My husband and I really enjoy watching “The Mind of a Chef”. The season we are currently watching features Gabrielle Hamilton, the chef and owner of Prune, a restaurant in NYC. Something that I love about watching chef/foodie shows is seeing each chef’s dedication to food and mastery of their craft. I am mesmerized by watching Rene Redzepi in his food lab or out foraging for ingredients. I am equally enthralled by Jiro Ono’s precise handling of fresh fish in his three Michelin star restaurant in a Tokyo subway station. There’s a philosophy and technique that chefs develop with time, and seasoned chefs have a signature that they can stand behind.
This causes me to wonder – does this translate to teaching? What does it mean to master the art of teaching? Is that even possible? What are master teachers doing? Do they even exist? As I reflect upon best practice and continual teacher improvement, I find myself pondering what I need to put in place to systematically improve my practice. How do I stay true to my philosophy of teaching while crafting the best learning experience possible for my students?
And what about hard work? Gabrielle Hamilton didn’t start out wanting to cook. She wanted to be a writer, and took food-related jobs on so that she could make ends meet. She talked about putting long hours in at the restaurant and feeling too exhausted at the end of the day to go home and pursue her writing (She mentioned 20+ hour work days. How is that humanly possible?) In the end, she did manage to do both. As awestruck as I was, this also made me feel supremely guilty about the complaints I sometimes make about the amounts of work I take home. If anyone knows what it means to work hard, it’s a line cook.
As I learn more about other professions, I am constantly amazed by the parallels I can draw between other fields and teaching. To all the chefs out there, you inspire me.