More equal than…PWIF Part 1.

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None Shall Pass

As many of you know I my employer shut down in May without notice and without final pay. Therefore I and all of the staff to some degree, were abruptly hurled onto the boggy path of seeking redress through the Hong Kong Protection of Wages on Insolvency Scheme.

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Chef – The Film

I knew there was a high chance that I would like the film Chef by Jon Favreau when I first heard about it last year. Favreau had clearly done a lot of homework back then and had thrown around line cook slang like he had chops. I always enjoy a film about my vocation that has a heavy seasoning of inside baseball. Plus I am a sucker for feel good movies about food. Continue reading

Ignorant News – Karoshi Chef

Ill preface this by saying I am sorry to see anyone passing from this world. I am also sorry to see a culture that would encourage such a lack of life balance. However…the news on the internet, by armchair bloggers, that Nathan Laity died of over work is ignorant of the facts, all readily available with a few minutes of reflection and google research. Continue reading

Act As If You Are Free

Today, June 4th, I am reminded again of Tank Man, and The Gate of Heavenly Peace. On this day, I offer a toast to those who resisted so valiantly. Acting as if no mob, no matter how large, powerful or well armed, could dissuade them from self determination. Acting as if their right to liberty were inherent, and unalienable. In so doing they showed us all that it is, if we only dare live it. Those who died, and those who lived, made the world a better place, if only just slightly. It is by progress of this kind that most of our battles are won, after all. Sure the occasional significant shift, the punctuation in the equilibrium, is noteworthy…who could ignore it? But the gradual freeing up of ones mind and perhaps of ones peers is the sure, steady, path that has taken millennia and continues clearly just ahead. Unlike Allegro Non Troppo, we march steadily towards our betterment as individuals and as a species. Occasionally one of us, say a shy cook in Phoenix, is inspired by the courage and active liberty of one such as Tank Man…in that moment there is magic, and perhaps a small amount of hope for the future of human kind.

Walking The Elephant

 

During my last trip and this one I stayed in an apartment looking directly across from Elephant Mountain…one of the items frequently found on things to do in Taipei lists. For whatever reason I have not had time to take this reportedly short and mild walk, even though I love hiking. Time drawing short for this trip, and having a free morning I decided to give it a go. There was a light rain when I stepped out onto Xingyi road, but I had my umbrella and rain slicker if necessary. So, I set off anyway.

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A Simple Solution

20140516-160215.jpgOne thing I can say without a doubt. I have traveled extensively and cooked in kitchens all over the world. From five star mega hotels to simple little fast food shops, I have had my hands in the mix, as it were.

Almost everywhere I have cooked, and with every level of chef from highly trained gourmet, to short order cook, I have noticed one habit, that I have always found disgusting, and have tried to dissuade them from. Cleaning plate rims with a kitchen towel.

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Toast

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One of the qualities, that many chefs, at least chefs like me, have to develop is one of improvisation. Chef’s often find themselves in situations that develop a strong, life-hacking, skill set. Another quality, perhaps more particular to your chef at large, is that I like to break fast with some form of bread, usually toasted. Continue reading

Doppelgänger

My friend Umlaut should admire the title, for obvious reasons. However, recently I was google-searching myself (everyone does that right?) and found my stunt double. I decided he was my stunt double, and not the other way around, because he is younger, fitter, and probably more competent (it’s a low bar).  Continue reading

A End In Themselves

Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end. – Immanuel Kant

I do not want to oversimplify anything, nor is there any value in me casting disparagement on anyone else in this matter. To borrow from Vonnegut: “Everyone, no matter what they did, is sure a good man could not have acted in any other way.” I know company law, and that such law makes no requirement that directors provide any personal risk. It also only requires they act first in the best interest of the company and second so as not to commit outright fraud.

However, I do wear a badge of honour, or perhaps the mark of a fool. And it is the exact nature of this badge that I am curious to know more about. Continue reading