15 Minutes May Be Too Long…

Good evening, friends and neighbors!

“So what do you do?”
“I’m a baker.”
“Yep. Cakes, pies, cookies, that kind of thing.”
“So you want to be like Cake Boss / Ace of Cakes or something?”
                                         -conversation I have on a weekly basis

     More than once, I’ve spoken about the mixed blessing of food television. It enlightens people to the vast and wonderful landscape of cultures through the medium of food and expands their dietary horizons. Chefs can play more and let their customers in on more of the good stuff because they are seeing it on TV and ASKING for it.

    On the other hand, notoriety in the culinary world is a double edged sword. Television is entertainment, which means the public wants to be entertained- and not always by good stuff. Take it from Chris Cosentino.

Chris Cosentino is a California-based chef, deeply devoted to introducing people to the joy of offal- the organs and seemingly less desirable bits of a given animal rather than just its muscles, which is what we usually eat. In a recent speech, Chris (occasionally tearfully) documents his rise to chef stardom- and the spiky place he found himself in when he got there.

In a recent newspaper article, I was asked what culinary school does for its students to prepare them to work in the culinary world (“the Industry” as it was ominously called) and I said, “It gets the Norman Rockwell vision out of your head.”

It’s true. The picturesque, smiling baker handing over a fresh-baked pie to a smiling woman and her cheerful children out doing their shopping rarely, if ever, happens. More often, the baker is long since asleep when the customer comes by- he started at 3 in the morning. When he is awake, he may not be smiling either- it’s very stressful, lonely, exacting work he does.

After the above conversation, I’ve been asked “What DO you want then?”
Here’s the answer:

I want to travel the world, and eventually find a small town to settle in.
I want to open my bakery, and run it myself.
I want to make everything from scratch, to the best of my ability, and as best I can.
I want to put down roots in the community and be Matt the Baker, at the Black Hat Bakery.
Eventually, if they are so inclined, I’d like to leave the business to my kids.

Norman Rockwell-ish, yeah. It’s good to have a goal in mind, though.

Stay on top of it.
Stay clear.
And of course-

Stay Classy,