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!!!)