My childhood is flown away very fast and when the time to take serious decisions for the future came, I decided to join the Institute for Hoteliers “G.Minuto”, in the 80’s, it was one of the best in Italy (or the best). That day my life took a tough direction, today, after exactly 30 years, I’m still walking on that tough way and I must say with a pinch of masochism I still love it, every single day... when I don’t hate it.
During the first week in the school we met our teachers, well prepared and polite, 18 subjects and lot’s to study, but, strangely, during the cooking lessons with the chefs (another kind of teachers), they continuously told us: “...guys, you are still in time to change; ...guys, you will have hard time; ...guys, are you thinking to move in another school?” and so on. My first impression was bad, normally the teachers try to involve the pupils, and those (already experienced chefs) were trying to demotivate us. Of course, none of us left and, of course, they were right.
We started in 29 hooligans in my class, we are arrived in the end in 7 “half cooks”, more or less, it was the same verdict for the other culinary classes, actually only me, and my buddies Max, Luca and Piero, we are still on the spot, the others? ...missing in action.
The school year used to start on October 1st and finish on May 31st, to give us the possibility to work during the summer in our beautiful Versilia Coast and get four months salary.
The job market was there, waiting and asking to us, teenagers, to move our ass and understand what it means “...break your back if you want to arrive to something!”.
I got my first seasonal job at the Hotel Caravella in Deiva Marina – Liguria. My duties as commis changed soon in dishwasher, kitchen helper and hand worker, same fate for my two young colleagues, not because our skill were so bad, just because the two owners were, simply, two ass holes. By the way, I’m arrived to the end, I bought my first Vespa 125, I went back to the school, I met the guy who strongly suggested me that place and I returned him the favour with two kicks in the ass and two in the stomach.
Excluding some rare circumstances, I have been very lucky in my “chef’s life” and I think the bad experiences make you strong, may be, you don’t improve your skills, but at least, you learn to avoid mistakes in your future challenges and the two things have the same value in the end. In the “lucky section” I have to mention two professors, Chef Giuliano Taccetti and Chef Domenico Tosi, both of them crazy enough to trust me. With them I had some great experiences and they sent me to work in some relevant environments where my “cook shape” has started to get a consistency.
If you are lucky enough to work in the shadow of this kind of men, your career will take the right direction, without any doubt, because they used to take care of their “bastards” not only by the work aspect, but, sharing 14/16 hours every day with them, the job itself become also a school of life.
There is a famous Italian song: “...uno su mille ce la fa...” (...one in a thousand do it... ), I’m quite confident to say and to feel so lucky to don’t be in those 999.
To be continued...