My competition career really began for me around one year ago when I won the Kendall tryout to compete for the chaine des rotessuer competition. My schedule regularly consisted of 6 am classes till 11 in which I would scurry over to one of the kitchens and desperately try to find a spot to practice in until 3. That then led to me banging out a tower of dirty dishes and then literally sprinting (still in my chef whites) to my car to try to only be slightly late to work. After service and breaking down I wouldn’t get out till around 1 a.m. which then led to the pleasure of statistics, food history and human resource management homework. I lost just over 15 pounds during that time in a very unhealthy way…and I did all that to watch all that hard work get taken from me. I was excited to be competing at regional level for the chaine des rotessiuer competition, but with a couple of dumb mistakes that road ended in Minneapolis. I sat at the ceremony watching someone wear the medal that I felt I deserved and my face cringed and stomach twisted worse than Ive felt in a very long time. That was the single most hectic and stressful three months of my life. I never wanted to go through that ever again. I never wanted to feel that hurt ever again…I was nearly ready to give it all up right there.
Going through competitions can be a real emotional roller coaster. You get that sweet taste of victory and its damn addictive. Though losses hit you like a bag of bricks. After a loss or a bad practice I find myself saying: why am I here, why do I do this, why do I waste this time money and effort for nothing, I should quit culinary school all together, I put out nothing but garbage food, might as well quit now.
After heading back from that Chaine competition Chef Checci could easily see how I was feeling, he saw the disappointment eating away at me. It was than that he really helped set me straight. You cant go into events with the sole goal of doing it to win. If your doing it just to win, you might as well give up now. You cant go into every event expecting to win them all, its impossible. You cant let a loss break you down to the point of giving up. Yes it hurts, but its only through learning from it that you will grow. There has to be an inner motivation that is going to breed the persistence to make you committed. What started out as an outlet to get that taste of victory became an incredible way to learn about food. It wasn’t so much about the competitions anymore so much as the road to getting there. Working with the massive amounts of talent I have available to me at Kendall became a daily routine. I would constantly be doing different types of practices to learn about new techniques, flavor combination, ingredients and a way to start memorizing great recipes. There wasn’t a day you could go by without finding me in the library or in one of the kitchens at school constantly striving to be better…for myself.