Wanted to take a break from all the recipe posts and add a more personal one today=) Wordy entry ahead!
It has been slightly more than a month since I started my job at The Living Cafe – a restaurant in Singapore than specialises in raw cuisine. And I wanted to share how that experience has been so far!
THE HOW AND WHY
Before joining The Living Cafe, I was working in a corporate job which i LOVED – awesome boss, great colleagues, good work environment and my work place even had a kitchen area where I could blend my smoothies every morning haha. But ever since I started getting serious about raw foods, I would spend all my free time reading up/trying recipes/conceptualizing recipes/spreading the word to my friends & family etc.. and I just knew that this was something I wanted to pursue and where my passion lay. It wasn’t easy to leave because I was happy in my job and had a comfortable lifestyle…but when I hit my 26 birthday, I had a sudden epiphany ( or maybe it was my quarter life crisis lol) If not now, then when?! There will always be what-ifs, and buts and the fear of failure…there will never be “the perfect time”…you just have to take that leap of faith and pursue your dream.
So early this year, I traded high heels and dresses for kitchen boots and aprons…and off to the kitchen I went!
THE LEAP OF FAITH
It has been a really fantastic journey so far. Im learning so much, getting exposed to so many new ingredients (today i just tried kefir for the first time!) and ways of using them. Working alongside real chefs who give tips like TASTE TASTE TASTE. And words like “dehydration”, “nut milk and “juice fast” are thrown around casually without people raising their eyebrows in curiosity. I’ve been doing the juices, smoothies and breakfast items and helping here and there with the raw pastries so far. Later on I’ll be moving on to the salad bar and raw desserts! YAY! So excited!
I’ve worked in F&B before doing part time waitressing back in school, but this time, i was on the other side of the restaurant and its a whole other world there! When the restaurant is busy…it becomes HELLS KITCHEN! Haha okay I’m probably exaggerating and my chef is definitely no devil like Gordan Ramsey. But I can finally understand why the chefs in Hell’s Kitchen sometimes forget to add this or that ingredient or mess up an order because that really happens when you have orders piling up and customers waiting. Whole different ball game of stress as compared to the corporate world – but i sure as hell won’t miss following up on emails and attending long meetings haha.
It was physically tiring initially because you’re standing all day and you have to get down and dirty. Literally. I mop the floors, scrub my station, clean the sinks, carry out trash etc all in a days work. But once you get the hang of it, its all pretty okay=)
There have been quite a few challenges-
From simple ones like learning how to cut fruits properly with minimal wastage and learning to hold the knife correctly…
to the more complicated ones like adjusting to this new lifestyle change and fencing off disapproving comments/looks from naysayers who can’t seem to understand what possessed me to “waste” my degree (in dramatic cases, my life) and work in the kitchen. Okay, to be fair, some are genuinely worried about how I’ll get by (like financially) and what my plans for the future are. You know, the typical Singaporean questions!
THE LESSONS LEARNT
I guess the most important lesson I’ve learnt is to stay humble and have a positive attitude. I came to the kitchen armed with some raw food knowledge..but I had to start learning the basics all over! Even things like making nut milk which I’ve been doing at home for quite some time. Sometimes I get a little impatient wanting to do more; but I keep reminding myself that everyone starts off as a beginner and there is no shortcut to success.
My dream is to one day set up something of my own and share this amazing cuisine with as many people as possible. Shake off the misconception that raw and vegan foods = salads and sad looking skinny people! Right now, I’m just going in faith and allowing God to show me the way. So wish me luck!
Just wanted to end off with this beautiful quote and some pictures of my time at the cafe!
The guilt of following your heart is a weight you can bear if your dream is strong enough . Its the price of admission to fulfillment -Danielle LaPorte .
Cacao butter…..in all its 24 KG glory!
My best friend at work – the green juice!
Trying new raw food ingredients like Pili nuts for the first time
Biggest spinach leaf ever!
And….the highlight so far has definitely been the World Flavours Tapas Event we held at the restaurant. We invited world renowned raw food chef Elaina Love from Pure Joy Academy to “cook” alongside us! Such an privilege=)
Elaina Love and I !
preparing for the tapas night!
Trio of lentils with coconut mint and tamarind almond relish
Raw lemon and raspberry parfait
Curried flavour raw kale chips
Raw Enchilada Tamale Spirals with a pine cream sauce Raw pot stickers with hosin sauce – basically dumplings! LOVED THESE!! The skin is made of avocado, how ingenious is that? Raw phad thai salad with zucchini and bean sprout noodles DRUMROLL PLEASE – RAW TIRAMISU. OH. MY. GOD. This is heavenly!!! The top layer tastes like mashmallows…..but its actually coconut whipped cream!
Took this photo off The Living Cafe’s facebook page to show our small but happy kitchen team!
Do say hi if you dropby =)