well as chow. However, at 1.30pm on Sunday, I received a call from one half of the Powell's to say that they are giving me a nite off so I need not worry bout trying to work round other stuff to be able to sing. Then they suggested that I give those who were on chow duty to say that I wouldn't be there til 5.30pm. Me being me, I politely agreed but at the same time trying to see how I could get out of this little plan of theirs. So we hung up and then started battling with myself about whether or not I was going to give in to the Powell's or say "stuff them and I'm going to church early".

Agreeing with the Powell's plans meant that I had to make a bunch of phone calls to a whole bunch of people so that they could pick stuff up from me coz I was gonna take it all with me when I headed down early. And I knew that that would cause me some amount of anxiety.

But despite my natural instincts, I decided I'd give in to the Powell's scheming and make the phone calls I needed to make to organise a nite off for me. And it was rather stressful at times but I can proudly say that I handled it better this Sunday than I would have 6 months ago. So after stuff got picked up, I headed out for coffee with a friend I hadn't seen in a while. (I had to some how occupy my time or I would have gone insane, literally!). After that I headed off to church and arrived at 5.15pm. It was hard enough getting there at 5.15pm so I wasn't gonna try and make myself be late. And the rest of tea nite involved me fighting the urge to help out. I even left before any cleaning up was completed!

So this weekend was the first real weekend off Jean has had in many years. It was hard giving in to someone else attempting to organise my life but if they didn't do it, I wouldn't have had time off. I would continued chugging.

Which brings me to our current series that is running at cession: Winter Spirituality. This has been a tough series for me-dealing with the issues of life & God when you are in the absolute pitts. Rather timely for me considering my current frame of mind and the haps of the past month. Each nite has seen me in tears, trying to deal/face with what I'm going through at the moment. The first nite I was able to bring myself to take communion but I haven't been able to since. Why? I don't know...Maybe coz I don't want to admit that I need help. Maybe I don't' want to allow God to weep with me. maybe I can handle it myself and it'll sort itself out eventually. Maybe even if He can see the pain I'm in, why not just make it easier for me.....?

I guess these questions are what make the current series so hard for me. I very often have mental arguments with God bout what is going on around me. And most of the time I think that if He just did what I said He should do, it'll all be fine an dandy. But obviously it never happens coz I apparently don't see the bigger picture and don't know any better.

but how are you supposed to know any better when you feel like crap, the whole world seems to be against you and life just seems so unfair? Is it fair to reason with a person in that mental state? Will they even hear you out to start with? If they do, how often will you get a well thought out, rational response?

When you are in the right frame of mind and thinking rationally, you know that things eventually work out, that they happen or a reason, that you work through the had times, you have friend around you etc etc etc. But don't you doubt that sometimes? Even just a little?

Just some random thoughts running through my mind while I'm in this transition stage of crappiness to numbness to trying to resume normality.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A rough patch

So I've been slack with updating.....

At the moment, I'm in recovery mode from a really really rough patch. The past 3 weeks have been weeks from hell for me. Though it hasn't been good for me emotionally, mentally and physically there has been 1 good thing that resulted from it: I discovered just how vulnerable and weak I can be.

Before I started full time work, I would go for days on end without stopping. It started with 12 days, then 32 days and eventually 53 days of constant madness. I coped fine juggling uni, coaching, work and ministry. I thought I could handle anything after that. Since starting work, I have had at least 1 day off every week with the exception of the pass 3 weeks. I think I would have coped fine if not for the extra things that I have had to handle. Unfortunately, there came a point where I couldn't take it anymore-I had to let off steam.

I tried to put it off over and over again. Constantly telling myself that it'll be fine and that I can handle anything. But I couldn't. So I did the unthinkable; I picked up the phone, dialed a number (while hoping that the person I was calling wouldn't pick it up so I didn't actually have to go through with letting off some steam) and that special someone picked up the phone! It was hard for me to do that. Can't say that I felt any better at the time but maybe it may make it easier next time.

Two-and-a-half years on, I now have people around me that I consider true friends. And I have found it somewhat easier to let off steam/vent. These friends would bear the brunt of my frustration. So, it's led me to wonder...
  1. Do you become weaker, less tolerant, more vulnerable when you have a support system around you?
  2. Is it a good thing that you are now less tolerant of life's stresses? If so or not so, why?
  3. As an introvert and someone who seems to have it all together/perfectionist, how do you tell someone that you are not ok?
  4. Is it fair on your friends if you don't keep them in the know when you need help most? How would you feel if you were on the other end of the stick?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Being sick & alone sux!

I was having a bit of a battle with myself about whether or not I should write this post but I thought I should....

Have you ever been sick and have had no one available to either pamper you or just be there for you? I have. Every year that I was in the boarding house, I'd have to come down with the mandatory illness that would put me out of action for a few days. This landed me in the sick bay, quarantined from school, friends and even 'my own' bed/room. During these times would be when I wanted mom and dad most but that obvioiulsy was never an option as they were a few million kilometers away.

So when I received a call from Melissa on Friday nite sounding not so well and home alone, I was on the road heading towards Paihia Rd without any hesistations. I did this coz I know how much it sucks to be on your own when you are sick. I did this coz I love Melissa. I did it coz I wanted to. Nothing in return expected, even a thank you (not saying I didn't appreciate the thank yous, though).

In saying that, the thank yous were flowing like a river from the time I arrived (from Melissa) til Sunday nite at church (from Jacob & again, Melissa). However, it didn't stop at thank yous...I was presented with an AMAZING bottle of wine as a thank you present! I was, and still am, so incredibly overwhelmed. Above all else, what I appreciated most was the phone call itself. So, from me to the Powell's, THANK YOU! I am very grateful for our friendship.

I've had some time to process the last message from our latest series: Upside Down Religion on sacrifice. For me, leaving Melb-the city I love filled with friends I made and a life I miss dearly, is a sacrifice. When I made that decision to leave, it was hard. Only having just left my home country just 3 yrs before that was what made the decision to leave Melb the hardest. I didn't want to have to start over again. So I made a pack with God, that He surrounded me with friends, true friends.

I'm very glad to say that He has kept His end of the deal. Moving has actually turned out to be a great experience of learning what true friendship is about, learning to trust again, learning who God really is and what He is all about. I often still resent the fact that I had to leave Melb and come here but when I remember the friends I have, their impact on my life thus reminds me that this tiny sacrifice I made is nothing compared to what He has done for me on the cross and the promise He kept.


Here's a little piece of food trivia......

Why is the cut of beef known as sirloin called what is it and just plain ole loin on every other animal?

Well, believe or not, this cut of meat was actually knighted! One nite, over dinner, there was a certain Lord that loved this particular cut of meat so much that, in his drunken state, knighted the cut. Thus we now have a cut of meat known today as SIRloin.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

TV, ain't my cuppa tea

I got the much expected call while at work yesterday evening re the TV gig that I auditioned for a while back. Unfortunately, I didn't get it. They decided to go with someone else. Those were her exact words. Oh well...I'm not too fussed. At least I have one thing less to worry about trying to fit into my crazy work schedule.

Having said that, I start on my new roster next week!!!!! 7am-3.30pm Mon-Thurs. How awesome is that?! I even got the WHOLE weekend off. I'm so stoked. I have all my evenings off and a weekend. Which means, I'm not gonna miss out on weddings (sorry Juanita), leadership training, cell grp, coaching gym, church, a social life etc etc etc. And it'll be much easier for me to plan my week and fit in the many meetings that I attend rather than only being able to plan them on Fridays. YAY!

I had my first comp training the other day and it was good. We didn't cook anything but it was still very productive. We worked on skills that day and I turned 3 beetroots, 3 carrots, chopped 2 shallots & 1 onion. It was good. This may not mean a thing to you but 'turning' vegetables is a skill that is not taught much anymore so it is slowly getting lost. But when in competitions, you wanna be able to do it to show that you have skill. The more skill you have, the more points you're gonna get.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Full time work has been an interesting experience so far. What made it interesting is not the job but more the transition from full time student to full time working woman.

I miss the certainty of a timetable; what my day is going to look like each week for the next 6 months and the rest of my life planned out based on my timetable. I miss the class room environment, where mistakes are not gonna get you in too much trouble-no unexpected clipping of the back of your head when you don't do something right the first time. I miss knowing everyone (maybe not everyone but you get my drift) I pass by in the corridor. I miss the sense of familiarity of a place that has been my second home for the pass 2 yrs.

All these things I miss about the last 2 yrs has made the adjustment a little stressful and overwhelming for me. Having said that, it hasn't all been bad though.

Granted, I don't get my roster for the following week til Friday and I don't have set working days or hours. Yes, that really gets to me especially being one to have my life planned out months in advance. But such is life and I just have to go along with it.

At the moment, the thing that I find extremely draining is the hours I do. They aren't all bad but they aren't all great either. Last week and this week, my hours have been 3-11.30pm, 4 days a week. Yea, I get a sleep in (kinda. I still get up at 9am-ish) but I don't get to sleep til 2am! That is by far the hardest part of the job. I'm surviving but it's not without it's consequences.

When I'm tired, I'm a lot less patient with people. I get really annoyed and sometimes can be very short and cutting. So that's not cool when I'm in a ministry that is very people oriented. My ministry is not just what I do at cession but my everyday life is a ministry too. My main job is not as a chef but is to reflect Christ and it gets tricky when I'm tired & having to be Christ to those that I work with.

In short, I'm coping but not such how much longer for...

I'm hoping that it won't be too much longer. Last nite after I finished up at work, I stayed back for a chat with my Sous chef. He's wanting to change the way the roster works at the moment. This means that there is an opportunity to work set hours and set days! And I've been offered that spot. If it all works out, I'll be working 5 days a week from 7am-3ish pm. No set days as yet but the hours are looking good. I'm no morning person but I much prefer working days than I do nites. It gives me the freedom of a social life.

But with this promotion comes a possible down side-jealousy within the work place. Now see, this new position that I will be taking on is a position where someone that is reliable is needed. Someone with some sense of urgency and common sense. (I'm not blowing my own horn here, just stating fact.) And for my Sous to offer that spot to me (a newbie) and not some of the other chefs who have been around much longer can get a little tricky. They all know that I used to work for my Sous and so there is a possibility that they may see this as favouritism.

I'm trying to not let this get to me but it is at the back of my mind.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A post of many thoughts

The past 3 weeks have been interesting; good but interesting. In those 3 weeks, I was willing to take some risks thus resulting in a few 'first' moments:

  1. It's the first time I was adamant about making sure I took a holiday. Granted I did have some help from across the ditch but many of times, dad and my new boss would give me grief about saying no when I got asked to start work earlier.
  2. It was the first time I said "No" despite constantly badgering.
  3. It was the first time I didn't touch or look or consult my diary about what I was doing. There were many occasions that I was spontaneous about what I was doing.
  4. I took my first trip out of Auckland since moving to NZ.
  5. It was the first time I invited the Dunn's round for dinner. I tend to invite the same people all the time.

I'm sure that there are a few more 'firsts' but I'll move on...

I had a fantastic time with Kath while she was here. It was nice to hang out and spend time with her again after 2 yrs. We didn't get as much done as I would have liked but better than not doing anything at all. It was great for her to finally put names to faces and for everyone here to meet the person I constantly talk about. Kath, they all loved you and enjoyed having you around. Thanx for a great holiday!

There are many occasions where I get really frustrated with people. But the one time that it gets to me most is when I see the same people doing the dirty work over and over again. And though I may not be very vocal about a lot of things, I am when it comes to this particular topic. Many people close to me have had to bare the brunt of my ventings. Sometimes, I psyche myself up and ask others but often I just end up with a big slap and am left wondering why the hell I even bothered asking in the first place.

So where am I going with this? At the most recent leaders' training, we talked about team work and possible bottle necks the we may encounter, both as a team and individually. And for me, I had a rather large list of bottle necks from the list we created as a team. But the one thing I struggle with most is the issue of trust. I do have a past where people have not always been very kind to me, so I am very suspicious/skeptical/non-trusting etc etc of people. For me to even put this out here is scary....I don't make it easy for people to know me. I always put on a front that says, "I'm great!". I never let anyone know I need help.

But I guess, it's true that they say, "If you ever need anything done, ask the person that is already busy coz they will always make time to fit it in". Sad...but true.

I know it's something I need to work on. Not everyone is mean or has bad intentions. Not everyone is out to hurt me on purpose.

A nice flow over from that...During the 3 week break I had, I have a lot to be grateful for. The friends I have made at cession have been very patient in teaching me to learn to trust again. They threw me a celebratory party for finishing uni. I just thought that was so awesome. It's something that I would have wanted to do but would have never asked for it. I had a great time and thanx, again....

Also part of this topic on celebrations is friends. I just feel so blessed to have so many people around me I can call friends. It's been so great to achieve all I have achieved, gone through all I have been through and grown as much as I have with the help of these people around me. Your patience and love has meant a lot to me. I couldn't and wouldn't have done without you. (You know who you are so I'm not gonna name names incase I miss someone and people get annoyed.)

Something else to celebrate is my all-expense-paid-for trip to Wellington in late September! I wasn't even too keen on competing in Regionals anyway and I only did it coz I couldn't say no to my lecturer. Winning is always part of the goals, but I wasn't expecting it in a million years. So to have won Regionals and made it to Nationals just blew me away. I was SO stoked to have got through! I'm away from Sep 20-Sep 24 for this competition.

We started a new series at cession last Sunday called Upside Down Religion. We explored the issue of weakness and what it meant to be weak. Being weak does not mean you have to be a push over. It does not mean that you don't know what you stand for and can be manipulated. Jesus was often seen to be weak but not in the manner that we may think. He was never a push over or was he ever manipulated or not know what he stood for. Being weak means that you are able to humble yourself enough to ask for help when you need it. It means being able to be open and honest about the good, the bad and the ugly when it requires you to do so. It means allowing yourself to be vulnerable and cry like a baby on a shoulder that has been offered to you.

This is something else I struggle with. I guess it goes hand in hand with trust. I worry about what others might think if I am not my usual crazy self. Or if I am not in control of every situation I get myself in. This is nothing new and is definitely an area where I am constantly being challenge.

Here's an attempt at being weak: So I started work this week. I am not gonna lie to you and say that I was totally sweet and went all out and took to the challenge like duck to water. I was petrified, crapping bricks if you like. On Sunday nite, my mind was everywhere-thoughts running through my head at a million miles per hour. Then Monday morning, adrenalin was moving fast and the heart was beating even faster. The drive to work was complete agony and the butterflies in my stomach felt so real that they were flying so hard they could have flown through me! As much as I wanted someone to know, I found it really hard to tell anyone. I wanted to get it off my chest but couldn't. What was I afraid off? Maybe that no one would understand. Maybe I feared rejection. Who knows...

So how did work go? Well, after the initial stressing it went as well as it could have for a first timer/newbie. (I'm trying not to hate myself to much when I make the necessary first timer/newbie mistakes.) As the day progressed, I was overcome by a strange sense of familiarity and peace. Once I was shown how things worked, how each dish is meant to look things just fell into place. The next few weeks will hopefully get easier and better. I am exhausted as the hours aren't very friendly but I did chose this career so I have no one to blame but myself.

There's no real rhyme or reason to this post but for your sake, I hope it makes some sense.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Psalm 139

Currently at cell group we are doing a series on Friendship. A couple of weeks back we were looking at love and the role it plays in friendship.

Of course we discussed the role love played in our social friendships but what about our friendship with God? How often do we think of that relationship as a friendship? Well, one of the exercises we had to do was to rewrite Psalm 139 in our own words. So here's mine:

Psalm 139
You know me inside and out,
Each move, each step,
Each word, each thought,
You know it all.

You are apart of all my life,
Cherishing the good moments,
Learning from the bad.
All of it, part of Your great plan.

Imperfections are part of me too,
Your patience abundant and evident,
As I endeavour to be more like You,
So others may see You.

Created so beautifully in Your image,
How can others not see You?
My daily prayer,
For Your glory to be revealed
In due time.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Cool Kids Cooking

So there is a new cooking program for kids coming to town. When? I don't know...

Today I went for an audition to co-host this cooking program by Top Shelf Productions. The co-host will be working along side Master Chef Marco Kouch teaching kids age 8-12yrs how to cook healthy meals. I'm not quite sure why I agreed to it coz being on tv was never something I saw myself doing. My dreams were and still are to have my own restaurant; maybe have a little cooking school out the back but essentially something to call my own.

But I guess, if I do get the job it would be fantastic exposure. I'm at the stage of my career where if I'm able to be seen, fantastic! Being in an industry where it's not what you know but who you know, every chance I get to be with people that can get me work whether it be directly or indirectly, I have to take that opportunity.

It was interesting to say the least. I won't know for a couple of weeks whether or not I get the job but it was a good experience. This is one of the few things where it really doesn't bother me if I get it or not. It was done for a bit of fun...

We'll see. But I'll let you know when I know!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

As promised...

So Jonathan made me promise that I'd post when I found out whether or not I made it to Wellington for Nationals.


While in the Thermal Village in Rotorua today, I received a much unexpected call to say that I made the cut for the Auckland team. My marks from Regionals SkillEx a couple of weekends back where high enough that I got in...

I'm so stoked. It was nice to win the spot fair and square rather than by default (which is what would have happened if I lost Regionals coz everyone else was too old to qualify for Wellington).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Change of scenery

It's been a week now that I've had Kath over. We've been having a great time together. The first weekend she was here was pretty low key.

On Saturday, she arrived and we got chow shopping done. Then Sunday, it was church @ 10am, Juanita's bridal shower and then chow duty at nite. I know...I'm mean, putting her to work. She liked it. Then Monday we just bummed round, didn't do much. Tuesday, took a drive up to Long Bay and then dinner at the Coomes'. It was beautiful! Then Wednesday, was just a day spent walking round Botany window shopping. Thursday, sent mom off for a month long tour around Russia & Europe. Then it was an expensive excursion to Sabato, NZ Winemakers & Auckland Fish Market at dad's expense. Friday, Kath got to hang out with some girls from church as they spoilt me with food, wine and their company. It was in celebration of me finishing uni. Then Saturday was the Magic Box competition, Regionals for Auckland. I'm very pleased to say that I won that fair and square! Still not sure if I made it to Wellington yet but will prob find out within the week. Sunday rolled round again and it was church @ 10am, a little excursion to check out the possible new place for cession and then cession at nite. Kath is at the museum today while I was at Sky City getting all badged up and measured up, ready to start work in a few weeks time.

It's been a great week so far. And I have been rather well behaved in the "working" dept too. I am yet to have the urge to start work. So I'm doing well. Not saying that I'm dreading starting but normally, I'd be yearning to start work after 2 days of holiday...

The rest of the week entails home group with choc fondue, a day trip to Rotorua with the girls & church. And Kath's last week here will include a trip to Waiheke & dinner at my place with some friends.

Looking forward to means I get to cook!!! (I know I am crazy)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Marks, photos, competition

So headed into uni yesterday to get marks and have a break up lunch with class. I know there are some who want to know what I got so here it is...77% for the Final Menu & 85% for theory. And here are photos of my dishes:


Venison Consomme

Salmon Kerabu

Poussin Poele with Herbed Rice, Butter tossed Green Beans & Char Grilled Capsicum

Sorry...That's all I could get up on the blog. It wouldn't load on the dessert photo so that's it. You can imagine what it looked like or ask the Jones'.
So now that all that is over I thought that was that but NO! I managed to rope myself in for a competition which is happening this Saturday. If anyone would like to come watch, it's at AUT Wellesley campus, H Block, Level 3, Kitchen 3 from 9-2.30pm.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

She's here!

The day that my good friend, Katherine, comes has arrived! She arrives in Auckland @12.45pm later today and will be spending exactly 3 weeks here.

It's been an extremely long and frustrating week, at times, but now that Kath is here and I get to hang out with's all good!

I'm looking forward to the great time that I know we'll have-traveling, meeting my friends (though I don't know how much she'll like me after that. No offence, guys...I love you but we're all a little insane) & just chilling. This will be a break that I will not regret and definitely enjoy.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Food glorious food....

While chatting with an old friend of mine today, he sent me a link to this blog. If you are a foodie/chef/lover of all things edible, I urge you to check it out. It's good! You'll see what I mean when you head over there. I'm gonna be adding it to my blog links! Bon Apetit...

The Ass Pastor and her wife got me drunk!

No, they didn't! I was just being silly...But we did have quite a lot to drink last nite.

So it is that time of my life which I have been dreading and looking forward to for a while now. I don't have assignments to worry about anymore, Final Menu over and done with and only 1 more theory assessment to go before I am officially finished with uni.

I have truly enjoyed my 2 years at uni and am so grateful to have been able to study something I have so much love for. The 2 years has had it's trial and tribulations but it's also been filled with much fun and joy. As I finish up at AUT, I now head into the "real world".

There are various aspects of the industry that scare the living daylights outta me but I guess the unknown is part of life (kinda sucks, but oh well). I am looking forward to starting work though. It should be a good many years to come with more learning to be done. Here's to a great job (it seems like it for now), a fab 2 years of uni and blessed friends.

Yesterday, was probably one of the best days of my life...But let me start from the beginning.

The week started off badly with a massive power cut to a lot of the Auckland region. This resulted in horrid traffic, people stuck in lifts, boredom etc etc etc ( I think you get the picture). And this also meant that the first group of my class that had their assessment on Monday was greeted with a lovely surprise! They rocked up at 6am to start their assessment and basically couldn't go on and we all got sent home.

As a result of that, everyone's assessment day was shuffled along a day. So those who were on Monday came back on Tuesday and those on Tuesday had to come on Wednesday. I was in the group that was originally on Tuesday. Everything was planned-I was mentally prepared to have my assessment on Tuesday, Melissa & Jacob were gonna come for lunch and it would all work out just fine.

But NO! God must have a funny sense of humour but I was not impressed...Anyway, Melissa & Jacob couldn't make lunch on Wednesday (nothing we could do about that) and so the Jones' benefited from the power cut. So they came for lunch instead.

(I had a hard time choosing who to ask when I had to ask so please don't be offended if I didn't ask you or if you are the Jones' and felt like you were second choice....)

The good thing about Melissa & Jacob not coming was that we got to hang out last nite. Melissa made dinner (and boy, was it gooooooooood) and we had celebratory drinks til late. I was SO spoilt. However, if they had come for lunch on Tuesday we weren't gonna hang out last nite. So, maybe it worked out anyway-I got to have the Jones' for lunch AND hang out with Melissa, Jacob, Melva (& Frank).

If you thought that was all the excitement, WRONG! I arrived home to a beautiful congratulatory bouquet from the Coomes'.

All I can say to everyone is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU...........for spoiling me, your well wishes, prayers, presence and most importantly for being my friends. I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of people to call my friends!

Friday, June 09, 2006

An act of spontaneity

Most of you would know that I function on a rather organised and planned schedule. I feel best when I have things planned yonks in advance. My diary is filled with everything that I'm involved in; uni, church, work, church, gym, meetings, homework, lecture rooms, kitchens.

In order to battle my neurotic perfectionism, Melissa set Sarah an ongoing mission to help me to learn to be spontaneous. This has been rather stressful...

We, being Sarah and I, had our first spontaneous adventure a few Sundays ago and it was alright considering the circumstances. I was rather frazzled and high strung by the end of it though. Anyhow, I am very pleased to inform you that on my own I succeeded getting through a spontaneous event.

Rachel txted me earlier today and asked if I wanted to join her for dinner at the Coomes' and I said yes! I was told only to bring myself. Normally I'd ignore that and still make something or bring a bottle of something but tonite I resisted and followed instructions. I only brought myself! No stress, nothing (well, kinda a small lie). I had a good time. It was also nice catching up with Rachel. It had been a while since I last saw her so it was nice. Thanx Rachel...

And Melissa & Sarah, you should be proud of me. I didn't even need you to hassle me this time.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Final Menu

The much talked about Final Menu Assessment in fast approaching. June 13, to be exact.

Last Sunday, I had the Coomes' over for dinner. I had my first practice of my final menu on them. It didn't go all that well but I'm glad I did that practice. I was able to find out where I needed to fix things and better them in order to get as many marks as I possibly can.

Tonite, I had a second practice at uni. Again, glad I had another practice. Still there were some things for me to watch out for and change to make it better. In general, I feel a little better about next week. Still nervous and don't see myself sleeping next Monday but there is a small sense of calm and peace within.

Just to tantalize your taste buds, here is my menu...

Venison Consomme
Crispy Skin Salmon Kerabu Salad
Poussin Poele served with Coriander Rice, Butter tossed Green Beans & Chargrilled Red Capsicum
Individual Lemon Curd Tart accompanied with Vanilla Ice Cream & Berry Coulis

Teacher's pet?

Yesterday I was asked by my lecturer to participate in a Magic Box cook off in 2 weeks time. It is a competition where if you win, you will represent Auckland in a competition later in the year in Wellington.

I was a little apprehensive about it but eventually said yes. Crazy, I know! What have I got myself into?!!!

Well, I have gained my lecturer's respect that he asked me and no one else in the class to compete. If I win, I get one on one coaching from him. And I see this as an amazing opportunity. He is giving me his time even though I won't be his student anymore after next week. And also, it'll look fab on my CV.

But again, I find myself asking, "Why me? What is it in me that he sees that is worth him giving up his time?".

Streams of consciousness

Every person has an internal sensor that tells them what they should/shouldn't say, what they should/shouldn't think, when they should/shouldn't do something etc etc. For most, this sensor is rather normal; when I say normal I mean that the sensor works but is not too overly active or inactive. So, you could probably say that most of the time these people are fairly rational thinkers.

However, when you are a perfectionist combined with the environment/culture that I've grown up in you get a person whose sensor works overtime. The sensor over thinks things. A million things run through your head and the sensor filters through these thoughts and puts them in the should or shouldn't category. And you'll find that the shouldn't list is generally significantly longer.

Being in this current stage of searching and wondering, learning to except God's grace, it has been "suggested" that I start this little task called Stream of Consciousness Writing. It is when you set a time limit, sit down with pen and paper (or in my case, a password locked Word document) and just put pen to paper the thoughts running through your head for that set period of time. And you are not to reread what you written for at least 3-4 weeks.

The idea of this is so I learn to be more honest with myself and God. To learn to trust. To learn to turn off that internal sensor when it's just God and me. After all, He knows what I'm thinking already so I'd might as well tell Him.

I've been warned that I'll hate it (and I can see myself hating it already) but apparently it's good for me. I'm yet to start but will endeavour to have done it at least once before Kath gets here. I'll let you know how I went after my first session.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Some things to smile about

This weekend is when everyone is away but Jean is left alone.....

Most cessionites are away at the annual Queen's B'day Weekend Convention but I had to work so I am stuck in Auckland on my own. Kinda bored and lonely but it hasn't all been bad.

This week was the week of my Magic Box assessment. Since I was rather worried about it, I asked the Powell's & Ritchie's if they minded being guinea pigs. So on Wednesday, they had to endure my cooking. Wasn't the best meal but I guess it was alright. You'll have to ask them if you wanna know what dinner was like...

I had the assessment on Thursday and came VERY close to having to resit! Thank goodness I didn't. I passed with 74%. Not great at all but at least I didn't have to do a resit (most in the class had to). Just to share with you what I are photos.

Entree: Polenta Crusted Hapuka with Potato Salad.

Main: Pan Seared Honey & Lemon Pork Fillet with Pilaf, Chargrilled Courgette, Roasted Mushroom, Tamarillo/Tomato Chutney

So that's 2 things, so far, to smile about; a group of such willing guinea pigs. They said yes without knowing what they were getting themselves into! And passing my Magic Box assessment.

I worked my last shift at Celsius today. Woohoo!!! I'm so glad to be outta there. We just recently had a new head chef, Emily, that took up the job and she's not a very pleasant person. Sooner or later I was gonna leave anyway but she basically decided for me how soon I was leaving. I will miss the other colleagues, though. Anyhow, that's thing number 3 to smile about.

13 days (and counting) til Katherine arrives.......I'm getting more and more excited as the number of days decrease. Thing number 4 to smile about.

Last but not least, I HAVE A JOB! It's official, I will be working at Sky City. After my interview on Tuesday with my previous Sous Chef, reference checks were done and yesterday I received the much awaited call. Hossein called me and asked me pick up my contract from him. This is definitely an answered prayer. It reminded me of Melissa's message from a few weeks back; to have faith is to know that your prayer will be answered but don't expect the prayer to be answered in the specific way you want it to.

Working in a hotel has been my prayer since day one of starting this course and choosing this career path. The way I saw it (and still do) is that being in a hotel is the best way to travel the world. So with every ad for a hotel, I submitted an application but everytime it was declined. It was disappointing but what can you do. I resorted to working at various other places like Smokeys, Celsius, filling in at Willow Park etc etc.

Little did I know of His sneeky plan...I now have a job at Sky City! This news was what put the biggest smile on my face this weekend. Thanx Father.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


So Melissa thought this would be a brilliant idea....

She was reading her much treasured Cuisine magazine and came across this article where a bunch of ladies who subscribe to Cuisine get together on a regular basis and try out new recipes from every issue. Last nite while having dinner at their place, Melissa ran the idea pass me and I said, "COOL! It would be awesome...".

This could be the birth of a new ministry Brett.....cessioncuisine. Where a whole bunch of us foodies who love food, love to cook and just love chilling out can do something all together. (We could even include some wine matching too...Jacob very sneekily slipped that in). You don't necessaily have to subscribe to Cuisine-you could use a recipe from a favourite cookbook.

It would be such a cool invite opportunity too. As we were getting all excited about this idea, we were already running through lists of people we could invite.

*Sorry if you wanted to be the first one to get this out Melissa, but I was so excited I had to blog about it...(Do you like the name? I thought it's pretty cool...) :)

A gastronomic tour

I was checking out the The Age's Epicure site and found this article. It managed to capture exactly why I love Melbourne so much...Check it out.

I hope you were salivating as much as I was. MMmmmm

As I continued my routine check of the Epicure, I found a rather amusing
article. You may find this quite a musing too....Maybe even a little more conscious about these things when you next go out for a meal.

Oh the joys of food. Who would have thought that there are so many things to consider when you go out for a meal or go out to the shops to get some ingredient for tonite's dinner...?

As an artist that finds pleasure in art-the different strokes of each brush, the finite details of each picture that has been captured on a canvas. I find great joy in discovering every element of every dish-when it arrives at the table the eye appeal and smell are the first to capture my attention. Then with each mouthful, I search for balance in flavour, texture/mouth feel; trying to pick out every possible flavouring put in the dish to create such a harmonious combination.

Call me crazy but I'm just so excited at the prospect of having the opportunity to knit such pleasures for the enjoyment of others. With each experiment, I want for it to get better and better in hopes of reaching perfection. (But coz perfection is unattainable, the process will be never ending...that is the cool part!!!)

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Apparently I don't smile enough! The other day, I overheard Jonathan say to Melissa that he never sees me smile on Sundays....And I thought, "That's true. But Sunday's can get a little stressful and my mind isn't really on smiling but more, I need to get things done. Also, it's not like I don't smile normally". Anyway, I took it into account and for one of my goals for my last performance evaluation (Melissa makes me fill out performance evaluations after each nite I am on chow duty) I put down SMILE. And I did try to smile through out the nite. It didn't last for long but I did try. Then a few days later, I was in my practical class and another lecturer that I know walked in. He started talking to my current lecturer and then stopped, looked at me and said, "Jean, smile....".

So, I came to the conclusion that maybe I tend to get my knickers in a knot just a bit too much and smiling may be kinda necessary. I've been real conscious about how much I smile lately and I'm trying. However, a lot of the time it's not coz I'm not happy or worried, I'm just concentrating. When I was in class, that's exactly what it was...concentrating on what I was doing. But I will keep trying. I know I have enough people around to make sure I keep at it. :)

Something to definitely smile about is the fact that I have finished and handed in my last official assignment ever! I hate assignments and sure as hell hated that last one too. So I'm absolutely stoked to have finished it. I can't wait to have assessments over and done with too...I do prefer assessments/exams over assignments but the stress of wanting A+s is a bit much. Having said that, even though I am worried about my up coming practical assessments, they should be fun. I'm especially looking forward to the 4 people I'm having as my guest for my Final Menu assessment. But first, I do have to practice so I don't stuff up on the day. So I'm having some friends, who have kindly obliged to being guinea pigs, over for dinner next weekend. Should be fun...

Also, with the weeks of uni slowly diminishing from weeks to days, it means that Katherine is due in NZ soon. I'm so looking forward to her coming. We caught up over the phone the other day and it was just so exciting to know that I'm finally gonna see her again....I can't explain the excitement. It just can't be put into words but yea, I'm really looking forward to it and I know she is too. You counting down the days yet, Kath? I am!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A sprinkle of this & a dash of that

This post isn't about anything in particular but a little bit of everything that has been going on for the past week. There's been so much that has happened I just need to process it before I explode.

The pass few weeks have been rather stressful; a combination of finishing up at uni, ministry work load, work and dealing with people. This got me thinking..."Why have I been placed in a position where I am constantly having to deal with people, beit good or bad?". Of course this is mainly centered around chow but it does flow over to the other areas of my life.

Being the chow leader, I am always having to recruit people, confront people. encouraging people, being nice to people, welcoming people etc etc etc and the list goes on. It revolves around people. In the wider scheme of things, the cooking part of chow is like 5% of what chow is about.

And I am far from being a 'people person'. I am extremely introverted and a real perfectionist. People and me just don't add up. I hate going up to someone I don't know and introducing myself. I hate being in a large group when I don't know people (sometimes even if I do know the people I still hate it). I avoid conflict where possible, which means even if people piss me off I don't say anything. I just keep it to myself and stew. And if there happens to be a blow up, I just leave it and avoid ever trying to confront the party(s) involve at all cost.

So why am I a leader? What did Juanita see in me? What did Brett see in me?

Don't get me wrong. I love being able to be in ministry. I have always wanted to be part of ministry but was never given that opportunity. I was always told that I'm not worth it, I'm not good enough. So I am very honoured to have been asked to take up this role, even though at times it's hard.

Again, why am I in a 'people role' when I hate dealing with people? I don't know. Maybe you have some input on this matter......Do share.

On another note, we were in week 3 of our current series on Sunday. Melissa talked about how when God decides to answer your prayers, sometimes it comes in small things or in bits and pieces. But sometimes it comes as something extravagant, like the parting of the Red Sea. While we are waiting, all we need to do is be still. Hard, I know! I'll be the first to admit that. I am always wanting things right there and then. Not just now, not later but NOW! But actually, what I need to be doing is to be still.

She went on to talk about manna. (See Jonathan's blog for a definition of manna). So what is my manna? What are the little things that I hang on to as I go about each day? What are you grateful for?

Each day, I am exceptionally grateful for the friends I have. The true friends. The ones that I know will miss me, the ones that I share pain and joy together, the ones that love me for who I am-the imperfections and all (I know...I said it!). I have always found it hard to gain friends let alone good & great friends. But I now have some and feel very blessed to have them as part of my life. (It is a bummer though, that they are everywhere-USA, NZ, Australia. If only I could have them all in the one place....)

I am also appreciative of the fact that I have been able to study in the field that I have so much passion for. How many people do you know that are in courses that they hate? And they are there coz their parents said they had to? I'm glad I was able to find a course that I would enjoy ploughing through, even though I had to leave my favourite city.

For those that have been keeping up with the blog, you'd know that I am finishing up at uni in about 2 1/2 weeks and so I am looking for work. About the end of last week, I put in 3 applications over the internet through Seek. I wasn't expecting anything coz I have put a few applications in through Seek before but to no avail. But I thought it was still worth a try; if I didn't get anything then at least I tried but if I got something then sweet.

Well, to my absolute surprise I got calls, today, from 2 of the 3 places I applied to but I only managed to pick up one of the calls. So I have my first interview on Thursday @ 3pm. It's a new hotel that's opening in Auckland city on Waterloo Quadrant. It doesn't have a name yet...But another cool thing was that my old head chef that left Celsius about 3 months ago called me up later in the day too. There's an opening for a commi and so we'll see where that goes. He's at Sky City and I meet him on Tuesday @ 2.30pm.

So doors seem to be opening for me...Hopefully at least one stays open. I'll keep you posted.

Today is Sarah's 21st b'day. Happy Birthday Sas! I had 2 parts to her present. One of it was dinner at Portofino's Mission Bay. The other part to her present was a surprise that I organised about 2 weeks prior to dinner last nite. I had organised to have the cell group meet us at Portofino's to surprise Sarah and it was good! We had a blast and I'm so glad I didn't let the surprise slip. (I'm like the worse liar ever!)

I have finally managed to crack my lecturer. What I mean by that is that whenever I present my food to him, there are no more complaints. Only good comments and the occasional productive criticism. You don't understand how much relief I felt when I brought up my entree for my Magic Box practice last Thursday. I was the first one up there and was crapping in my pants with a million guesses of what he was gonna say bout my dish. But he surprised me by saying, "There is absolutely nothing wrong with this dish at all. Well done." I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that. And it's now the third day in a row that I've managed to not have him tell me off. If I keep this up, all my assessments are looking good. But I don't want to get my hopes up too much. I still need to pass before I can gloat!

So as you can tell, there's been a lot happening and I had to get it out somehow. (I hate writing and prefer typing so it came out here).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I went to my first ever Human Rights Film Festival movie, Drowned Out, tonite with the Powell's, Ritchie's & Read's.

This movie highlighted an issue that not many of us in the developed world know about. It's about the dams that have been & are being built on the River Narmada in India and how the lives of so many are affected by this seemingly well intentioned project. (In my very humble opinion, this project is centered around ego, pride, greed, supposed honour & glory for the nation.)

For dams to be built, all living along the river are affected. Those living up stream loose their land, livelihood, homes etc due to flooding. Those down stream loose the same due to 'drought'. These people are not compensated appropriately, either offered resettlement land that is measly in comparison to what they had or cash, which is of not much use to them because they depend on the land. Some are driven to the city to survive and end up living in slumps on the outskirts of the city earning next to nothing and just barely surviving and others end up dying defending their land by refusing to leave.

When the villager make the tiring journey to the nearest township to try and get answers or fight for their land, there is little luck. The official has either been transferred, sacked, replaced, not around. Either way the journey was for nothing.

This is still an on going issue. For regular updates, click here.

For me, this is nothing new; all the political bullshit, empty promises. I grew up in a country that had all of that. And that is one of the many reasons why my parents decided to relocate to a better, fairer country. But I was still frustrated and pissed off.

Why is it ok for the poor to suffer in order for the rich to live 'better' lives but not ok when the equation is the other way round? Why is there so much hypocrisy? So much greed? So much pride? WHY?

Friday, May 12, 2006

A version of The Lord's Prayer

This prayer comes from Chp 12 of Richard Winter's Perfecting Ourselves to Death. It was written by some student of Richard's when he was giving a lecture on perfectionism.

The Perfectionist's Prayer

Their Father, who may be in Heaven,
Holy be my name.
My kingdom come,
My will be done,
In earth as it should be in Heaven.
I'll get my own daily bread,
(I can't trust you to do it)
but I can't possibly forgive my sins
As there are too many of them,
And they are always bound to happen.
And I can't see why I should forgive other people
As they are always hurting me.
And anyway they never do anything right.
I'm quite capable of leading myself into evil
Thank you very much.
And if you had made a good job of this world
In the first place, I wouldn't have to
Endure all the temptation.
Mine be the kingdom,
The power and the glory,
Forever and ever,

When I first read it, I found it rather amusing. And as Melissa and I had our discussion about the book, we had a good laugh together, too. In my world, a lot of that prayer is true. Crazy as it is, that is how I am wired.

It's kinda hard for me to put this post up coz I don't trust people and therefore, never tell others how I'm doing and what's going on (esp those close to me). But I can't talk to anyone at home and I need to get this off my chest. So I'm taking a huge risk by putting this on the blog for the world to read. I just ask that you be patient with me, please.

Anyhow, this pass few weeks have been an absolute nightmare for me. Uni is getting more and more stressful (people and work load), life at home is getting really tense (there's some tension between mom and dad but I don't know what's going on, Ian decided to piss my parents off by not doing well in his studies and mom & Ian are really grating on me), work is a load of nonsense & waste of time (we've got a new head chef who is a total pain in the rear) and there's some crap happening within chow (people, AGAIN!). So there's quite a bit going on around me at the moment and it's taking a huge toll on me. I am physically, emotionally and mentally drained...So much so that I've had my face in my hands for the past week while trying to get to bed.

I feel so helpless...

Last nite I had a little chat (over gmail) with Juanita and she suggested that I spend a few minutes with God, surrendering all aspects of my life to Him and wait for His peace to wash over me. I wanted, so much, to sincerely give it up to Him and honestly say, "Father, I trust you in the situation of uncertainty, hurt, anger, absolute shit (excuse the language but that's how I feel) and that in time it will be better", but I couldn't. I just couldn't. It's that whole trust issue I have with others, God included. And as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't. And I didn't want to say, "Here, I trust you" when I knew in my heart that I didn't.

So where do I go from here? The coming weeks aren't gonna get any better. I only see it getting worse, at least until I sit my finals. I really, really want to say that I can leave it up to Him, trust Him that His plan is good and perfect but I just can't.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Dunia ini tiada yang tentu
Ingin mendengar suaraMu
Walaupun tarafMu tidak dicapai
Masih diiktiraf anak Tuhan

Monday, May 08, 2006

Re:sharpening the barbaric edge

At leadership training last Saturday, we revisited the dvd on Ewan McManus (I think that's how you spell his name) on being a barbarian. At this point in time you may think, "WHAT THE...?!"

Rewind back to the time when you first accepted Christ or when you first decided you wanted to start getting serious about your relationship with God...Remember the straight up, no nonsense bible bashing? The invites to church, youth group, cell group? And the list goes on.

But as time went by, along with the many rejections and the comfort of feeling more like you are part of the community, your "barbarian self" starts to mellow out and you become a little more careful about what you say and how you say it. You tend to avoid the subject of church or God with non-Christian friends. You almost lead a double life-the edge dulls.

During our time of discussion, we had a time where we brain stormed our thoughts about the dvd, how civilized we've become and what can you do to become more barbaric. One thing that struck me most was when Melva pointed out that we have an issue with "cliques" within the community. This is nothing new-it happens everywhere and at every church too.

I was quite pleased that someone brought it up coz it's something I've noticed for quite a while and it also meant that I wasn't as crazy as I thought I was and I wasn't just making all this up in my head.. Being someone who's always been left out I noticed these things very quickly. However, being a perfectionist also means that I can be a little paranoid and often imagine situations that aren't real. So I didn't say anything to anyone about the possibility of cession falling into the trap of being too "clique-ky". (Not cool, I know).

Something I thought was SO cool last nite during dinner was the many leaders sitting at different tables with different people. I just found it such a beautiful sight especially since we only had 9 leaders as training. Funny how it kinda just happened...and Rebecca noticed it. Cool stuff!

I'll admit that I'm not very good at it myself coz I'm not a people person but as a leader, I have to lead by example. Therefore, it's something I have to keep working on. I don't think I'll ever be good at it or enjoy it as much as someone like Brett or Frank (sorry...don't mean to put you on the spot but you guys are good) but I'll endeavour to not hate it as much. I'm counting on you to keep me accountable, Sarah.

Moses' life...My life?

So we've started a new series...

We're working through the story of Moses and how, as an ordinary man, he was chosen to perform some extraordinary feats. The first installment covered the beginning of Moses' life til the 40 years he spent in the dessert.

As we approached a time of reflection, we were asked to re-examine our lives and where we are at. Are you in a sweet spot? If you are, maybe you need to be shaken back into a spot of tension or maybe you've just worked through some hard stuff and am enjoying that experience. Have you made some bad decisions? Or a series of them?

Where do you see yourself at the moment? Where are you at?

I guess for me, I'm at the stage of my life where everything is about to change. I'm finishing uni in 5 weeks and then I'll be out in the real world, fending for myself. There will be many decisions and choices to make and that scares the living daylights outta me. Being the perfectionist that I am, I don't handle decisions or choices well and I'm afraid that the decisions I make will not be the right ones.

Being adamant about staying in Melb after I finished school was a bad choice (I didn't wanna admit that at the time but it was a bad move) and since then, everytime there's a big decision to be made I have the image of the suck time I had in Melb on a constant replay in my head. It would be easy to say that I'm just being stupid and paranoid, and that may be very true to a certain extent, but I can't help it. I live in this constant tension of having to make a decision and worrying about whether or not I'm making a right decision and whether or not I'm gonna regret the choice I made.

I can't tell you now what my life will be like in 5 weeks, what I'll be doing and where I'll be working, but I hope that before those weeks are up I would've some idea of what's gonna happen after I'm back from my little holiday.

So I hope that this post has prompted you to re-examine where you are currently at in you life and if there's anything you to do to get your life back on the right path. This is something that we need to do on a regular basis yet we struggle to do it...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The end is in sight. Scary or Exciting?

I'm constantly being asked and asking myself that question...And the truth is I really don't know. I'm excited that in 5 1/2 weeks my life will no longer consist of assignments, due dates, practical & theory assessments, final menus, costings etc etc etc. And the sooner I finish the sooner I get to see Kath. If her exams work out the way we want it to, we'll have 3 whole weeks together.

But at the same time, I am totally freaking out that I will no longer have the comfort of being in a controlled, protected environment. Besides that, I am in this state of not knowing what I'm gonna do when I'm finished. Granted, I will be working. But where, for whom, how much? I don't know.

So what's Jean's life like for the remaining 5 1/2 weeks? Well, next week will be the first practice for our Magic Box assessment (it's kinda like Ready Steady Cook, except we have 4 hrs). The following week, we'll have the second practice for the Magic Box and final menu costings & requisitions due in. Week 4 is the actual Magic Box assessment, week 5 is the City & Guilds exam & week 6 is my final menu assessment.

It's absolute mentalness with uni for the next little while tied in with church, ministry and work. I don't know how much I'll be posting for the next few weeks but we'll see. I'll try and stay as sane as possible and not drive others around me insane while I'm at it!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Last nite at cell group we started off with answering 2 questions:
  1. How have you seen God in the past 2 weeks?
  2. What is one gift that you wish you had?

My answers:

  1. Through the friends I have. Having dinner 2 Wednesdays ago with the Powell's, Jones', Sarah & Ju was so much fun. It was nice to just chill and hang out over a casual dinner and just talk about whatever we wanted. No stress of work, life, everything just forgotten for those few hours. And on Sunday, Sarah very patiently organised a cessioncommunity banquet so that Jean and the rest of the chow team would have a nite off.
  2. Be able to play an instrument on the worship team. I love singing on the team with the others but the one thing that I have yearned for for a long time now is to be able to play and instrument.

At the end of the nite, Kristen asked, "Why do you think we have these longings for what we don't have?". And this was Rebecca's answer, "Our longings may be something that we will eventually be gifted with but we are not ready for it yet". Kristen also had a take on it: "For me, sometimes it's pride".

There are definitely many sides to this issue and I guess we have to constantly re-examine our wants and needs and whether or not they line up with God's plans.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The greatest gift of all...

I'm currently on a 2 week holiday, well kinda. I'm off uni but still running around keeping myself busy so I don't get bored. One of the things I did to keep myself out of trouble is to have some friends that are very dear to me over for a nice casual dinner last Wednesday.

We had a blast; I did anyway, even if they didn't! So thanx for putting up with me guys, I hope bribing you with food was enough. As I promised my lovely Melissa, here are some photos from that nite. She apparently wants these to hassle Frank...I'm just looking forward to hearing all that went on.

Bread & dips to start of the nite. I made a thin, crisp foccacia studded with garlic, rosemary, olives & sea salt. It was served with homemade pesto & olive tapenade.

A cheese board that accompanied bread & dips. The platter consisted of a Double Cream Brie, Kikorangi (a NZ blue for those not living in NZ) & a cheddar.

The Lot! (For nibbles that is...). I'm not that mean to only serve my guest cheese & bread for dinner.

Homemade venison burgers. A venison pattie, a slice of tomato, a piece of cos lettuce sandwiched between 2 slices of toasted baguette. Dad just had to top it off with some good ole tomato Jacob's request

Miniature Nicoise Salad, consisting is tomato concasse, beans, hard boiled egg, seared tuna, olives & anchovies all topped with a vinaigrette.

Homemade orange ice cream topped with praline. No skimping on taste (& calories) here-this was made with cream & egg yolks!

This is all I have....I don't have pictures of the other dishes coz they got eaten before I got round to taking photos. I hope this wets your appetite a little to go out and hunt for some good nosh.

Unfortunately I couldn't invite anymore people ( the house is kinda small) but hopefully next time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A future in writing perhaps?

Our first assignment for the last semester required us to review one of the two training restaurants we have at uni. I was really proud what I produced and the results reflected it so who knows, when I am sick of kitchens I may just start writing. But in the mean time, I guess the purpose of me sharing this review with you is to let you know that there are good deals out there! So enjoy....

Restaurant review of Truffles

On Wednesday, March 22nd 2005, a group of friends and I had lunch at Truffles Restaurant. It is a training restaurant at the Auckland University of Technology. At the restaurant, the Front of House staff are either Hospitality students or Chef students completing a component of their course and kitchen staff are Chef students at various stages of their course.

With the high number of different classes using the production kitchen, the menu is ever-changing with each menu lasting for about 4-5 weeks. Each menu, though small is well thought out with meat, poultry, seafood and vegetarian dishes and taking the different seasons into consideration. For each course one has a choice from four different dishes, all sounding absolutely delicious. This menu was the first for the year so it was mainly decked out with summer ingredients with a few autumn touches.

For entrée, there was a choice of an antipasto platter, a country style terrine, chilli squid or goats cheese with beetroot. I went with the antipasto platter. Not many restaurants serve up antipasto platters anymore so I was pleased to see it on this menu. The dish consisted of various cold meats such as salami, ham and smoked salmon. These were accompanied by cheeses such as bocconccini(buffalo mozzarella), goats’ cheese camembert and blue cheese. The platter was topped off with a slow roasted tomato, a few slices of toast and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. When I was served my meal, it was stunning. The range of colours was eye-catching and the taste was phenomenal. It was a great start to the meal.

There was a choice of either roasted hapuka, chicken with parpadelle, chermoula marinated lamb or a mushroom tart for mains. I decided to go with the chicken. Safe option, I know, but I didn’t feel like anything else. It was just one of those days. So, what was it like? Another eye appealing dish. A well browned chicken thigh sitting on a bed of well cooked homemade parpadelle served with green beans and slow roasted tomato. Overall this dish was good. However, I was rather disappointed with how the beans were cooked. It was just a tad over done for me. I personally like my beans with a slight crunch but these were on the mushy side. The chicken, though well cooked, I found that the farce had a little too much liver.

Time for dessert! I had a hard time deciding what I was going to have. The choices were all so appealing-a trio of ice cream/sorbet with summer fruits, plum pithivier, chocolate tart or caramelised peach on brioche. Eventually, being a hot day, I decided to go with the ice cream/sorbet. Each flavour of ice cream/sorbet was served on its own Chinese soup spoon, laid out on a plate garnished with rockmelon, kiwifruit and blueberries. Though the plating looked stunning, I found it rather impractical but that might just be a personal preference.

The overall service was good, taking into account that the staff are only students. However, there were some difficulties trying to get what we want due to a slight language barrier. We sensed some nervousness when we ordered a bottle of Passiler Estate Riesling as it required her to go beyond her comfort zone and probably something that she hadn’t had to yet. But the waitress did her best and there was nothing major that she did wrong. She knew what to do, and eventually we got what we asked for.

In terms of value for money, absolutely! Where else in Auckland are you able to go for a 3 course meal with good service and good food for $20 per head? Of course, being a training restaurant it won’t be perfect but for the most part there is nothing to complain about.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I hate soufflés!

Today we had our pastry assessment and did it suck or what?! On the menu was:

Baked Grand Marnier Soufflé
Beignet aux Pomme (Apple Fritters) with Apricot sauce
Apple Strudel with Crème Anglaise (Custard Sauce)

I got 78% or a B+. I was not happy (the perfectionist returns!). The Strudel turned out well so I was happy with that. The Fritters were too cold and not cooked enough so I was a bit annoyed by that but the one that sucked the most was the blooming soufflé! The one thing that I didn’t have an issue with during class had to go wrong during my assessment. So anyone coming to my place for dinner, don’t expect soufflés for dessert…

My theory is that stressing actually helps with me getting good marks! Sorry Melissa, but there is nothing you can say to make me change my mind on this one. Last nite, I was actually very cool, calm and collected. I got to uni early to and still in a good state. I got into class and assembled my ingredients and I was still good. Melissa, you would have been proud. But the one time I’m not stressed or worried, I screw up! So, from now on I am continuing my stressing streak. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Two more chapters and I would have finally come to the end of the infamous book on perfection that I have been reading this past 5 months. No, I'm not a fast reader but neither am I a slow one! The only reason why it's taken me so long to get through 15 chapters is coz I've been under strict instructions to read only 1 chapter a week.

Anyway, currently we have just finished discussions up til chapter 11. At the end of each chapter there are some questions for reflection and when we got to the end of the chapter regarding parental influence, one of the questions required more thinking than just a few minutes of recalling past experiences. Maybe this might get you thinking, too...

How have you been influenced in positive and negative ways by your parents?

This chapter was a particularly hard one for me to get through. It brought up some bad memories that I never wish to have to bring up again. For the most part, I have grown up in a pretty good household-parents love me, taught me everything that I have needed to get me through to the age of 20 without running into trouble with the law. But there is one thing that my parents have been not very good at; they suck at giving praise and encouragement when called for. They also constantly find the one thing that is wrong out of everything that is right and harp on it for like the next goodness knows how long. Don't take this as me saying I hate my parents coz I don't.

But since reading this book on perfectionism, I've had to examine my childhood and find out what has turned me into a really bad, and I do mean extremely bad, perfectionist. So this chapter has been really good at doing that, as hard as it has been to read it. I particularly enjoyed the part on hypercritical parents. Here's a little excerpt of it...

Perfectionist parents tend to have three particularly dangerous predispositions. First, they may be intolerant of mistakes and therefore strongly critical of themselves and their children. There is no patience with genuine mistakes, and there is implied expectation of perfect behaviour. When an accident results in an attack on one's dignity and character, there is a deep sense of being a bad person and hence much shame. Second, perfectionists parents may have great difficulty showing affection and giving approval, often because they have not had much themselves. Third, perfectionist parents have a tendency to make acceptance conditional on performance or appearance.

Do you know what the scary thing is? My parents are all of the above! The one that sung out the loudest was the last statement. Coming from a culture of geeks, nerds, brainiaics (excuse the bad spelling) I couldn't really escape the expectation of doing well in school anyway but having perfectionists parents added to that. If you ask any one who knows me, they'll tell you that I'm absolutely anal about getting an A+ and nothing less. Or if it's gym, nothing less than a perfect routine every single training session and competition. Before every assessment, competition, Sunday nite (either worship or chow), I am in complete stress mode. Stressing about what? Stressing about all the possible scenarios that I may screw up, embarrass myself, how something might go wrong and what I can do to fix it etc etc etc the list goes on.

Why? Because the only time my parents would show and express their approval and love for me would be when I did something well or did something right, get an A or bring home a medal. And when I don't do well, I received endless hours of verbal abuse (at that time I didn't know what it was. I just thought it was part of punishment) from my parents saying how useless, stupid and worthless I was. So each day there was always a longing for an A or a medal or a perfect routine and it's continued to this day. These days, the abuse still happens but not as bad as it was. However, when my parents don't do it, I do it myself. The internal dialogue just takes over and goes on and on for hours in my head. Crazy, I know but often I can't help it.

So back to the question earlier in the post. My parents may have done many things that have had a bad influence on me, specifically turning me into an extremely neurotic perfectionist. But are there any good things about how I've been brought up? Well, yes. I like the fact that my parents allow Ian and me to continue living at home, rent free. They are in no hurry to kick us out, actually I think they like having us at home, they don't require us to pay rent or for any bills. Unfortunately, I have a conscience so I make sure I pay for my own shopping and part of the petrol bill. I see so many of my friends that literally get kicked out of home when they turn 18 or 21 and they can never go back. I just can't imagine not having somewhere to fall back on in times of need. I just think that would suck big time. So, as insane as my parents are, they are amazing parents and am thankful for them.