Maladroit Chef

Maladroit Chef
“A kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.” Chef Masaharu Morimoto

Stupide!
Imbecile!
Whack! with the big heavy wooden spoon
across my knuckles.
The instructor in culinary school
was determined to teach me how to
use a knife correctly.
I had been cooking since I was six and
had primo knife skills by the time I was seven.
But…
He was French and graduated from
le Cordon Bleu.
I used the knife correctly.
I shaved off the top portion
of the knuckles on my hand.
Blood everywhere of course.
dumb ass, I muttered to myself.
that is what you get for doing it right.

41 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kim881
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 02:36:11

    Head chefs (and, I imagine, instructors) can be so abrupt, I’m surprised that there are not more maladroit chefs in restaurant kitchens, Toni. I’ve watched TV programmes with Gordon Ramsey and wondered how his staff can work for him without shouting back! Knives are dangerous!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 28, 2019 @ 06:39:50

      Yes knives are. You learn to say “yes chef” or move to another kitchen or quit. Ramsay is notorious but he doesn’t dish out what he didn’t receive. I was not a screamer at my staff but they knew to do it right or move on. I always kept a box of those tiny bandaids on hand. After being offered one of those, they learned to be more careful, to wear a chain mail or kevlar glove and to expect no pity. A chef’s hand is a roadmap of scars, joints out of joint. I am missing the first joint of my left pinkie. It is a badge of honor to have the scars. It shows you work for a living. Lol, I also fed my staff well at family meal. I showed respect for my dishwashers and runners – two vital employees.

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  2. jaerose37
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 05:25:29

    What a fun but bloody demonstration of finding your own feet and knowing what’s best

    Reply

  3. oldegg
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 07:32:38

    In any new job there are pitfalls and none worse that araving head chef who no doubt was raved at when he or she was learning too!

    Reply

  4. Kerry
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 09:11:48

    Ouch! There’s right and then there is right.

    Reply

  5. Vivian Zems
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 09:12:48

    Lol! Thank goodness you didn’t have your sword nearby!😂

    Reply

  6. mhmp77
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 10:52:48

    kaykuala

    Perhaps it is better explained that culinary skills are inborn rather than learned. One should have the talents and passion to be a great chef

    Hank

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 28, 2019 @ 10:56:39

      And being taught some of those skills are as important as the passion. Not everyone is born knowing how to open an oyster no matter how much passion one has.

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  7. sanaarizvi
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 12:18:25

    This is so on point in terms of working in the kitchen and dealing with knives! Wonderfully portrayed, Toni ❤️

    Reply

  8. Helen L Dehner
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 12:28:41

    Laughing, though I know blood isn’t funny! My youngest son is a chef, my oldest worked his way through college cheffing … dangerous yes it can be.

    Reply

  9. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 16:25:27

    Some people only know one of doing it right I guess…
    Maybe it’s better if it’s the student choosing the teacher than the other way around.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 28, 2019 @ 16:36:31

      Unfortunately in culinary school, certain teachers teach certain subjects. Not always a choice of teachers. Sometimes there is a choice of teachers in a certain subject and it is highly competitive

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  10. Kestril Trueseeker
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 18:34:54

    Sometimes our passions demand a little blood sacrifice. And we go on, knowing that price probably will be demanded again, because that pride in a job well done turns scars into badges of honor.

    Reply

  11. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 21:47:52

    Ha. The desire and pure passion of an artistic skill hopefully is enough to get one through. It always amazes me that some of these artists (I’m including chefs) are so fragile of character. Being timid or lacking self-esteem or sheer perseverance is certainly a crutch! I enjoy these type of poems of yours.

    Reply

  12. magicalmysticalteacher
    Sep 29, 2019 @ 10:47:54

    Maybe “doing it right” is in the eyes of the beholder? 😉

    Reply

  13. Sherry Marr
    Sep 29, 2019 @ 12:12:52

    Ouch. It sounds like he had a big ego. Hope you healed up well, kiddo.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 29, 2019 @ 14:08:21

      Lol. I have the scars to prove it. A chef’s hands ate battle scarred with niicks, cuts, burns, i lost the top digit to my pinky, and hhave a permanent out of joint middle finger on my right. We suffer from bad backs, feet, and knees. You have to have a passion for cooking.

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  14. Mary
    Sep 29, 2019 @ 13:19:04

    Ouch – what a painful ending!! (I hadn’t realized you had gone to culinary school!

    Reply

  15. Linda Lee Lyberg
    Sep 29, 2019 @ 17:57:22

    Such a tough vocation to choose. I dated a chef once, long, long hours. And rarely did I get a meal cooked by him, because he was always tired-LOL.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 29, 2019 @ 17:59:09

      That’s the way it is. Long hours…standing for long hours, The few times I would cook for a lover, I did Chinese stirfry!

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  16. Colleen@ LOOSELEAFNOTES
    Sep 29, 2019 @ 18:04:39

    Ha! I’m not sure if my “ouch” reaction is from the slap by the chef or the bleeding knuckles from doing it right!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Sep 29, 2019 @ 18:10:40

      LOL. I still flinch all these years later when I think I of shaving my knuckles. It is a primo ouch!

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  17. hhennenburg
    Sep 29, 2019 @ 18:45:59

    A good lesson. The “right” way to do something is the way where no one gets hurt!:-)

    Reply

  18. Wendy Bourke
    Sep 29, 2019 @ 23:23:23

    ‘that is what you get for doing it right.’ There is a bit of wisdom in this. As the expression goes: there’s more than one way to bake a cake. The best way, is the way that gets the job done … preferably, without bloodshed ~ lol ~

    Reply

  19. Ron.
    Sep 30, 2019 @ 01:00:26

    Ha! Dat’ll teachya!

    Reply

  20. ellaedge
    Sep 30, 2019 @ 09:47:41

    I could hear Gordon Ramsay yelling while reading your poem~ Perfectionism can taint the stew and create hell in the kitchen. Well Done

    Reply

  21. Magaly Guerrero
    Sep 30, 2019 @ 17:33:00

    Ouch! Your description of “doing it right” bleed right into my skull. What an image.

    Reply

  22. purplepeninportland
    Sep 30, 2019 @ 20:00:34

    Sometimes “right” is not “might” but “cut”. Great poem, Toni!

    Reply

  23. Miles Moore
    Dec 01, 2019 @ 23:07:28

    Hi, Great extra tips for the chef who using knife daily. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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