November 16th, 2017
Do we need to develop an interest in clothes if we have a solitary job? I walked in four chef’s kitchens to see how they work and what kind of working clothes they choose to wear.
Ovidiu graduated from a School of Hospitality, but he didn’t like spending time in the kitchen back then. He became curious about it one summer, when his uncle was managing a hotel in Mamaia, Romania. He worked in that hotel as a waiter for a while and then became interested in cooking, in order to impress a girl. “I figured that if I cooked some special dishes for her, I would be different from other boys.” He received good feedback for his meals and a good feeling motivated him to go forward.
“Another incentive to become a cook I received while I was home alone. My mom had left the country to work in the US and I was spending my time in bars, eating pizza or McDonald’s. I remember one night before Christmas, when I went to eat a Mc Big Tasty, which had just been launched in my town. After eating it, I thought it was funny the way I was living at age 22, and I started reconsidering my relationship with food.”
Ever since that moment, Ovidiu has been spending days constantly searching for recipes online, he gets stuck in the details and then he creates millions of scenarios about food in his head.
“I am doing a lot of research. For instance, I had an obsession for duck breast so I read all there was to read about it. When I’m interested in something, I cannot rest until I get to know everything. I learned many things by myself during that time. I found that very few people on my teams were interested in helping me or telling me how to do things right for a dish. This field is competitive, but I am attached to a team and we do spend a lot of time together in the kitchen. I believe we have to be able to build our relationships and learn how to collaborate on certain tasks . Since we cook for so many people, we should cook for our colleagues too, because meals unite us. To cook for someone is a gesture of love.”
Ovidiu switched 12 jobs in five years. Management teams and kitchen vibes have influenced him to quit a job. Overall, he felt the most complex experience was at “Le Consul” restaurant. He learned there from Mihai Irimia all about being organized and choosing quality ingredients. “In that restaurant you couldn’t say a dish was almost good or almost salty. It had to be perfect.”
The kitchen changed Ovidiu in many ways, especially visual ones. He is covered in scars, burns, cuts, but also tattoos. Regarding his body, he is glad that he was able to synchronize his hands with his mind and that he can quickly cut up parsley without even looking at it.
Do we need to develop an interest in clothes if we have a solitary job?
When he cooks, Ovidiu wears only black. Black pants, black tunics, black shoes. All of them are bought from specialty shops located in Romania. “I get four or five at a time, so I can wash them less often. My working clothes give me a comfortable feeling when I cook. Also, they give me a certain kind of confidence. I feel the need to have a particular style through the garments I choose to wear daily. How you look is important if a client wants to meet you after his dinner. So yes, I need to develop an interest in clothes, even though I work in the kitchen all day.”
Photo credit: Bogdan Ioniță