I love the kitchen, but I hate cooking—let me elaborate.
This week, I was placed in the Kitchen and to be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it at all. Don’t get me wrong, working in kitchen at Zulu Nyala wasn’t even that bad—I mean Mduduzi (the hilarious Head Chef who made up a song about potatoes) and I cooked up a real mean Beef Curry together, but it was the the grunt work that I wasn’t looking forward to—who in their right mind really enjoys that? Everyday, I mentally relive Daye’s worst nightmares of peeling potatoes, cutting fruits, and chopping vegetables…over and over again. I was lucky enough to have not underwent such repetitive work at Zulu Nyala, but I didn’t know what my future held in Mpekweni’s kitchen.
As a little girl, I use to love watching my Bedda (grandmother) cook and at times I would even help her, but I never really developed a passion for cooking or even baking, although my passion for food and eating is incredible—you’d be surprised how fast and how much I can eat. This is where the first line of this blog slowly becomes integrated with the idea of loving the kitchen, but hating to cook. I never really understood why cooking never appealed to me, but after this week’s experience in the kitchen, I think I have come to an interesting conclusion.
I cannot tell you the amount of dessert dishes I have made over the past week, but believe it or not, I actually enjoyed preparing them. The Baker I was working with was so patient and informative; not only did I make different desserts, but I actually learned how to do so. After each dish was completed, she would test me and ask what ingredients were in the dish (she was one of the few employees who genuinely cared about my learning experience). Along with being so informative, she was most definitely great company as well. We were able to joke around and have fun all while getting the job done. I think that is also another reason why I actually enjoyed working in the kitchen—when you cook with someone, you create a bond whereas when you cook alone, you have no one to share the experience with (Chris, get ready to cook up a storm, but please I hate prep work—I’ll get into that in just a second). Simple ingredient dishes make me happy—anything that requires a lot of prep work, please count me out. No peeling, cutting, chopping, and or grating—ever. Personally, I absolutely dislike doing work that does not stimulate my mind and or any work that requires me to stand in one position for an extended period of time. Back home, I’m a server, all I’m use to is running around.
Now, the kitchen does of course have its hectic moments, but the concerns of a cook are completely different than those of a server. A server’s main priority is to ensure that the guest is satisfied in terms of service, whereas a cook’s main priority is to ensure that the food being served is up to the guest’s standards. Both jobs work hand-in-hand, although no matter how good the service is, a guest will always remember if the food was appetizing or not. I like to think of these simple equations when explaining the relationship between food and service:
Good Food + Good Service = The Ultimate Goal
Good Food + Bad Service = There is a Possibility that the Guest WILL return
Bad Food + Good Service = The Guest will NOT return
Bad Food + Bad Service = A Recipe for Disaster
Speaking of hectic, this is just a reminder to everyone—Please be aware of “Wet Floor” signs and if there isn’t one (which should never happen), please put one there, even while mopping! Yes, I had a little accident a few days ago—I fell and hurt my knee—but thankfully it’s slowly getting better (hopefully it’s fully healed by Saturday for Cape Town)!
As I said, I love the kitchen, but I haven’t really told you my honest answer as to why that is. All day, you are surrounded by food (which is the most heavenly thing on this earth by the way), smelling all of the beautiful aromas of either baked goods or seasoned chicken—melted chocolate, Pecan Pie, muffins, croissants, herbs and spices, potatoes that are baked to a golden perfection (please, someone stop me)—and I must say what keeps me going throughout the day are the little treats I find throughout the kitchen. My newfound, absolute favourite snack to nibble on has to be crushed biscuits (in Canada I’m going to use Digestives), doused in melted salted butter—don’t judge me, just love me (that’s you Chris).
All in all, food = unconditional love, but I just wish it could cook itself sometimes…