April 13, 2006

I just had the freakiest experience...

So, long story short, Stephanie is no longer employee #2 of Chef JoAnna, Inc. Too many times showing up late, or not showing up at all, too many mistakes that I caught her on, and a general lack of professionalism. It's sad, when she first started she was a lifesaver, and then the last two weeks of March, everything went straight to shit. And she knew it.

Anyway, so I've been calling my old culinary school, and trying to speak with someone in the placement office. Several times. Today when the receptionist, ahem, pushed my buttons:
   Career services, please
Who do you want to speak to?
    Career services
I can't transfer you unless I know who you want to speak with.
    I don't know, the last three times I called, just asked for career services.
So who did you leave a message with?
    I don't know!! (just transfer my call, bitch!)
Well, what is this regarding?
    [very pregnant pause] Can you please put me through to Chef Bernard?
[shorter, but even more pregnant pause] Umm. Just a moment

Chef Christophe Bernard is the super big shot director of the culinary department. He came in after sweet, sweet Chef Joe Zoellin left the school to go start his own school in Northern California. Chef Z was a "ain't broke don't fix it" kind of guy, but as soon as you told him something was broke, he'd do something about it. Like the time I told him that the spices were a mess, he said, "If you give me a list of what you think should be in each kitchen, I'll make sure it's there." Within a week, it was done. On the other hand, I thought that most of his policies were kind of lax, and everyone (myself included) exploited them to the fullest.

When Chef Bernard took over, reigns were tightened. Tightened so tightly they left angry red marks. Everyone (myself included) wasn't happy about the new boss's new rules, and he was very strict with them. You know what sucks? A mild-mannered, soft spoken French guy who won't let you argue with him. You didn't exactly lose an argument so much as get frustrated by banging your head against his proverbial wall. He would say some equivalent of "because I said so" and get away with it. Damn that accent!

On the other hand, when you'd ask him for something, and he agreed with the request, you'd get it. But if he didn't agree, he'd simply say no, blame it on policy (Which was likely a policy he just made... It was a dictatorship, no question there)

So anyway, I got him on the phone, and told him that I wanted to hire an assistant, and he asked me my name and my company name. I told him, and he asked "Do you park your car by xxx hospital?" and I said yes, and then he asked, "And your name is on the truck?" and I said yes. He said, "Yes, I've noticed it. I make a point to notice these things. It looks very good..." and he proceeded to ask me what kind of vehicle it was and how I liked it.

so that was "arresting moment number one" -- that he noticed my truck and said it looked very good.

Then he asked me how I knew of the school, and I told him I went there, (he was only there for my final quarter, which ended in March 2003, so I didn't expect him to remember me from mentioning my name.) He congratulated me for being successful and said that it was great that I was looking for help through the school. He told me who I should get in touch with, gave me direct lines, e-mail addresses, and such, and told me that if I had any questions that didn't get answered by Career Services, that I should contact him. He invited me to the school's onsite "bistro" for dinner, and I said, "Thank you for your help, Chef" and he said, "It is my pleasure, Chef" and he hung up.

I'm so tickled: he called me Chef!

Last thing
I ate or drank: the sweet, sweet nectar of success.

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