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« happy first day of spring. to you~ joy. | Main | Eater National: "How Hard Is it to Find Good Young Cooks?" »

04 April 2011


Chef thank you for that. As a culinary student I look forward to learning so much. I hope I get to ark with a chef and great as you


"For these are not merely kitchen lessons, these are life lessons."

No kidding.

They are words to live by.

Wonder where you have been lately, great post. Chefs are born, not made and the lessons I learned in the kitchens serve me well in every non Chef job I have had since. Showing up is a lesson everyone need to learn. Thank you

What wise words! I want "Esteemable acts build self-esteem" on a tshirt! There are so many things in here that I needed to hear.

I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write your blog.

Mark Mendez, until recently the Executive Chef at Carnivale in Chicago, linked to this post in Facebook saying, "Read this, learn, repeat". It is one of the clearest descriptions of what cooks do I have ever read. I read several more of your posts, and they helped me clarify things I had noticed but not completely understood about the restaurant where I work. I think I understand better now what I owe my chef and what my chef owes me. I will change and I will grow.

You end one post saying, "If you can't make a difference, who can?"
People you will never know read your words, and they make a difference. Thank you.

What a wonderful post. Well said. For the kitchen and for life. Hugs and happy Thursday!

Well said! I'm passing this along.

I love this "if you think you know better, do better. if you think you can do better, what the fuck are you waiting for?"

A real eye opener who thinks he is better than the chef

Inspiring post.

I do not twitter so here is the answer to your question...I worked in 6 kitchens and in all there were almost daily fights among workers, mostly about ego and mine is bigger than yours stuff. I did see a few fist fights but no one got hurt.

SFL: pls understand if I dont' address you as Chef - I don't work for you.

I've followed your blog for a number of years now, and posts like this one leave me with very mixed feelings. "Hard to tell" as your tag has it. Hope you are up for someone engaging critically with your thoughts.

9/10 of what you say makes me want to sign on with you. Estimable acts as the basis for deserved self-respect. "Reliability. Accountability. Cleanliness. Humility. Manners. Efficiency." Yes to these as "life lessons."

But maybe you entangle qualities that have moral virtue with those that are just necessary for success in a dirty business. You know it's a dirty business, don't you? It would not involve the exploitation of so many of us if it weren't. The fact that there are always more begging at the door to get in doesn't mean it isn't so. Whether as a manager or a grunt, WHY defend military-style virtues (shut up and suck it up). As necessary and unavoidable, perhaps. As desirable - I don't see it. There's a tinge of sadism in it all. I've read many many of your posts, and wondered every now and then why the humanist in you is so invested in kicking butt. When your boss - or you, as boss - demands "humility," it's usually a code word for complicity in letting yourself be exploited.

Do you, or does anyone else in your readership, get what I mean? Where does the drill sergeant in you come from, and why do you embrace her so heartily?

Please do not take this as disrespect; if I didn't respect, I wouldn't take the time to comment.

This is an incredible post... and the first time I've read you. Powerful. Empowering. It's who you are BEING that makes a difference. Awesome work and writing.

When are you going to blog again?

Hello Art, This is an excellent question! One I ask myself quite a bit these days. In some ways I feel I have blogged a lot in 5+ years and now I am focusing on my kitchen and my team and continuing to build a restaurant that has not yet been around for a year. In another way I feel it might be time to write something 'in paper.' Thank you for liking eggbeater enough to want more. It's appreciated! ~ Shuna

I am happy to see your note above~ I was concerned. You know how stress takes it's toll on the body and I was hoping nothing serious had happened to you. It's like getting a card or note every week from a loved one for a long time, and then nothing for a while- we get worried :)

YES!!! Love love love. I work with a lot of green cooks, cooks that know no humility, who think they are at the top of their game, so this resonates with me and I will be taking this to work. There are people who can cook well, then there are people who are good cooks. This helps describe the difference between the two. Thank you so much for your inspiring, insightful, well-written words.

"reliability. accountability. cleanliness. humility. manners. efficiency"

All but disappeared, it's a shame.

Hope you post more Shuna! Saw you recently on Unique Sweets and thought of eggbeater again. I'll be going through your archives as per usual to help me make some important decisions. Thanks for all the posts.

I do also like

"for these are not merely kitchen lessons, these are life lessons"

True indeed. You got very inspiring post here Shuna.

this is in response to chris. he wrote about "the dirty business". I worked at a bakery that wanted me to do 3o items a day in 30 hours a week. I loved it. My stuff came out great, business increased so my hours did too, but the owner hated that.

The chef at the place was incredible. I did every thing he said. since I know more about pastry than he, he did he did everything I said. mutual respect. yes, I became obsessed, yes, I worked all the time and when I was out trying to spend time with my family I was thinking of pastry, yes I worked until I could barely move yes, it might be a little sadistic, but chef and I were having soooo much fun! We (or at least I)felt that we were doing something important.

I love food! its not that I like to eat food, I actually eat a lot of crap usually standing up, but it about creating something that when people put it in their mouths it makes them stop and feel and taste and breath. Its not about you or even chef, its about the team. one cannot do that without help. its a giant machine of mostly emotional, dramatic people. the good news is one cannot take the abuse for long so we move on then find a great place that appreciates our obsessive, behavior one does not choose this business it chooses you!

That was beautiful. Would that all kids could receive this advice. Integrity and hard work...we need much more of it in the world.

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