Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.
-Margaret Thatcher

I have been learning so much here at the CIA.  As I have said before, I do not go a day without learning something new and intriguing.  Each day we are reminded of our expectations and I strive to produce the best product I can each day.

That being said, I was alarmed in Meat ID class when Chef called me on something I didn’t even think about.  We had just frenched our Lamb Racks, which can be seen here, and after making my own personal inspection, I brought it up to chef’s table to be graded.  He took one look at it, flipped it over and said, excellent job.  I could tell he wanted to add something else though.  He then said something that I haven’t forgotten yet: next time you do something make sure to clean it up a little bit.  I had frenched my rack of lamb on the butchers block.  This was the same block where I had fabricated some other lamb products.  As a result small bits of fat and skin were left on the table and they ended up depositing themselves on my lamb rack.

I was really upset with myself that I had let something like that slide.  Especially after what I learned when I was at the Perfect Caper.  Somewhere around my 3rd or 4th week, I was assigned to make Chicken Flautas.  These are tightly rolled chicken burritos that are deep fried so that they have a crispy shell.  Liz, the Sous Chef and my teacher at the time, told me how to do it.  She then asked me to repeat what she had done and finish using up all of the Flauta mix.  Judging by the amount of chicken she used in one and the amount remaining I knew I had a big task ahead of me.  I rolled three flautas and she came by to check on me.  I will always remember what she said.  Those aren’t that good, I’m going to need you to roll them again.  Liz wanted me to unroll the flautas I had rolled which would mean, throwing away the shell, wasting egg wash and time and having to start over.  When she first said this I thought nothing of it.  I just tried to make more of an effort to get my flautas to look more like what she had shown me.  After rolling about 2 more she came by again.  She said, this one is good but this one needs to be done over.  This second time it really clicked, one, I wasn’t going to be allowed to move onto my next task until I completed this one and two if the flautas weren’t nearly perfect I would have to start over.  I tell this story a lot but it really helped me learn how to take pride in what I do.  The first batch took me somewhere around 2 hours.  If I had to go back and do it today it would only take me 25-30 minutes.  The fact that I had to perfect these flautas, which at the time I thought was the most tedious and stupid thing in the world, forced me to care about what I did.  To this day I still roll the best Flautas at the Caper!

Taking pride in what I do is something that I learned as a kid.  I feel like it really didn’t start to become applicable until I began to work on things I enjoyed myself.  I know that I frequently didn’t care about how my school work turned out during high school.  Now, I refuse to hand in work that isn’t my absolute best.  I make sure that this includes my dishes or papers.