I recently went for a baking course and something struck me hard. It was three hour course at Lavonne at Indiranagar. I love Lavonne! It has become like by de-stresser place. Every time the crazy gets going, I find a course at Lavonne and tell DH I am going. But I will talk more about Lavonne in another blog. This blog is more about what I realized at Lavonne.
Now Lavonne is a very classy place. The folks who work there are dressed well according to their job description. It’s not a casual bakery that also houses an academy. It’s not dark and dingy. It’s beautiful!
The class was with Joonie Tan! If you haven’t heard of her, please go look up her anti-gravity cakes on Facebook. The class was relatively short one compared to most of Lavonne’s classes and it was more about technique than kinds of dessert. But for me anything Lavonne is fun and wonderful! So it was that I decided to spend 9 am to 1 pm on that Friday at Lavonne learning Sharp edge ganache
As we were going about plastering our cakes and smothering it with yummy ganache, my ears caught on to one thing. Every so often someone referred to our teacher as ‘Chef’. I totally loved the sound of it. I thought it was because it was Joonie, therefore the prefix attached. But as I continued through the class, a few ladies referred to other classes they had attended and their teacher in those classes as Chef.
As I looked through the glass door at the other activities happening in the corridor, Chef Joonie mentioned that the Diploma students were having their exams. The students kept walking into our room with their trays of items to use the refrigerator that was in our class. There was a look of stress and yet professionalism. As I walked out for a shot break, I peeked into one of the other room and I saw all hard at work. They were just not baking for the bakery! They had an exam and they were taking it as seriously as I had taken by lab exams for my PhD qualifiers. I loved it!
As I looked around everyone wore some kind of uniform! The Chef wore the high collared aprons, the man who stood behind the counter at the baking shop downstairs had his own uniform, and the boys who did the washing and cleaning up also had their own uniform. Then I started noticing that even the Diploma students had their own uniforms and it seemed like specific hats. I wondered whether that had something to do with where they were along their course.
As I drove home with my 6 inch sharp edge ganache cake, I pondered more on the place I had just left. For all practical purpose it had the similarity to a well-run hospital. I say hospital because we still live in a generation where we give the medical professions higher value. But leaving Lavonne and driving home, I realized that things were changing. There was a rise in the professions. Just like there were doctors and nurses and residents and support staff at a hospital each identifiable by their clothing and their strut, this baking academy had moved baking into a professional level. If I had to equalize it a bit, the chefs were the doctors, the nurse were those that supported them (sous chefs), the residents were the Diploma students (still stressed about the learnings and exams).
To top it all there was the constant referral ‘Chef’. Just like we did in the hospital. ‘Doctor’. I felt elated at this parallel and I realized that there were several places that this was coming out.
The rise of the profession. The respect for the occupation. Isaac refers to his football, swim and gymnastic teachers as ‘Coach’. I remember that in someplace in the hospital where I worked, they would refer to the Nurse with the prefix ‘Nurse’ XYZ
While our identity should not be in our profession but in ourselves, I realized that in giving dignity to the labourer by using theirs profession against their names, we had finally broken the norm our generation followed.
Now the enticement toward Doctor and Advocate has been replaced by ‘Chef’ and ‘Coach’.