I Miss Sitting in a Meeting

A good one.

I am sure you all know what I mean. I am not talking about a meeting where you just sit around a table and listening to some nonsense. I am talking about a nice brainstorming session, the one that actually providing results, or at least steps towards that. In a meeting we could get some inspirations and ideas and collaborations for some cool things, some fun events, etc.

Some prefer to called it brainstorming, well it works. It sends out a more cool vibe than the word ‘meeting’. While brainstorming sounds like a more fun activity with throwing a lot of ideas out of the box and that kind of stuff, meeting tend to drive our mind to that long boring moment when we play candy crush or scrolling over social media while pretending to be present at the room or table.

I had this random thought just when I was about to sleep, well most of my random thoughts comes up at that time, and I felt like I haven’t been bloging for such a long time, so why don’t I share this random thought with the interwebs.

Back then, I was used to sit on a long meeting, discussing about details of the event. It was a headache back then, I must admit, lots of arguments, problems, dramas, name it all. But it was all worth it when you can argue and actually getting results. Your idea might not be always the best and picked all the time, but the feeling of being listened and taken into considerations gives us a feel of respect. Which encourage us to throw some ideas in the future.

To make it simple, it was tiring but worth it. All the times, energy, hard work that been spent on the event paid off when the event is done and we all can share the memories and lessons for future events.

What I missed the most actually the camraderie. We all spare our times to do the meetings, comes up with idea, crafting the equipments, making phone calls, try to pull all strings we had. We just get motivated to not be the one that pulling the team down.

I am not sure, wether the work ethic has changed, or maybe it just a bunch of people with different work pace with me. One thing for sure, I am not feeling the sense of camraderie anymore. It might be just a different path that we grown into and that is the reality that must be accepted.

Good meeting sessions also helps to keep the mind sharps. We are being pushed to use our minds to think about a lot of stuff, from decision making, solutions for problems, or maybe some light jokes to lighten the mood.

Sigh

I really miss a good brainstorming session.

#ThankYouTD

Last season of NBA was an end of an era, three of the biggest player that ever play for the generation that I watched is hanging their shoes.

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan.

Those three have such a great career playing in the league, Kobe in the Lakers, KG start up the Wolves, and Duncan receiving the baton for the Spurs from David Robinson. Everybody knows Kobe, whether they love him or hate him. KG always been flashy and always bring the life of the party. But the one that I truly admire is ‘the fundamental’ that keep Spurs steady on the top of the pack, Tim Duncan.

He shows that you do not have to be flashy to stand up, he provides a steady fundamental for San Antonio Spurs. Standing in strong with David Robinson as the twin tower, transitioning into the big three eras with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, and helping the team to mold Kawhi Leonard to receive the baton. Five championships ring should be enough to prove the quality of Spurs #21, if you add his individual honor it will only get better.

He sets a different standard for a player. You do not need to act like a big star to be one. You can live humble and lead with actions to boost up your team, to make your team mate play better, to win championships, to become a leader that can be trusted.

My words will not do justice for what Tim Duncan did in the league. I suggest you to watch all the speeches from his team mate and of course Coach Pops on the San Antonio Spurs Twitter account. There is also one movie by his brother about Tim Duncan, with one scene in the ending that caught my attention. a quote from Tim Duncan,

Good, better, best.
Never let it Rest.
Until your good is better,
and your better is best.

– Tim Duncan

From the Spurs’s twitter account, I also have one favorite picture of him walking out the court while hugging coach Pops that match one quote from Tim to Pops.

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Thank you for being more than a coach. For being like a father to me. Thank You

I am sad this has to happen, but this will be the mark of a new era of the game.

#ThankYouTD

Work It Smart

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One thing that I remember clearly from the culinary school is the importance of Mise En Place. Mise En Place is a French term for put in place, it emphasising the importance of having all things that you will be needed during service time, such as your garnish, sauce bottles, and such. In general just preparing all the things that you going to use. For example, when you cooking a fried rice, then your mise en place including activity such as mincing garlic, chopping spring onion, dicing meat, cracking an egg, up to preparing the wok that is going to be used.

Mise en Place is being done to make sure that it will provide a smooth activity afterwards, whether it services or cooking stuff. Well, it might look cool when you do things a la minute, but it won’t be smart, isn’t it? If you can have it ahead of time it always betters that way. No one likes to go to war with a half assed prep anyway. That’s why, there is a saying that you can judge a chef by how they do their mise en place, chefs, whom able to do a great prep and keep things in check and neat is more likely to have a better career. Good mise en place also ensures that you will have things more organised and will safe a lot of time and energy.

to quote Anthony Bourdain;

“Mise-en-place is the religion of all good line cooks… As a cook, your station, and its condition, its state of readiness, is an extension of your nervous system… The universe is in order when your station is set.”

Once, my class was having a joint lineup with a junior batch that will go to the apprenticeship site, and the chef instructor asked us to give some tips for them, most of my friend said to just listen to the head chef’s instructions and work hard. Yes, I agree with it, but only partly. What I think the most important is to be able to work smart. How to plan what you have to do for the day. I was having a hard time during apprenticeship because I wasn’t fast enough, the first two weeks I felt like a slowpoke in a racing competition against ratata. But as time goes, I get a bit better. I tried to get a grasp of the pace in the kitchen and learn about things that have to be done, Including prioritising stuff.

It helps, a lot!

Working hard is good, a lot of places would love to have a hard working personnel. But I am sure a lot of places would love a smart worker even more. Let me remind you, working smart is not working lazy, cutting corners here and there. But, to do things that need to be done in the most effective and timely manner. By doing that not only you got things done, you should also be able to save your energy for another project. Like working out, doing some freelancing stuff, or even prepping your own big break.You might not get it right the first time, but while you keep adjusting you should be getting the right tunes that work for you.

Let’s us start to working smart!

Why never invite me?*

Don’t we all love to hear that sentence? To be clear these are a couple situation that the sentence normally applies;

I already watch the movie last week.
Wah, never invite me.

The cake there was great, I ate three slices yesterday.
Eat cake never invite me.

Yeah, I spent my Saturday at hospital.
Go hospital never invite me!

Can you explain to me why I have to invite you whenever I go places? are you the one paying for it? I just can’t get it. If you say this is only a small talk, well, just don’t talk at all. I find this is very annoying. I have two hypothesis on it;

  1. They just want to have their time by themselves or have it with another circle of friends.
  2. You just not fun to be with.

For some people, it is relaxing to just have a time for ourselves. Yes, there are peoples who don’t mind, even enjoy, doing things alone. My suggestion if you want to say things like that or something similar, just zip it. Be wise on what you said. You might let it slip one time, and you won’t get any invitations anymore.

*the phrases is in Singlish about asking why people never ask the speaker to join their activity. The terms also commonly used is Bo Jio.

Chef’s Table

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Watching a chef work in a kitchen is like watching a dancer on stage. The good one can move so gracefully and amaze us with their slightest movements. That’s why I always love to watch those cooking show with good chefs in it. The magic of that is carried on when I went to At-Sunrice, where I get to see some of the instructors move so swiftly during demo and my sad attempt to duplicate it during hands on.

Nowadays, there is a lot of restaurant offering a concept where customer can see what happens in the kitchen, how the cooks prepare the order that keep coming from that ticket machine, which at times is a nightmare. It’s fun inside this kitchen, of course the demand is higher for the kitchen staff because customer can see and we need to be extra careful and more hygienic compared to our closed kitchen cousins. But, you won’t get shouted in an open kitchen because it’s just bad for the business. To be seen screaming to a cook, I don’t know if it get the customer appetite going. It doesn’t mean that we don’t get smacked tho, it just come in a nicer package of less shouting. 😛

I know a concept that can give people more satisfaction, instead of just watching the cooks from over the counter, why don’t get a table inside the kitchen. This amazing concept is known as chef’s table. This is normally used by chefs to offer a tasting menu for their new creations, of course, it cost a little bit more than the average dining fee, but to be able to taste a new dish and get a one of a kind experiences eating in the midst of a busy hustling kitchen is one of a kind. To top that, we get to see the beautiful movement of a well-trained chef on the stage of their own.

For me there is a pleasure in watching a swift move of a chef started from the misé en place, as simple as slicing onion or debone a chicken, to the cooking process, when they flawlessly stir the pan and pot, until the final process of plating all the element of the dish into a beautiful plate to please the eyes first before they kill us with the burst of flavour. It’s always intriguing to see what inspire all the great mind of the chefs when they plan all the menu.

My current addiction now is actually a Netflix series called Chef’s Table. Which they introduce us to a number of amazing chefs all around the world, telling the stories of their inspirations as well as an opinion from a well-known culinary figure n the area. If you ever wanted to know what goes behind all the crazy dishes in the famous restaurant, I highly recommend this series. This series is not like you every other culinary show, it is seriously mind blowing.

Now if you excuse me, I need to watch more episode of it and feel bad about myself even more.

I Woke Up Hungry

I just don’t get how people come up with the hashtag “woke up like this”. You know, that picture when you post the image of you just after you wake up in the morning. What even makes you think about it in the first place?

Hmm, okay how do I start my day? 
Oh, I know! 
Lets take a selfie!
I’m a geniuuuus!!

For me, as I am constantly hungry, I will never think to take a picture after I am wake up, the phone is lucky to not be eaten. The first thing in my mind after waking up is

what should I eat for breakfast today?
Porridge would be nice.
But wait, it wont hold long enough.
How about noodle?
 No, it will make me fat.
I guess I ended up with the nasi uduk again.

Yeah, avoiding noodle and having a rice dish cooked with coconut milk with fried as toppings for breakfast won’t make you fat.

Also, I am pretty sure the picture of me waking up won’t be pleasing at all. That droopy eyes and half awake look, I can’t seem to get a good angle of me at that time of the day. I will be busy covering up my stomach anyway. Because I don’t know what sorcery there were, but every time I lay on my bed it seems always try to get me naked. I don’t know why, I just laying down minding my own business, roll a bit to get the most comfortable position and the next thing I know, my shirt is up to my stomach. And if i fell asleep like that, I ended up taking tolak angin and burping all day long the next day.

So, if any of you guys are a practitioner of the hashtag “I Woke Up Like This” or have any idea what’s behind it, please do tell me! I’ll be here waiting in line for my noodle.

Culinary Student Journal, Week 16

I am starting to feel like I had enough of Singapore. I find this city very tiring, I am normally a city kind of person, but maybe it’s true what people said too much of everything is not good for you, and I think I have a tad too much of a city. Sometimes, I want to go over to sit on a beach or a mountain and chill.

Anyway, the time is kinda going so slow, yet so fast. I feel like the days goes by slowly, but before I know, I just finished the 16th week of the program. Which means, I already living about four months in Singapore, it kinda explain why I get tired in here. For a couple weeks, I’ve been dreading to go back home, with all the fatigue and how my body been aching, I just wanted to go back home, eat a lot of Bakso Afung, Ayam Penyet, and be miserable.

Like I said, I don’t know since when I started to turn into such a negative minded person. I hope this is only a phase that will gone by. The way I console myself is,by thinking how this part of my life can be such a dramatic chapter when I wrote my biography in the future. Yes, I can be that lame, sometimes. LOL. Also, when I heard stories from my classmates at their workplace, I figured that my place actually not that bad. If you complain about people that annoyed you, well, you find that anywhere, anyway. 

I try to read some books to sooth my mind also to find inspiration and reminder why I starting this course.

Anyway, if you guys know what things to do with a low/no budget in Singapore and pretty chillaxing, do let me know!

See you!

Self Labeling Individuals

In a professional world there is a thing called 10000 hours rules, it means that a person can be considered a pro in one industry after doing at least 10.000 hours of practice or basically hands on activity in the respective field.

Nowadays people easily stating that they are something. giving the own self some sort of title that should be earned, instead of stated. yes, i am not free of charge, I’ve been putting out freelance writer for so long in my LinkedIn account. not until recently that I just removed all the self-gifted title on my LinkedIn page and saying that I am a full time student., culinary student to be exact.

One day, I was channel surfing on the TV until I find a program called Chef Vs Child. One thing that crossed my mind was, “Oh crap!” for some of you the show might be fun to see how a professional chef battling(?) a child that being claimed as a young chef. I know that it attract ratings and such but, as one of my instructor said, that show is somehow offensive to the people in the industry. Yes, it is cool to see a young child to be able to cook, to make a great steak. But to call them a chef. Whoa, things escalated very quickly here.

I think the word ‘Chef’ is being used to lightly nowadays. well, not only chef, a lot of words being used very lightly, ‘photographer’, ‘writer’, etc. its like it has so little meaning. “Look, I can make a fettucine alfredo, let’s post it up with a caption ‘Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo by Chef Dumbdumb’, posted on IG @dumbdumblovefood” Yes, we understand the urge for you to share your creation with us in the digital realm, but to call yourself a chef? whoa, chill dude. if you can called yourself a chef by making one fettuccine alfredo at home, then my mother and grandmother are a masterchef.

If by doing that you can be called a chef, then what is the point of me, flying abroad to learn culinary, busting my ass out in the kitchen, chopping onions and carrots to practice that julienne, brunoise, and all the cuts for exam; standing for a long hours in the hot kitchen next to the stove and being shouted for not able to cut the onion fine enough; all the hours we’ve been washing that huge kitchen after being shouted because of the onion. after we graduate, even we can’t call our self a chef yet. We will only start our journey as a commis or a helper out in the kitchen. bustling our ass off and being shouted as we struggle to staying alive and keeping up with the pace.

well, media also have role in it, with all the food programme about chef this and chef that, people star to think that being a chef is about do a little bit kitchen work and charmingly smiling in front of camera. Do a little chop chop here, sauté there, and voila magical scrumptious dish on the first try. If that is the case, i better pack my bag and going back home and start shouting I am a chef. As I said, I also guilty for did that kind of stuff, but luckily I’ve been ‘enlighten’ and I am willing to work my ass off to get to that point.

I am hoping that all those self proclaimed people can put more respect to not just using a word so lightly.

Oh, by the way, I am not aiming to be the world’s greatest masterchef, i am aiming to be the restaurateur with a nice kitchen skills.

Yours truly

A struggling culinary student.

Slow Quick Getaway

You know the feeling when you just want to have a quick getaway and decided to book a flight to nearby country for the weekend. 
Ah, I am not gonna bring anything, a cabin bag will be enough. 

Or not. 

When you pack, you start to pack more than what you actually need. I might need this, i might need that. Before you know it you have two cabin sized bag. 

You know what, a weekend getaway alone is not fun. How about ask some friends, there you ask two of your best friends to spend the weekend splurging the hard earned money for some self indulgence getaway. The two also being in need with a getaway or just to give you a support so you don’t overly sad that you go lonely. 

Boom, they also get two cabin sized bags. That’s already six bags between three people. 

As a normal human being, we will try to reassure ourselves that, it’s only a little extra, shouldn’t be a problem. 

As well as the other 100 passenger. Not to mention a local that going back to their hometown, bring some souvenirs that to risky to be checked and to bulky to be put together in their cabin bag. 

Not trying to be preaching, only a reminder to myself to pack what i need. If it looks like I need more spaces, just buy extra luggage space and checked the baggage in. 

Let’s make the quick getaway still quick. 

Culinary Student Journal, Week 10

Happy People Makes Great Food.

This week was services week. We learn about how to provide the basic dining room services, from how to fold a napkin to how to set a table. Working the front of the house is not any easier, since we have to deal with people that pretty much unpredictable, but that is also the fun thing. We get to know about a lot of things and get exposed into a lot of things.

During the lecture, the instructor said this line,

“Happy staff will take care of your customer”

I am agreeing with it. I always believe in to make people happy, we have to be happy first. In a sense how can you hope others to smile when all you do is pouting for the whole day. In other words, how can you send out delicious food out to the customer when you are not doing it whole-heartedly.

I am not saying that we have to be the all fun caring person all day everyday, but at least keep our emotion in check to make sure we did not drag the whole service down with our downy attitude. Because one, is not a pleasant experiences to be served with a pouty face, two it will only tire yourself, because all you think is this is not nice, not fun, very tiring, etc. I also believe your attitude will kind of set up your day for you. When you wake up feeling good, all the things that happen through out the day will be less stressful, vice versa.

What I am hoping is I can start to have this habit when I can see the positives of sides, and hopefully not dragging the whole mood down, as for the future I can make sure all the colleague, staff, business partners, or whoever it is to keep happy.