Culinary School

Not sure why

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One of my favorite memories is of spilling chocolate sauce all over my chef’s coat last year. I was working at Nectar as a cook – for free – with no clue why. I guess you could say I was a little lost, though at the time I felt inspired, confident that if I kept […]

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This Year

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It’s the first time I can remember waking up without a schedule. In celebration I light a pumpkin candle. I make coffee in my favorite mug. My roommate from college gave it to me and it says, “Do something creative every day.” She was always so smart. By the way, this is the finished book […]

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The Mystery of Risk

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At 4 am I wake up and start to worry about the peaches. If I cut them too early, they’ll rot. But I know what it’s like to be on the firing line — stripped of resources, panicked for time, feet swelling from the weight of my body. Between slewing plates of pork, tossing fruit […]

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Nectar: Saying Goodbye

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Tonight was my last night at the restaurant. I look down at my coat again. It’s splattered. But what is it? Salsa, I decide. I am splattered in salsa. Ten months ago I wore regular clothes. Now I wear salsa. I just got an email from my best friend from college. She’s in Boston. She […]

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Nectar: The Restaurant Apprentice

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We clinked margarita glasses. We had just served chipotle chiles five ways to a room full of foodies and I felt the ice-cold tequila slide from my throat to my stomach. We’re losing a cook and a server and so I suppose the toast was appropriate. He’s got a sous-chef gig out west and she’ll […]

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Nectar: Looking Out From In

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Through a window to the kitchen, I used to watch the Nectar line cooks in their white jackets with their heads down. I used to wonder what they were chopping or sautéing or saucing. But now, hungry friends, I’m one of those cooks. I spend long hours in the cramped quarters of Nectar’s kitchen and […]

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Culinary School: A Grande Finale

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And so it seems I’ve finished my third term at the Midwest Culinary Institute. And now I’m sitting at home feeling a tinge of whiplash. It’s funny the way time moves. You don’t notice when it’s happening but all of a sudden you look across the room. The chair you have always known has changed […]

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Nectar: Fish out of Water

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Fish out of water, as the saying goes, brings to mind a big, crazy looking creature, thrashing from side to side on the beach, struggling for his next breath. This, people, is why I hesitate to compare myself to one. I really much prefer you imagine me strutting around in the kitchen, chopping things here, […]

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Culinary School: A Panic

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I was running hard against the dirt, my feet were pounding the ground, my fists were clenched. Everywhere behind me, dust was unearthing itself, flinging in the air and then falling back down in my tracks. My heart beat against my chest, steady like a drum, and then I heard white noise — static — […]

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Culinary School: Hot Mess

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You never forget your first fire. I set my first one in a microwave when I was ten by exploding a loaf of bread, which was innocently pre-sliced and still wrapped in plastic. In my defense, I was only trying to set the microwave timer. I was attempting to time thirty minutes of reading — […]

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