I remember as a kid, Christmas used to take an age to come by. These days it feels like we have only just put the decorations away, tided up all the wrapping and used the last of the Turkey stock.
For a good percentage of our industry this means minds are focused on catering for the hordes of customers that are either at end of year work do’s or on their way to their holiday batches, cribs, or camp sites with the festive spirit in mind and the will to eat and drink.
The menus will be well trialled, tested and in place. Our suppliers will be loading the trucks with non-stop orders. Glasses will be polished, tables set, and bars stocked.
My mind wanders deep into the kitchens I have spent my time in, and I recall it was always this time of year when, as Emeril would say, we all “step it up a notch!”
Coming from a seasonal town. I used to love this time of year when you knew, no matter what, you and the team were going to get slammed and you just had to be ready. That to me is the appeal of what has brought us to our industry. The fact that you know what’s coming and you have spent weeks planning for it, yet you know it could go pear shaped at any time. The challenge is to keep everything on track, and I reckon there is no better place than a service running like a well-oiled machine.
Of course, there is another sector associated with cookery and hospitality, our educators! Those who are passionate about our profession and passionate about sharing their knowledge of our craft and willing to teach, train and mentor our youth. For most of them their busy time has just ended, students have graduated, resulting is done, and moderation is complete. At this end, they will no doubt be part of the influx of people heading away at this time of year to refresh and revitalise in readiness for the next cohorts.
For NZChefs, we are a mix of both these groups and yes, the office will be taking a break for a couple of weeks, but we will not be too far away, and we are always contactable.
2019! Was certainly a year that had its up’s and down’s and I am looking forward to what 2020 has to offer. With that, I am excited to announce NZChefs (in fact New Zealand’s) very first National Foraging Day. The same day each year to celebrate provenance and foraging as a whole. There has been a fair amount of work gone on in the background and you will read more about this later in the issue.
Before signing off for the year, I would like to share a recent fun moment with you. I was fortunate enough to have morning tea recently with three of my chef friends that, to be fair, do not come together that often. Amongst the chit chat we worked out that between them there is 171 years of culinary know how right there. In addition, if you add myself into the mix we well and truly, pass the 200-year mark, which got me thinking; whilst there is a focus on the young chefs coming through, and rightly so, and whilst we are celebrating the festive season, let us raise a glass and share a toast to our peers. To those chefs who paved the path before us, who shared their knowledge and passion and prompted us to shine, “To our craft, they were dedicated and that should be celebrated.”
In closing, I would like to thank you all for your on-going support of NZChefs and for being part of the family. Be safe out there! If you are one of the workers, work hard, have fun, look after yourself and remember to come up for air. If you are one of the ones having a well earnt break then again have fun, be safe and look after each other.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year