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The one year anniversary of becoming a cook

38 comments

On December 27th 2009 I started a job which was to change my life. You see when I moved out here, I planned to work as a mashgiach for a short while (to me working as a mashgiach was a fallback excuse to take a long road trip job) I never thought it would turn into a career, I figured on getting a desk job in silicon valley doing something with blogging, I never thought I would be a professional cook.

When I moved to the Bay Area a year ago, I was in the midst of a loving relationship, but since being in the East was killing me we figured we could weather the distance, instead I fell in love with the west, she with her boss and though we have remained close friends – we have gone our separate ways, but she prepared me in many ways for the career I was about to embark on.

You see, around 6 months ago, the chef approached me and asked if I would like to learn to cook. By now I was pretty handy with a knife, could prep out almost everything in the kitchen and was into experimenting here and there, but I was kind of frightened of the frenzied pace of the “line”, it was fast, loud and hot, but I figured I could give it a try.

I am all about hashgacha prutus and I believe that God prepared me in many ways to become a professional cook. For the first time in my life I enjoy my job and look forward to working every day. The pay is crappy, much less than I have made in every other job since I graduated college, which is kind of pathetic because although I work the line, I am still paid a little more as mashgiach.

I never thought I would be a cook, it’s not a glamorous job, the hours are long and strange, cooks don’t have social lives, we work when everyone else is off and I have to turn my kitchen mouth off when talking to regular people, but it’s amazing work and I am learning loads and have been given the freedom to experiment with loads of things (I switch between grill, saute and pantry – to get a feel for the whole kitchen – I have also learned fish and some meat butchering)

Being a cook and living in the bay area is also kind of cool because everyone is into food. Not only have I become a slight foodie, I like good wine, coffee and interesting produce as well. I have begun to forage for exotic mushrooms in the woods I hike in and have decided to start making my own cheese, liquor and sourdough.

I haven’t spoken about this much just because this isn’t a food blog, but some of you have figured my path out because I have ceased to write about food because it’s become food takes on a much different meaning when you actually know how to make it – I’ll leave it at that.

  • talking stam

    where are you a cook? which restaurant?

    • hebrewgirl

      Kvelling!

  • Sasha

    Congrats Bro. If you come back to NYC we can start a kosher-veggie gastropub, or if you have a good lead out there, bring me on! Love your writing, Sasha

  • hebrewgirl

    Oops, meant that as a general comment. Kvelling!

  • Ell

    Good for you!! I’d love to hear more about your job and cooking and bet others would too. It would be a shame if you had good food ideas / experiences to share and didn’t do so because it wasn’t ‘frum satire’ material. Hoping to hear more about this in the future. DH loves to cook too and has gotten me into some of the nuances of knife skills, different herbs, best way to braise meat, etc.

  • Ell

    OH and btw, your shidduch meter just shot up. Guys that cook? Mega-sexy.

    • loser

      Don’t ever use “mega” and “sexy” in the same sentance. It just isn’t.

  • Mahla

    Congratulations, this is so awesome to hear! Your life is really coming together out on the West Coast and you seem really happy. I’m genuinely glad for you! :^)

    • http://jewishdepression.blogspot.com OfftheDwannaB

      My sentiments exactly! That’s also very very nice of the cook who decided to teach you.

  • Yochanan

    “Not only have I become a slight foodie”,

    You weren’t already?

  • Anonymous

    Congrats!!! :-)

  • A. Nuran

    Get in touch when you start making the cheese and so on. Got materials lists, small bibliography, ways to make the tools cheaper.

    • Mahla

      I got to learn how to do that. I went through about $40 worth of Brie in the last week. No sharing … JUST myself. Man it’d be great if I could just make my own somehow!

      • http://kissmeimshomer.wordpress.com kissmeimshomer

        brie is my favorite! top it with some rasberry bread, green apple and honey and i’m in heaven

      • A. Nuran

        The only problem with brie and other cheeses like it – blues, muenster, camembert, etc. – is that the cultures get everywhere. Any cheeses you age in the same “cave” will be blue cheeses whether you meant them to be or not.

  • Ari S.

    I just hope I don’t get to eat some of those exotic mushrooms you forage when I come to eat there next time, just in case :)

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      I just found some Chantrells in the walk in we have no plans for – I plan to forage them for my shabbos guests if they aren’t used by then.

      • A. Nuran

        Sear then saute. It makes all the difference in the world.

  • Yankel

    So do you get to decide what’s on the menu?
    Like, do you have to bring your own recipes to work, or are you under the chief cook?

  • Bubba Metzia

    I was looking at the menu and some of the food looks really good. I’ve never had lamb bacon before.

  • Karen

    Knowing what you want to do with your life is a great thing. Maybe you want to start another blog about food? Look at Bourdain, combining both talents might work out well for you.

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      Already happened it’s just anonymous so you have to search real hard to find it.

      • http://kissmeimshomer.wordpress.com kissmeimshomer

        dude…why would your food blog be anonymous, yet your satire blog not be?

  • s.

    congrats, wishing you all the best with your job in the future, may it only get better and more successful!

    the food at your restaurant is great, look forward to going back there when we’re in norcal again. (and homemade sourdough is delicious.)

  • dan

    how much is the salary?
    can you give us an idea?
    can you support a family on it?

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      It depends on what you mean by support, depends on where you live and it depends on what the wife does.

      • Saturday Night Sniffer

        Hey Hesh nice to hear that. Where do you work maybe I’ll stop in one day

      • Bsmamim Smoker

        Dude,Where do you work? I’de love to stop by and say hello ;)

  • elana

    so, any nice girls there?

  • elana

    So, any nice girls there??

  • Bsmamim Smoker

    If a chef is shy or embarassed about where he works it’s always a red flag. I’ve asked Hesh two times point blank( in these comments )”Where do you work” I have gotten no reponse?!

    • Mahla

      He’s stated on this blog previously, and also on his Facebook, that for confidentiality reasons he doesn’t want to say where he works exactly.

      • Bsmamim Smoker

        Oh I get it he doesnt want people who are offended/threatened by this site to boycott the restaurant. Sure, but the thing is Hesh you realy think about it you got a lot more friends than foes. I bet you can use your notoriety from this site other things you do in the entertainment/media wold to boost sales of the restaurant. Heck, maybe you can swing a deal with the owner to do some stand up there or post a blog avbout how the restaurant has kick ass food etc…There is big money in it for you;)

        • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

          Well just ask anyone locally they all know and the article I linked to from the Forward Interview of me states it pretty clearly. We actually do have kick ass food and considered one of the top kosher restaurants in the country.

          • Bsmamim Smoker

            Well since anyone with with minimal computer skills could link to the Forward Interview anyway, you minus well “spill the beans”(no pun intended)

          • Bsmamim Smoker

            By the way Hesh. What do you think about turning 30?

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  • Mahla

    It was Frum Satire I first heard about lamb bacon … FINALLY saw yummy locally sourced lamb bacon yesterday at the local market! But it’s $20.99 / lb., so I got ground lamb instead ….

  • rationalist frummie

    They actually took lamb bacon off the menu. hearts were broken but heart attacks were prevented