Thursday, October 10, 2013

we are not chefs; a bite and a reflection

You can see it in our eyes. In our shuffling gait. Hunched backs, sagging arms. We're all dead tired. That hellish first MBA term? We're now fully living it. 4-5 hours of sleep a night, and as scary as it is, I'm actually getting used to it. Unimaginable to a guy who used to sleep 9 hours a night.
/// Starting with pan con tomate ...
So there's no point in complaining about it. Everyone's default answer now to 'how are you, how's it going' is 'I'm soooo tired.' But we asked for this, didn't we. We asked for all of it. No complaints here, because this is what I should be doing, what's the best thing for me. And with today's new full-time MBA programme rankings released by The Economist, all that has been validated, and then some. IESE has jumped in rank to 5th globally, and 1st in Europe. That's on top of Harvard, Stanford, NYU, and Columbia. Take from it what you will, but I'm in the right place.

/// and continuing with my love, los pimientos de Padrón ...
Work is getting tougher. A lot more complex, more analytical. But my grad school experience so far has been amazing. Fantastic marketing lecture today, with lots of theory, but most importantly, grounded in real world practice. Learning from some great professors (and classmates).

/// I've never thought much of calamari, but this is so fresh the flesh squeaks in your mouth ...
We just finished two days of our first Career Forum. Lots of things to think about, and although it's been really tough having to think and plan for career goals this early on, it's absolutely critical to keep thinking about what we're going to do after the MBA. Because like it or not, we all have to go back to reality after these 2 years.

/// gambas a la plancha, all the soup and magic in the head ...
Signed up for IESE's marketing trek to London at the end of the month. Yes it will be expensive. Yes it will be a lot of work. But it's what I signed up for. For a shot to go around to Europe's best cities, to see different things, to see how things are run here. When else will I get this opportunity? So, we tighten up the belt, put the wine glasses away, and start looking for cheap flights.

/// pulpo á feira for the first time. Poached octopus in the Galician tradition, seasoned with salt, olive oil, and pemento picante ... 
So, taking a moment before bed, I want you, dear reader, to think about something. Is the term 'chef' used appropriately anymore? Is it not the most abused word used to describe anything culinary-related? Anyone who can tell the difference between a spatula and a large spoon is instantly branded a chef nowadays, without a thought as to what the word really means.

/// sepia a la plancha, all firm and delicate, simply exquisite ... 
And no, I'm not deriding those who love to cook (and eat). I'm simply suggesting that maybe we ought to think of another word in description. Because the word 'chef' should be reserved for those who truly deserve the title, those who actually run kitchens and have shed vital bodily fluids in pursuit of the perfection of this noble craft. We are not chefs. We simply love to eat, and want to devote our free time to learning all we can about it.

/// gambas poached in olive oil and garlic. 'Be careful it's hot', he said. 'Don't worry', I replied ... 'I have thick skin' ...
I hate the word 'expert'. We show an interest in something, we have a burning fire for something ... but we are not experts. No, yet again, that word should be reserved for something higher. Maybe it's just a matter of words. But words are important - if you cannot say what you mean, you will never mean what you say. Who said that?

/// rib-eye of veal, seared. They eat a lot of veal here. And truth be told, I'm getting a little weary of it all. It's beef, but so unsatisfying. Never thought I would crave good, honest, American corn-fed beef from Costco so bad ...
Late. So a final thought. Living in Barcelona, as much as I complain about how things work here, how expensive things are, how inconvenient it all is - living here has been a dream come true. I need to cherish this time, because damn, it's mid-October already. Time goes by quickly - 19 months isn't all that long. I've felt a change in my demeanour, in how I process things already. I'm taking all this self-development/improvement thing very seriously. So good night all ... thanks to my friends for your words of encouragement, for all the love.

/// and they eat a lot of foie gras here. Simply called 'foie'. Sliced far too thin, a disinterested, uninspired thing on the plate ...
/// ending with a dessert that reminds that the Catalans have a lot of French in them. A Catalan twist on the crème brûlée, the crema catalana. Sweet and inviting, a good way to end the meal ...
- Taller de Tapas, C/ Argenteria, 51 


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