As I look back on 2018, different thoughts come to mind...
To go somewhat, in chronological order, I came back late November of 2017 after recording Masterchef Latino. It was a very interesting experience, and then I tried to audition for the US version, just because I wanted to see how different the productions would be.
In January, the premiere of Masterchef was on Telemundo, and I got t to see myself in the small screen. TBQH tho, it was a super interesting experience and all but I really dont let it get to my head. It is hilarious to me when someone does recognize me though.
I must admit tho, that going to Masterchef did awaken in me, the desire to cook more often, more freely and in a commercial/professional environment. And so I was starting to think about pop ups for Argentine Asado.
As time went by and I went to visit many pop ups by different people. and I met a lot of great people in the LA bbq scene. like @gogicraft Moo's Craft Barbecue @heritagebarbecue The Offset Barbecue@trudys_underground_barbecue
And through Marc Liu, I was introduced to Johnny Lee who later would be the force pushing me forward in my my own pop ups. I also got a lot from help from Elaine Chan and we started growing the presence and the events, and for that I will always be grateful.
It became a summer adventure. it was fun, it was rough, and ridiculous amount of work, but it was something that I wanted to continue to do, because I didn't see anyone doing it the way I grew up with. I think it is so unfortunate to not have these dishes available, so, this was one of the things that pushed me to start it. I dont quite know where all this is going, and I am figuring it out as I go. It really is a journey, and I am lucky to have a wife that supports me(for the most part =p)
As I went on different events like Altamed's Food and Wine festival, and other people's pop ups, and a few of my own, I started understanding a bit more of what entails to be the person responsible for every dish, the importance of having the right staff, and creating a workflow that allow a kitchen to function, and through that what it is to be a chef.
Now, there have been a lot of times I have felt that being on a TV show named "Masterchef" does not qualify me to be called "Chef". I have met way too many people far more qualified than me, that have put their time, and money into that, and I think it would be disrespectful of me to think I can be called "chef" just for that. On the other hand, I've come to know that the work of a chef, bears from the fact that he/she must organize a kitchen, make sure that everything is in place, and things happen, dishes are served, and there is a workflow.
I do believe tho, that what makes a chef worthy of that title, is among other things, the love of food and the willingness to be in the kitchen slaving away to share the food that one loves with anyone and everyone who is willing to eat it.
The work of a chef is tough, there are many things that can go wrong, and only 1 thing going wrong could ruin the whole workflow/meal/experience. Consistency is hard to achieve.
If you ever go to a restaurant, and you like how it tastes, and you go back and it tastes the same way every time, you have found a GOOD FOOD place. I am of course, talking about a place that a food is made by people, and not an industrialized process. There is nothing wrong with those, if they do a good job, but I talk about food that is made by people, for people.
I have felt overtime, and pretty much every time, after a large event; a sort of depression. It may be because I am overwhelmed, because nothing is particularly wrong or anything... but after thinking about it for some time(and hearing that depression in the food industry is common) I've come to think that somehow, all the love that I put into the food that I make, I get drained. I share all this happiness and love in the food that I serve. After serving 200+ meals I need to replenish that positive energy that I poured, and I just feel that void right after the events. And that is on top of the physical exhaustion.
So many thoughts on this topic, but those are for another time...
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