Cutting The Mustard
While I am truly passionate about my blogging career, I am still not quite cutting the mustard, financially speaking. Often, there is some money, for my ghost blogging, and freelance public relations gigs, but often the only payment for my labor of love, is free food, or swag items.
Until I land the perfect Community Manager/ PR job, or until “The Vicki Winters Show,” becomes something, that air somewhere other than in my head, I will continue to seek out other odd job opportunities, to pay my bills.
Will Blog For Food!
Don’t get me wrong. No one loves free food or swag, more than me. It’s a perk that I will never take for granted. Unfortunately, my landlord will not accept any cheese graters, cutting boards, or Ninja cooking systems, as payment for the monthly rent, in my New York City apartment.
Subsequently, I often find myself paying the bills, by performing different, and sometimes, odd jobs, in the Food and Hospitality world. Barista, Coat Check, Burger Flipper. I can, and will work hard at almost anything reasonable, for an honest day’s pay.
Craigslist Job Posting- Isn’t Enthusiasm Enough, To Land A Job?
This week, while on the search for a gig, that would satisfy my landlord’s little quirk, I saw a posting for a job, at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. This sounded like a perfect fit for my skill set. In my mind, at least. Beecher’s was looking for early morning Hoop Breakers. I wasn’t exactly sure what breaking hoops consisted of, but I had no doubt that my enthusiasm for Beecher’s, would be all that I needed, to land this primo gig.
The Future Is Looking Bright!
Upon reading the job post, I begin to fantasize about the future. In my head, I’m setting my alarm clock, for the early wake up call, and fantasizing about all the Beecher’s Mac And Cheese that I can eat. To quote Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll never go hungry again!”
Could I Cut The Mustard?
Many employers post listing-specific qualifications their job candidates need to have, although some of these might not be absolutely mandatory. Often a hiring manager will make an exception, when a great candidate like me, comes along.
There are the requisites, and then there are wish lists, in any job posting. I always assume that my sparkling personality, and great sense of humor, will outshine all of the other, perhaps more qualified applicants. I will still apply, if “I think I can, I think I can.” I’m a bit like Thomas the Train.
Will I Be Able To Cut The Cheese At Beecher’s?
According to the Craigslist ad, here is a list of the requisites neccessary, to cut the mustard… and the cheese, at Beecher’s Hand Made.
1. A love of all things cheese! – I love cheese! Everything about it. Eating cheese, cooking with cheese, smelling cheese. I had cheese yesterday. Check.
2. Strong understanding of food safety, cleaning and sanitation- use of slippers. – I have a food handler’s license. I know that I need to cover my head when handling food. I am familiar with the proper temperature at which chicken needs to both stored and cooked. Of course, I also know that I have to wash my hands, before starting work, and after I go potty. I also wear slippers quite often. Maybe, not the type they are talking about?
3. Availability to work early mornings at 3am. – This was probably a tad of an exaggeration. They couldn’t possibly need me at that hour. Who works at 3 o’clock? I’m sure they would be happy enough, if I showed up at 7 o’clock or so, as long as I was cheerful.
4. Strong work ethic. – My work ethic is superb. I always give 110% to every job. I’ll be sure to show up on time… if it isn’t too early, of course. See #3 above. I’m a team player. I have no problem staying late. Did I mention I love cheese. This job is all mine!
5. Ability to lift 60 lbs. – This is probably one of those things that is on the wish list. I’m sure they mean “give or take” 60 pounds. I once almost lifted a 20 lb. weight, in the gym. That would probably be good enough for this hoop breaking thing.
I’m Already Cashing My Paycheck.
So far, I’m confident that I’ve got this job in the bag, so I read on. All the while, envisioning hunks of Muenster, Gouda and Brie, lining the shelves of my refrigerator with the great employee discount I’m getting. It reads, The following things would also be assets:
1. Food Handling Experience– Not only do I have a mobile food vendor’s license, but I have worked in several cafes. I handle food at least three times daily, often times, even more.
2. Cheesemaking/Dairy experience– I watched a YouTube video “How to make cheese at home”. It didn’t look so hard. I also drink milk, ice cream and lots of cheese.
3. Food Science Degree– I got a B ins Science during 11th grade, and I’ve leafed through the photos in “Molecular Gastronomy.” That should be fine.
Lucky For Me, I Had The Inside Scoop!
As fate would have it, I had already been planning on filming a video about, the cheese making process at Beecher’s, when I read the aforementioned ad. Lucky for me, before I would be sending in my resume, I would be able to see first hand, what tasks specifically, this job would entail.
Well, my dear readers, I must tell you. They weren’t kidding about any of it.
Science Was Never My Strong Suit.
Here’s how it goes down at Beecher’s. The cheese production workers, start at precisely 3AM. Milk is poured into a large vat, then rennet and cultures are added. Stirring, raking and mixing, turns the mixture into curds.
After some scientific temperature adjustments, the curds are raked, and somehow, turned into big blocks, that are shoved into a machine, are then cut into strips. These strips are shoveled to one side.
More mixing, more cutting, and then shoveling, to the other side. Next, the hoops get placed into the mixing area, and curds are shoveled into tins. Each individual 60lb. tin of cheese, is weighed, the water is squished out of it, and 16 months later, there is cheese.
Oh yes, I have minimized the process, because as mentioned in the ad, it is FOOD SCIENCE, which I don’t understand exactly. Did I mention that I leafed through the photos in “Molecular Gastronomy?”
It Didn’t Quite Work Out For Me As I Had Planned.
Sadly for me, I am too weak, could never get up early enough, and I clearly do no not have the work ethic it takes, to work at Beecher’s. The men who showed me the ropes clearly all do. I tried to keep up with Kevin and Matt, while they busted their butts and worked so hard as Hoop Breakers, that it made my head spin.
So Much Shoveling, So Little Time!
I lasted about an hour. The shoveling was grueling. Lifting the hoops was impossible for me. I take my hairnet off, to these fine young fellows, who works their butts off on a daily basis. They must REALLY love grilled cheese sandwiches.
It Wasn’t A Total Bust.
Dan Utano, who manages the daily process, was not impressed with my work, or perhaps he saw me shoveling more cheese in my mouth, than into the hoops. Pretty much he told me that there was no way in h**l, that he would ever hire me to work on his team. I wasn’t offended. I totally stunk at making cheese.
The morning was not a total loss. I got some great footage for my video blog (stay tuned), and I did receive a parting gift, consisting of some wonderful cheese curds, hand-made by my new best friends and former co-workers, at Beecher’s. My landlord was not impressed.