No Reservations (My Journey to Culinary School)

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No, it is not Thursday, but I thought we might do a little throwback today. So let’s throwback to when Lauren was about 11 years old. (A picture won’t be provided, sorry to disappoint you.) I remember a particular movie that for some reason, struck a pretty big cord in my heart, even at such a young age. My eyes were glued to the screen every time No Reservations was on. The lovely Catherine Zeta Jones played the role of Chef Kate Armstrong at a high profile restaurant in New York. Her standards were unreachable. Her dishes impeccable. The way she orchestrated her way around the kitchen had me absolutely mesmerized.

 

When my school’s career fair came up, I stood proudly in front my 3 fold, cardboard display. I had laid out my information strategically and was ready for every question that someone might have about culinary school. Sure, I didn’t have stuffed animals and foam fingers on my table like the other kids, but I didn’t care, because I wanted to be just like Chef Kate. After the night was over, my parents and I sat down and watched the Food Network, Iron Chef to be exact. We would guess what the secret ingredient would be and pick the chef we would root for all night. Normally, I would fall asleep and my parents would wake me up right before the winner was announced. I was addicted. Come Saturday morning, the last thing I wanted to watch was cartoons. Are you crazy? Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives was on! (I have to admit, I might have a little chef’s crush on Guy Fieri-oops)

 

Needless to say, life happened. Middle school and high school had me convinced that my dream of being a chef was impossible. I heard so many people saying, “It’s too expensive.” “Restaurants are hard to run.” etc. I gave up and pushed my dream into the high rafters of my mind. When I started bible college last year, I became a waitress in a full service kitchen. This was the real deal and it was everything that I had pictured while watching cooking shows growing up. I learned a lot during the year I spent working in that kitchen. I watched the cooks garnish plates like works of art and saute veggies with ease. I wanted to be behind that line so badly. My heart longed to feel the adrenaline and rush of a kitchen but, that dream was once again pushed away years ago.

 

As time went on, I had more and more opportunities to get behind the line. It was crazy how much it felt right.

*corny story alert*

Working in a kitchen isn’t necessarily the most glamorous job. I had quite a few 5 am bakery shifts that were, well, at 5am. As you are snoozing over a mixer full of cookie dough, you ask yourself the same question over and over, “Is this worth my paycheck?”. I remember one morning was particularly cold in the bakery so I slipped on a chef’s coat that was soon to be covered in flour. As I fashioned the long row of buttons, I had a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew, from the very pit of my heart, that this was right. I had this feeling that this wouldn’t be the last time I’d be fashioning those buttons. This is the moment where I dug those dreams out from the back of my mind dust them off, and made them a reality.

 

Silly right? I know, I laugh now too. Around this time, I found this verse in Habakkuk that stopped me in my tracks.

 

“And the Lord answered me:

“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end-it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come it will not delay.”

Habakkuk 2:2-3

If this is truly what the Lord wanted for me, I had to wait. I knew that He would grant me peace when the time was right.

That peace was granted sooner than I thought and after a serious of events, I found my way back home. Little did I know that the pain that I felt with that departure would be replaced with the joy of the coming of a new day. 

As I write this post, I am a culinary student who desperately needs to finish her homework for class tonight.  (Yes, believe it or not, we have homework.) When I first started my classes, I wanted to slip into the background and learn as much as I could. But alas, that was not the Lord’s plan for my time there. Seeing as I am one of the two people that have ever stepped into a kitchen, I’m often asked by my fellow students what to do, how to do certain tasks. I’m constantly being watched. It can lead to some very stressful moments but I know that He is with me. Pray that during this amazing time, I can be an ~a r o m a~ for Him.

Bon Appetit and Blessings-

Chef Lauren

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