Last week I taught my first cooking class, and it was fantastic. It was also ironic.
I used to work for a greenhouse that supplied Loblaws with orchids. I managed this account and frequently had to deal with the buyers at head office. I got along with all of them incredibly well but found them really difficult to work with. They were always under the pressure of losing their jobs if they didnt get the absolute lowest price possible, so it made doing business with them almost impossible. I could get the order, but if someone suddenly undercut me even 2 days before shipping, they’d drop my order and go with the other guy without batting an eyelash. As much as I enjoyed the people, I felt very happy when I left the sales world that I would never have to deal with them again. Once again, they would just be a grocery store to me.
Fast forward, and I now have a cake decorating shop. I spend my days as far from the corporate sales world as possible, quietly baking cakes and decorating them, bringing simple pleasures to uncomplicated people. Its bliss. Because I love it so much, I want to share that with others, so I called the local Real Canadian Superstore to see about renting the community room to teach a class. The next thing I know, I’m getting a call back from the Loblaws Cooking School, telling me that they’re looking for a cake decorator to teach for them! I went for the interview and brought my portfolio, and the director and I got along really well. She set me up to do a "working" interview/test to see if I could teach, and then told me to pick something that wasnt cake, just so she could bump me from my comfort zone a little. I decided to teach pastry, and on the morning of June 25th I arrived at the kitchen to start prepping for my first class.
It was so great! I looked so official in my chefs cap and apron, and all my ingredients were laid out in little bowls across the front counter. The students (35 of them) filed in and took their recipes and notes and suddenly I was being introduced and left to teach. I cant describe the next hour, all I can say is that I really felt in my element. I answered complicated cooking questions, demonstrated some neat techniques with pastry while making cherry tarts and a french tortiere and never stopped talking for a second. The next thing I knew, I was cutting a slice of hot flaky pie and showing it to the class while they all clapped and the director looked at me quite pleased. It was incredible :D.
When the students were gone and the room was quiet again, I was offered the job of teaching at various stores around south-western ontario. I happily accepted and then the director began to tell me about how I would now be in the system as a vendor, that I would have to submit my course outlines to the marketing department of LCL and so on… I shook her hand and walked out onto the mezzanine and stopped for a second to take a deep breath and offer a work of thanks to God. Then I looked down over the floral department and the irony hit me. This is certainly an outcome that is contrary to what I expected, but I love it all the same :).