I am unemployed. I have been for over a month. What is it I do while employed? Well, most recently, I was a chef. Executive Sous Chef was the title; some call it Chef de Cuisine; for those who don't understand, this is the person who runs the restaurant while the Executive Chef is not around, which is pretty much always (mind you, it's not out of laziness, usually--they just have a million things going on between multiple restaurants). I've been doing this the past 3 years or so at two different restaurants here in Chicago. Before that, I lived in Atlanta and worked as a cook, and also as a research assistant and general prep cook for a Food Network show. Before that, I was completing my culinary degree at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT. Up until then, I was using my English Degree from the University of Colorado in various jobs here and there, from Colorado to Boston to Providence, RI. So I am familiar with the job search.
But it's toughest this time around, for a number of reasons, that don't really need to be gone into, other than to say that I have a pile of loans from all that schooling, and I haven't been the most responsible person credit-wise. So things are really tight right now. Tighter than they've been before. I feel like I'm back in college, but I don't have a dining hall to go to. I've found myself thinking back to when I would stretch a pack of Ramen out by cooking a couple of cups of rice and putting it in the broth once I'd eaten the noodles. But you know, I'm at a different point in my life now, and I have a different set of skills. I know how to cook now. Not that I didn't then, but I have more than a hot pot in a dorm room now. I have a normal kitchen, and some decent kitchen experience, and I am applying that to getting by, staying well fed, and eating delicious food while on limited means. And it has been an incredibly important, uplifting, and enlightening experience; after all, we all do know how to cook--we just have to find that knowledge inside us. And when we do, stretching everything in our larder becomes fun, not to mention nutritious for the body and the soul. With this blog I aim to relate to you what I've been doing, what I've been eating, and how I got there on limited means.