November 7, 2006

Choppin’ broccoli

While driving my sister to a bridal shop so she could buy a bridesmaid dress she’ll wear once, and then never again, our gripe session about the freeway traffic was interrupted by her ringing cell phone. This is what I heard:

Sister: Hello?
Sister: A cucumber mint sorbet? OK.
Sister: For lunch or dinner?
Sister: Is it an amuse bouche? Or for dessert?
Sister: OK. Yeah. I can do that.

My sister is a chef. A pastry chef. And I think that is pretty sweet. (Pun shamelessly intended.) Not as sweet as it was when she was going to culinary school and we got to eat her homework, but still pretty darn cool. She knows things. Like things about sugar. And how it reacts chemically to other food. She could look in my pantry, which I think houses nothing to eat, and concoct something amazing. She would kick major ass on Bravo’s Top Chef and would not choose avocado and bacon as her ice cream ingredients. She has, however, had to make a foie gras ice cream for work. Not for the dessert course, but as an appetizer. Still. I wouldn’t have eaten it. Sorry, Sister.

As a chef, my sister has gotten to do some fun stuff. Years ago, she assisted Martin Yan with a cooking demonstration. Not so long ago, she went with her chef to the James Beard House in New York, to create a Persian New Year meal. After the meal, some of the diners asked her to autograph their menus.

My sister met President Bill Clinton when he came to have lunch at the restaurant where she worked. She told me when she shook his hand, she could see why some women found him so charismatic. But probably the best thing that happened to her because of her job was the night she was working in the kitchen of the luxury hotel where she now works, and managed to finagle her way into delivering some food to one of the hotel guests. The guest was Bono, her biggest teenage idol, and she got to shake his hand.

To an outsider, this job seems exciting. When friends of my parents meet me for the first time, they say “Oh! Are you the daughter who’s a chef?” and I see the shade of disappointment in their faces when I say, “No, I’m the other one.” My sister’s job seems much more fascinating than mine, where I spend my time tapping a Dell keyboard. But to her, her chosen profession is anything but glamorous. It can blow at times. There is sometimes beaucoup drama in the kitchen. Some chefs she’s worked with are complete a-holes. She even has a scar on her hand from when someone in the kitchen, mid-hissy fit, shoved a small pan of clarified butter, accidentally scalding her hand. (My worst work-related injury was a black eye from when I smacked my face into the fax machine.) She works tons of hours, is on her feet for 8+ hours a day, and doesn’t make a lot of money doing it. But she loves what she does. And isn’t that what really matters?

Well, that and giving her sister free desserts, of course.

7 people have roominated about “Choppin’ broccoli”

  • Jenni says:

    Your sister’s job is way cool! I hope she prepares a little something special for your guys during the holidays!

    As for the title of this post, now I’m going to have Dana Carvey singing “She’s coppin’ broccoli!” in my mnd all day. Thanks for that.

  • wi says:

    can hardly wait to meet your sister. i have such appreciation for what she does after watching “top chef’ these past 2 years. thanks to that show, i even know what an amuse bouche is. and i agree about the avocado and bacon ice cream. what was he thinking? go betty.

  • Loving What You Do is So Important. It took 9/11 for me to Know That, though. After that Horrible Day, I realized I wanted to do something that let me Give Something Back To The World. So, I stopped pursuing Acting (um, Waitressing) and became An Elementary School Drama Teacher instead. And now, I wake up every morning Happy To Go To Work. And I Sleep Better, too. So, Good For Your Sister for discovering A Career that she Loves! My Sister only recently discovered A Career she Loves, too. And she is So Much Happier, as well.

  • Saj says:

    Well, I personally have great fondness for the “other” sister! But I’m very jealous your sister got to shake Bono’s hand!!! Will she be preparing anything for your future in-laws in May? 🙂

  • Denise says:

    You can always host an Red Carpet Oscar’s party and she can sport the bridesmaid gown then.

  • Michele says:

    If you sister hasn’t already bought a bridesmaids dress try – they have almost everything you’d find in any bridal shop, but it is much cheaper! They were great. My bridesmaids dresses were about $100 cheaper there.

  • Suzanne says:

    Thanks sister, very sweet! :0)

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