Monday, May 19, 2008

Been thinking...(surprise surprise)

During the drive home from work last Saturday nite/early Sunday morning, my work mate and I (we car-pooled) were talking and the subject of alcohol came up. I don't think that it comes as a surprise that chefs are generally placed in the same category as alcoholics, in fact it is rather common.

I knew going into this industry that alcohol played a HUGE part in the rise and fall of a chef. I also knew full well that if I didn't make some serious choices and put certain boundaries in place as well as ensure that I surrounded myself with accountability relationships that I'd run the risk of following in the footsteps of many EX-great chefs. (These were footsteps I didn't want to follow).

Some of these choices, boundaries and relationships included:
• No consumption of alcohol is to take place if I have to get behind the wheel afterwards, a great excuse for not drinking at the end of the nite after work. See next point…
• Upon returning home, no consumption of alcohol is to take place as a regular part of winding down at the end of a working nite. This is normally where the problem starts, alcohol is used to help with getting to sleep so you actually get some sleep before starting another LONG day
• Alcohol is consumed as a once off/occasionally for pleasure, NOT to get drunk on
• Telling close friends of the boundaries put in place so that the chances of me slipping up are highly unlikely. I have a real fear of seeing the disappointment that could possibly be written all over their faces if they ask and I have to tell that I stuffed up
• Sometimes the choice not to drink is a sacrifice. Drinking is a social thing to do and it’s something often done at the end of the nite while winding down with the rest of the brigade and by not drinking, it is considered uncool. This often leads to being left out and not being invited to events.

So back to the conversation that I was having that we talked the topic of drinking as being a sociable thing and a kind of "bonding session" came up. My work mate was of the opinion that he felt pressured into drinking as a way of building a relationship and as a way of being sociable. He felt that if he started to say no that he'd start to feel isolated and thought of differently. There was also a notion of "I have done this all my life and why not? I don't see anything wrong with driving home after having numerous bottles of beers".

I kinda tried to explain to him where I stood on this subject, without offending him. It wasn't so much to get him to change, although obviously that would be ideal, but it was more to try and get him to take a look at this issue from my point of view, to get him thinking. I don't know if it fell on deaf ears but it sure felt like it.

This is an issue that I will continuously wrestle with. Not that I see myself going down the route of hitting the piss or getting into alcohol related problems but more so the social aspect of alcohol and standing by the tough boundaries I have set up for myself and what it means for me to have to sacrifice certain relationships for self preservation.

Monday, May 05, 2008

holidays/work/Savour NZ

The last 2 weeks saw me on a mid semester break. It wasn't a break I was looking forward to (I know that this wouldn't come as a surprise to many). This was mainly due to the fact that I didn't have much on to keep me occupied til this past weekend.

So as the first week went by I pretty much just bummed around and did bugger all. I was quite ready to head back to uni by the end of the week! As the second week rolled round, I helped dad out with a dinner that he was asked to cater for. That was very much welcomed as it broke the monotony of doing nothing much.

Before the holidays, myself and a few others from uni were asked to help out at the latest Savour NZ. I was looking forward to this the entire holidays and though it was great to be busy it was a big let down. Unfortunately, we ended up being used as slaves for the hotel instead of being used to help out the celebrity chefs, which was what we were told we were gonna be used for.

Fortunately, my boss was at Savour doing demos and I was able to give him a hand. After the demos, I was able to then head into work with him and give them a hand for service. The days I ended up work mounted to bout 15-20hrs each day but I have no regrets. I actually had a blast being back at work!

Since my 5 week holiday, I had yet to go back to work as my boss was finding it tricky to fit me in and I was living off my savings. It was getting pretty dire that I go back to work, not so much for the money (though that is always helpful) but more for my sanity. I was getting really restless each week as the weekend rolled around. I desperately needed to and wanted to go back to work.

So, even though I've had a very very full on weekend with absolute minimal sleep it was a blessing in disguise. My boss finally said OK to me coming back to work and I officially start back this Saturday. Yay...

It started off as a holiday that I dreaded but ended on a fairly high note.

I'm back at uni now and we're back into the swing of things with assessments and assignments to keep me going. This term will be pretty full on with Regional competition looming in the near future it will also entail competition training. Mind you, a friend and I have already started on training for Nationals which is in late August. So, I guess I can now truly is back on the go, finally!