Did you ever have one of those days? I did -- last Saturday -- but, I'll get to that in a minute.
Most of you here in ATL are familiar with The Cooks Warehouse - the amazing cookware store and cooking school that has been a home-away-from-home for me and a pivotal part of my culinary journey. Cooks is a great place - I started taking classes there several years ago, then began assisting as a volunteer in cooking classes about 3 years ago. I have met so many friends and fellow foodies through Cooks - and many of these folks have been a big part of my inspiration to embark upon this culinary path.
Well - I'm excited to say I am now officially a member of the Cooks Warehouse family - I got a part-time job (1-2 evenings a week) as one of the Principal Assistants for the cooking school. As a Principal Assistant it is my job to make sure everything goes smoothly during cooking classes - working with the chef and the volunteer assistants to pull off a fun, educational and delicious evening for everyone involved. I just started training this month and am really excited (and a little nervous) for my first "solo flight" this week.
There are many great benefits to being associated with Cooks - first, it's just a super great group of people; second, there's a sweet little discount on store merchandise; and, third, you get to take any class you want for free. By far, however, the really great part of this gig is that you get to interact directly with some amazing chefs - many of them true giants in "the foodie world". This perk is especially important to me since I am trying to network and meet as many chefs as possible to help me along my culinary journey.
So - back to last Saturday. Gena Berry is a pretty important player on the Atlanta culinary scene - she runs Culinary Works - and has her hands on most of the imporant culinary events in Altanta and even throughout the US. One of my friends (someone else I had met through Cooks) happens to know Gena pretty well - and she had been nice enough to introduce me to her at another event and to mention my culinary aspirations to her. When I found out that Gena was teaching a class last weekend I quickly raised my hand to be a volunteer assistant (I was still in training as a Principal Assistant - hadn't yet received my "all clear" - so I was simply serving as one of the volunteer assistants). My goal in this class was to get to know Gena better and, of course, impress her with my exceptional organizational skills and vast culinary knowledge. So - imagine my complete and utter devastation when one of the other assistants uttered the damning phrase "Do I smell something burning" - and I look over to see that the dish I was responsible for was turning a deep and unappetizing color under the broiler. SERIOUSLY??? I have melted cheese on nachos dozens of times - and THIS is the time I burn it - good grief! Needless to say I was mortified - but I just kept on working and tried to smile, even though I was dying inside. I must say, Gena was very calm about it and didn't even flinch - she simply trimmed off the burnt parts and served it up with a yummy black bean salsa and guacomole - and, actually it didn't taste too bad..
Oh well - just have to shake it off, I guess. I'm sure it won't be the last thing I burn - and I'm not going to let it keep me from reaching out to Gena again - perhaps I can impress her with my plucky "pick-yourself-up, dust-yourself-off" attitude, even if she may have her doubts about my culinary ability!