31 January 2012

To train or not to train that is the question

Born To Die By Lana Del Ray

Twitter can be addictive, and sometimes I tweet a celebrity here and there, you know just in case they would like a recipe I have posted on my blog. However yesterday I had a tweeting debate with a TV chef, as I thought their tweet was a bit outlandish. I’m not going to mention any names or drop hints; this is a clean post, and not a personal attack. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, I replied what I could, in a robust and polite manner, and this post is about my opinion.
In essence, our debate raised the question: should a cook be on TV or publish a book, if they do not have a culinary qualification? 
During our tweeting, what made me sad the chef tweeted, that there are people on TV who can’t cook. Now let’s take into consideration that some people learn from experience, passion and practice, and they can still teach from what they have seen. Jamie Oliver only did a home economics course at school: he is a brilliant example of an inspirational character that has taught us without making food sound scientific, he reaches out and speaks to us the way we like. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. 
Anjali Pathak told me, ‘food is an industry where there is plenty to go around, and what cooks, chefs and contestants are aiming for is get people to cook great food’. I’m not an expert in the TV industry just yet, but as a viewer I watch food programmes because they inform as well as entertain and engage me. If I wanted to be taught about any topic, I would go research online, get a book or study a course. 
What I’ve learnt is that you can teach someone something, but if they don’t have a passion for it, then it’s wasted. 
The question at heart is what makes anyone professional at something? When I finished university, a question my uncle asked me was 'do you want to take the experience route or study further’, this is one of the questions that many graduates are faced with. 
The chef in question and I have come from different backgrounds; they went to a chef school, and I have not (and cannot afford to). The fact that they went to a well renowned school is amazing, and it has boosted their profile. The experiences and lessons from what I’m doing, is good enough, you should know I keep it real on this blog.  
Let’s face it, I haven’t got a huge amount of followers on Twitter or Facebook, but everything takes time, and I still have hope. I am pursuing my passion and seeing where it will lead me, and if it doesn’t blossom into what I want, then at least I can say I gave it my best shot. I am also being experimental and not following a traditional route. For example, on this blog I have posted:
·         a poem – I tried it, I now realise it’s not my thing;
·         images from a photo shoot – I tried it, loved it, doing it again; and
·         reviews – I like eating out, but not writing about it.
I have also worked for food PR companies – I stopped that a long time ago, as I don’t want the blog to turn away from its focus. I also plan to publish videos on my blog – I love being in front of the camera, and showing quick and easy dishes in this format. 
I will keep on trying different things and learn to work my way up, because that’s what I am all about.  
As with any industry there is the business side, and anyone who is anyone is competition, which is a shame in the food world, as I mentioned earlier we are ultimately trying to do the same thing. These days, my foodie contacts are widening, I am networking more and I’ve found that some people will help, while others don’t have the time. That’s cool, and yes, that’s reality. I feel disappointed that a TV chef has this sort of opinion, because as long as you think, breathe and worship food, going to chef school or even working, as a kitchen assistant shouldn’t matter. If you get a lucky break, then grab it with both hands. 
Unfortunately some have worked, and paid for a course, and then found out that someone else just needed to take fewer steps, and got to a position they really wanted. To be cut throat – that’s life. At the end of the day, everyone has a different path to take, just don’t take it personally. 
What I’ve learnt is that if you want something, you go for it, and not think about what other people think, or if they will follow, or believe in you. If you don’t get who you want to follow, or support you: then that’s their problem, there is plenty of love and appreciation elsewhere. 
The main thing is, you have to believe in yourself. My cousins get very embarrassed when I say this to them, it only sounds good when it’s said in a film.