Blog Post #1 - Shelter in Place Day #29
We are on day 29 of shelter in place for Monterey County, and I have been using this downtime to build a new website for my catering company, Savory Events. In the process of building the site, the WIX.com template I chose had a built-in blog section. Having no experience writing a blog I initially had thought to take it out, but then I figured why not? So here we go, welcome to my blog!
I have decided to start this as a little insight into Savory Events and what we do - it's not always fancy, but it's usually fun and delicious :)
I'm Jorden, the Founder, Chef, Admin, Team Leader, Van Loader, Stove Fixer, and part-time Dishwasher for Savory Events. I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, CA. on the east side where I attended Soquel High School. I have lived on the Monterey Bay for my whole life, spending the last 10 years bouncing back and forth between the Monterey Peninsula and Santa Cruz. I now live in Pacific Grove with my family.
I started this company 5 years ago in May of 2015. Previously, I was the Lead Cook Supervisor for the Spanish Bay Banquet Department in Pebble Beach. Before that I cooked at the Marriott in Downtown Monterey working in a variety of roles doing banquets, breakfast buffet, hotline... you name it! When I was younger, I worked at many different places in Santa Cruz, always in foodservice. Unless you count my stint as a lifeguard, or the awkward 2 months of mall retail for a little moto apparel shop called “No Fear” (NOT my jam).
My first job was at the infamous Garden Deli making sandwiches. This is probably where my deep-seated love for a well-made sandwich comes from. Don't come at me with a sandwich made on shitty bread, it’s just not acceptable. I also worked at Gayle's Bakery, The Farm Bakery, Tony & Albas, Emily's Good Things to Eat, and Zeldas in Capitola. Oh wait, and I did mention I was a lifeguard for a summer at Simpkins Swim Center, bringing in $22/hr as a 16-year-old was pretty sweet.
I graduated from Soquel High in 2007, technically I graduated a semester early but they still made me come back and walk in June. While I was a great student academically, school wasn't really my thing. I got bullied a lot, and never really fit in with a specific group of friends. Looking back, I think I really just lacked the confidence to be myself, and in turn got pushed around by everyone else, who were all probably just as confused as I was.
When I was at work in the kitchen though? In the back of the house? I always felt at home. We would tell inappropriate jokes and sing out loud to whatever songs came on the radio. The lead singer of the local band The Expendables used to make sandwiches at Garden Deli as well, all of us would be stoked when he would sing their most well-loved songs.
Even though I had been working in food service for years, I never thought of it as a career path. I had taken an interest in architecture that that point and did several years of advanced drafting and AutoCAD by the time the end of high school ended. For a while I daydreamed about going to Cal Poly for architecture design, but a little voice in my head always said that I wouldn't like being in an office all day. Low and behold, my friend gifted me a copy of “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain. That book sealed the deal for me diving into food forever. A tribe of messed up kitchen hooligans? These were my people. These are the individuals I got along with. They didn't give a shit if I was wearing new Vans or spent enough time sunbathing on the East side beaches. Can you cook? Can you prep? Can you shut up and hustle when it's busy and pull through a crazy service? Oh yes these were my people. This is where I belonged, I belonged in the kitchen.
Up until that point my cooking had been limited to the basics. Nothing fancy, lots of grilling, prepping, assembling (already made ingredients), and making super easy sauces and soups. So? I decided to go to culinary school, The Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco was too expensive, and the Cabrillo community college culinary program was so small it was nearly impossible to sign up for the classes you needed to take in the correct order. I found a place called The Culinary Center of Monterey that was located on Cannery Row. They offered a one-year certificate program for around $22k. 6 months of the beginner program, 6 months of the advanced program. So? I enrolled.
Now, culinary school was an interesting experience. There were some great things I took from it, and I had the opportunity to become immersed in the vast network of chefs and restaurants that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer. The actual school part was easy, memorizing names and dishes, learning how to make stocks & sauces, etc.. There were some pretty big gaps in our curriculum though, I never learned any egg cookery, how to breakdown a fish, or how to make a slurry (but don't worry, those came later) The best parts included charcuterie class with the infamous Pig Wizard, sushi rolling with Eric Kim, volunteering for Pebble Beach Food & Wine, working Concours d'elegance, and in general getting exposed to a bunch of really cool shit I had never seen before.
On that note, I've got chili on the stove and it's time for dinner!
To be continued :)