Can you imagine working in a professional kitchen this time of year? Boiling, baking, and sweating… I’m not even talking about the food prep!
Bakers, cooks, and chefs alike are pumping out beautiful dishes all year round, but the summer can get sticky. It’s a wonder how they work in these conditions at all, let alone create incredible flavor profiles. Take a moment and think of all the magnificent meals you’ve had. The prep for these probably wasn’t easy—especially in the summer. From professional kitchens to your Aunt Linda’s house (she has the family’s secret recipe for sauce, obviously), your tastebuds have been touched by greatness. That’s why, in one of the hottest months of the year, we celebrate our favorite culinarians and all the work they do behind the scenes.
July is National Culinary Arts Month, and we are thrilled to shout it out. Some of our most memorable moments have been punctuated with food. It brings us together for a casual family cookout or a fancy wedding at an upscale venue. It connects us with our roots when we cook with our grandparents/grandkids or opens our eyes to new possibilities when we take a culinary class (wink wink). For all that food does for us, we have to shine a light on its creators—all the people working in kitchens, past, present, and even those aspiring to be in the future. We want to say thank you!
This. Job. Is. Tough.
Doesn’t paying the bill cover the “thanks”? Well, sure, but there’s more to this career than meets the eye. At first glance into a professional kitchen, you see a flurry of white coats or a whirlwind of matching aprons, all skillfully moving together as if it’s a dance. You think, “that looks like fun. How hard could it be?” Very. The hours alone can warp your brain—getting up at the crack of dawn to start your bake, or working into the wee hours of the night to ensure folks get a tasty late-night meal. After either one of those shifts, you’re bound to be a little loopy. But the pull of the kitchen is strong for these food lovers. They find themselves living off the adrenaline of reconfiguring an entire entrée because they were given the wrong cut of meat or skillfully repairing a cake that someone picked up and immediately body slammed into the counter. You’d like how many bagels? For when?! The pace is fast! You have to be organized and flexible. Ready for anything and everything to come your way. The concept of thinking outside the box must have been invited in a kitchen!
They. Never. Let. You. Down.
The kitchen staff at your local eatery is always there for you. Throughout the pandemic, food has been a source of comfort for many of us. We’ve turned to our favorite bakeries and restaurants to help get us through, not just these tough times, but many in our past. They’ve soldiered on, taking us with them for a bit of a respite. No matter how simple the meal, the dessert, the appetizer, someone has put it together—and it was just for you.
Food. Is. Life-changing.
As a chef, you study the art of culinary techniques from all over the world. As a foodie, you consume some mind-bending meals. Either way, food is about expanding your horizons and bringing you places you never thought possible. A single bite has the power to transport you back in time, send you on an international journey, or inspire you. Sometimes all three at once. A good meal touches all the senses and surrounds you with potential. And a good chef knows how to make that happen.
How can we celebrate this age-old profession?
Get out there and support your favorite restaurant or bakery. The one that’s been there for you from the beginning of COVID until now. It’s the one that you always turn to for comfort when you’ve had a bad day or the one you look to celebrate your successes with you as a special treat. Discover new places to fill you with joy by taking a walk around your neighborhood or a deep-dive google search. Make it a community event and get a group together. Compare and contrast the fabulous flavors you find.
Get your favorite dog-eared cookbook off the shelf and finally make something from it. You’ve been waiting for a special occasion and that occasion is now! Sift through your recipes and find one that makes you smile. Had enough of the same old same old? Treat yourself to a new book from the hottest chef or one from a classic and revered baker. Read through the meticulously put-together recipes and pick one that excites you.
Cook! Bake! The world is your oyster. Maybe buy some oysters! Whatever you do, get your hands dirty. Take an in-person class here at CSCA, or sign up for a CSCA Online Academy course. If you’re looking to stay in the comfort of your own home, invite friends over and make a meal. Nothing beats gathering around a table to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Don’t want the mess? Invade a friend’s kitchen with this great idea that “just came to you”.
Celebrate in a way that makes your happy and keeps your stomach full. Thank you, chefs!