I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Straw

A few weeks ago I blogged about a depressing situation at my culinary school. As it happens I not only wrote about it here, but I posted it on another forum I frequent, and spoke about it to several people in real life. Without fail, everyone who I spoke to or who commented said the same thing - that I had no hope of changing school policy, but that I should say something to the teacher about the thefts I witnessed.

I didn't take that advice. Not because I didn't want to - in fact I agreed with everyone who said I should report the thefts. In fact I actually felt (and do still feel) a moral obligation to say something, to be the whistle-blower, to stand up for what I believe is not acceptable. However I didn't feel as though I could say anything after the fact. I should have said something that very evening(s) - when I saw the event occur. Saying something a few days or a week later, while still valid and important, would somehow seem a bit...diluted. I kept my mouth shut (difficult for me) - even though it still bothered me.

Tonight we had a function on, so we were cooking in a different kitchen. A few minutes before we were due to go home, one of the students (a local student, for what it's worth), bragged to me that she and another (international) student had each stolen an entire bottle of rum. You can imagine the look on my face, can't you? When I asked the international student what the @#%^ she was thinking, she replied that she hadn't stolen anything, that she was merely asked if she would carry it out of the kitchen, and she had agreed. I have no idea if she was lying or not.

Needless to say, I encouraged the international girl to return the bottle she had, and tried to nicely tell her she had no need to be dragged into anyone else's mud. I then approached the teacher (privately, with nobody else there) and told him what I had heard and seen - mentioning the other things I had seen but also explaining why I had not said anything until now. You can imagine the look on HIS face. Not happy.

There is, for me, a certain HONOUR in being a chef. I chose this profession, and in so choosing have dedicated myself to it. People don't become chefs for the money, let me tell you. There are only a select few (the Jamies, Gordons, and Julias of the world) who make a stack of cash. The rest of us, we do it for the love. Truly. It sickens me to think that this girl - whatever her motivations - somehow thinks it's okay to drag the rest of us down with her. Last week she was thrown out of class for, among other things, saying she didn't give a shit what the food tasted like since she didn't have to eat it. Week after week I spend my time cooking alongside people who just don't want to be there - and act like it. This week, enough was enough. If my biggest crime thus far is actually giving a shit about my career and my reputation, so be it. I'm willing to pay the price of being branded a 'bitch' and a 'dobber' and whatever else that girl (and others) are likely to throw at me. At the end of the day I know that I did the right thing, and I am upholding the honour of my profession.

I'll keep you posted.


The Grubbs said...

I haven't made the Cinnabuns yet, but felt compelled to respond to this post. I agree with you about what you are saying. When you enjoy something, it is so hard to see a few people come in and ruin the simplicity of it for the others. And the few that ruin it, if not stopped seem to MULITPLY in numbers, quickly. I am seeing the same issue on the TC forum.
At least you had another chance to say something when it came up. Good for you!

Weinraub Family said...

Good for you. You know you did the right thing. I can't imagine trying to work/learn in an enviroment with someone like that.

Way to go kid!