Thomas Keller was an idol to me (and all my classmates) throughout culinary school, my career and to present day. Eating at his restaurant, The French Laundry, is still something I tell my husband we just have to do one day and it’s very high on my bucket list. We have a YouTube channel, The Adventures of Apple and Rob, and I keep telling him it will make a great video. I just want an excuse to make my pilgrimage there.
I was really bored at work watching Netflix the other day and… Before you say anything, I have my phone propped up in front of my cutting board with my AirPods in so I’m actually working but keeping myself entertained as well. OK so now that it’s established I don’t slack at work, I was looking for something light to watch and have been lost since I binge watched The Crown and am dying for season 3 to be released already. I came across Julie & Julia. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the true story about Julie Powell, a writer who was going through a rough time and decided to blog about cooking every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year.
What a neat idea wasn’t it? I wanted to do that! But then I took a step back and reminded myself that I am professionally trained. Cooking everything from Julia Child’s book would be a walk in the park. Besides, she wasn’t as influential to me as shes was for Julie Powell. Then a remembered The French Laundry. Out of all the chefs and all the restaurants, The French Laundry was always so magical and mysterious to me. It was the dream. Something so unobtainable that even the thought of doing an internship there seemed so far fetched so I didn’t even bother applying.
Here we are some 15 years later, working from restaurant to catering company to another restaurant that claims to be high end and they all have one thing in common. They take short cuts. There are so many different types of radishes but they all use the same red one that you can find at the supermarket. The overcooked shrimp tasted like the inside of a refrigerator and no one cares to tell the dishwasher to re-wash the cambro because they are to busy texting or on the phone with the line cook who called out, again because he doesn’t care, he’s to underpaid anyway.
I’m bored. The only thing I can do right now is work the garde manger station of a “high end” restaurant no more than 32 hours a week for the lunch shift. Anything to be around food again but as soon as they put me on the broiler I go home in tears because my rotator cuff has a chronic injury that gives me a lot of pain. There is also the 5 herniated disks from my neck to my lower back that give me a lot of trouble. I can’t do it anymore, at least not in that capacity. What a waste of my talent.
Much like Julie Powell I’m in a rough place. I could go back to working a desk job as a paralegal again but that took me months to recover from a crushed soul. I want more. I want something better. There must be more than this.
There is… The French Laundry Cookbook came in and I’m ready to start cooking. From what I remember, the recipes are complex, the ingredients will be expensive and possibly hard to find but I am going to do it. When I’m done, we are going to fly to California and we are going to eat at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry. Then… on to my next book.
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