Even though I’ve had Lupus since I was 14 and I knew that there would be obstacles in my life beyond my control, I still opted to follow my heart after graduating from high school and go on to college and take chef training. I knew it would be difficult as I’d be on my feet all day…standing in hot kitchens, etc.
Despite the obvious barriers, that’s what I loved doing. My program was only a year long and I managed to get through most of it without any hitches. The in class aspect of the course was fantastic. Chef Training at Humber was one of the best years of my life as I had so much fun doing it.
Here’s a picture of the good ol’ Humber Crew (except the girl on the left in the purple jacket…she’s my best friend from high school. Same with the girl kneeling down..also a friend from high school. Everyone else =Humber Chef Crew)
I was pretty proud to be in the class that I was in. My class was full of talented and professional, yet humble aspiring chefs. We learned together, we laughed together…heck we even changed from our street clothes to our chef clothes in the school hallways together. I admit that when it was co-op time, the chef of the restaurant I was put in worked me pretty hard and it had a bit of a toll on me, but I’m thankful for the experience. I was also very fortunate to have been able to complete that aspect of my schooling without having to deal with any Lupus flares or dialysis. One of the best parts of Chef Training was the great Chefs we had as teachers. One of my favourite Chefs was Chef Bevan. He used to always talk about wanting to do his hair like mine LOL. Great guy. When I googled him a few days ago, I found out that he’s the host of some kind of cooking reality typed show! Love him.
I’ve never been a quitter, but as the years went on I was beginning to realize that I was going to have to be a bit more realistic about my life. I worked in a restaurant for a couple of years. At one point I had to take some time off due to a Lupus flare. I remember my chef at the time, Ian, calling me relentlessly…asking….if not begging me to come into work because he was short staffed. The first time he called me, he asked me how I was feeling and if I could come to work that day all in the same breath. I don’t blame him really…he simply didn’t know or understand what I was going through.
Not really liking being the one to disappoint, I did end up going to work for a couple of hours after listening to Ian beg and cry for a few minutes. I set my boundaries right off the bat. I told him that I would stay for 4 hours only (the lunch rush and minimal prepping for the dinner rush after the fact), and that I would NOT be conned into staying over the dinner rush either. He agreed.
As expected, after the lunch rush was over, all 6 foot 5 of Ian got down on his knees and begged me to stay. I politely reminded him of our phone conversation, went downstairs, changed back into my street clothes, and went outside to my mother’s waiting car. I told her what time to pick me up ahead of time so that there was absolutely no way I could be swayed into staying longer.
At any rate, after leaving the restaurant industry, I realized that I likely wouldn’t be able to keep up this pace forever. Around that same time in 2004 I was lucky enough to get a job at a major bank which is where I still am. A year after that, I went back to school and planned on taking HR. Much to my chagrin, about a week before I was going to start university, I got REALLY ill….and ended up on dialysis a few months after that.
I’m still slowly but surely taking HR in university….but cooking is still a love of mine. This is why I decided to get back into it in some capacity, which is why I’m doing the cake decorating thing.
I really enjoy it and I’m really looking forward to starting the other cake decorating classes at the end of March. I was looking around on the Internet and came across the Cordon Bleu website. Oh how cool would it be to go to Ottawa or London or something and take the Patisserie course? When I start up my own cake thing, having that extra experience (and also being able to say that I went to the Cordon Bleu) would be awesome!
Then I have to bring myself back to reality. I’d have to arrange dialysis in Ottawa. I’d also have to deal with going to school full time, standing all day, and dealing with Lupus/dialysis fatigue. If there was a cordon bleu in Toronto, I’d so go…but if I go to the one in Ottawa, who’s gonna help me? I’d be all alone.
Maybe one day if I get a transplant, I can do that. But stuff like this really gets me down. I can’t just “pick up” and go anywhere. Everything needs to be planned ahead of time. It’s a real downer.
This definitely isn’t what I signed up for.