Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tobie Puttock

I haven't done one of these posts in ten days. I know it doesn't seem like that to you guys.

I feel everything is so messed up. I wrote all these posts ahead of time so I wouldn't have to work while in Disney World. But now I feel like I'm on a whole different wavelength than everyone.

Oh well. Eventually things will work themselves out and my posts won't be so untimely. I guess I could just stop writing new posts. That would help. But I WANT to write. It's my therapy. Anyway, I'm going to have to take a few days off in the next couple of weeks. We have planned stuff on certain days, and I won't have enough time to write a post. That should help put things back in timely order.

I feel like my brain is all jumbled right now. I think it's just about feeling overwhelmed. I still need to unpack. I have to do this post. Jack wants me to watch Electric Company with him. I want to start working with the photos from our trip.

I should start. Right?

Tobie Tobie. Who are you?

Oh! He's a chef. That's good. I'm hungry.

I was so happy last night. I weighed myself, and I hadn't gained any weight on the trip. See. When I had my eating disorder, I would stop dieting when we went on vacation. Because my metabolism was so messed up, I'd gain about ten pounds. Literally.

I guess my metabolism is pretty well fixed by this point.

Back to Mr. Puttock....

He was born in Melbourne. That's about all Lord Wiki has for his childhood.

For his higher education,, Puttock went to Box Hill Institute of TAFE. It doesn't look like they have a chef program. Maybe he did Hospitality Management? That's the closest degree to chefness that I can see here.

Puttock worked in a restaurant called caffe e cucina. Would that be Spanish? Or is that Italian? I'm guessing Italian. Yeah, Spanish would be Cafe.

Okay. I'm looking at their website. It's Italian. The restaurant has some good vegetarian dishes. I'm impressed with that. I'd be even more impressed if they refused to serve veal. Oh well. You can't have it all.

In 1999, Puttock met that adorable British chef....Jamie Oliver. They worked together at the River Cafe in London. This is an Italian restaurant too. They change their menu daily. That's pretty cool.

After working in London, Puttock returned to Melbourne. He opened up his own restaurant. This was called Termini. I wonder what that word means. I shall ask Google Translator. Well, they say it means terms. Terms? Who would name a restaurant terms?

Oh wait. Lord Wiki says there's a town in Italy called Termini. It's in Sicily. I went to Sicily once. It was BEAUTIFUL. Sadly, I spent only a few short hours there. We were doing the cruise ship thing.

Anyway. According to eatability.com, the restaurant has closed. But when it was open (in the good old days) it was on Fitzroy Street.

While Puttock did his restaurant, he also made appearances on the TV show Ready Steady Cook.

Then in 2001, Jamie Oliver creeped back into Puttock's life. Oliver was pretty famous by this time. He wanted Puttock to join him in a lovely project. They would train underprivileged people for restaurant stuff. Puttock said yes, and returned to London. He helped Oliver start up a restaurant called Fifteen. The name refers to the fifteen apprentices that would transform into fabulous chefs.

It sounds like a brilliant program. They take young people who are unemployed, homeless, overcoming substance abuse problems, etc. Then they give them on the job training. I STRONGLY support programs like this. I wonder if Tim knows about it. I think he once told me he'd be interested in doing something like this. I wonder if he knew about Jamie Oliver's program. Maybe that's where he got the idea in the first place.

Tim would be SO good at it. He's a great cook, and he's good at working with young adults. Well, at least they seem to like him a lot. Tim has a lot of charisma. Don't tell him that though because he also has a huge ego.

It seems right now there are four of these Fifteen restaurants. There's one in London, one in Melbourne, one in Amsterdam, and one in Cornwall. All right. I'm going to sound like one of those Americans interviewed by Charles Firth. Where is Cornwall? Wait. Is it the UK? I'm getting a UK vibe here.

Okay. Yes. It's in the UK. So maybe I'm NOT a totally ignorant American. It took me a few seconds, but then it clicked in my brain.

Oy. But now I can't remember where Amsterdam is. I just think of it as the place where pot is legal. Is it in the Netherlands?

YES! I'm right. I am feeling so totally smart right now.

In 2002, Jamie Oliver turned his restaurant project into a TV show. Well, that lowers the beauty of it a bit...at least in my eyes. Reality TV is just way too exploitive. But maybe this show wasn't so bad.

Although I can't tell whether his show was a reality TV type show with the fifteen apprentices; OR whether it was just an educational type program with Oliver himself.

Well, from what Lord Wiki says....it seems it was more of a reality TV show.

Puttock helped Oliver with all that stuff for a few years. Then he got homesick and wanted to return to Australia. What they decided to do was set up a spin off program in Melbourne.

In 2006, they had a TV show of the Melbourne program. Currently (according to Lord Wiki) Puttock is the executive chef of the restaurant.

Here's their website. They work with people within the ages of 16-24. I'm guessing the program is fairly competitive....I mean if they have only fifteen slots.

Here it says they get about three hundred applicants. I'm surprised they don't get much more than that.

They eventually narrow the applicants down to thirty. Then they take these folks out to a three day camp. I guess there the group is cut down to fifteen.

I wonder how that effects people who are NOT chosen to be in the program. It's hard enough for ANYONE to be rejected. But when you live a disadvantaged life, get your hopes up, and then have then shattered..... It might be a bit devastating. I know life is full of disappointments. We can't save anyone. But it would be nice if they could perhaps increase the numbers a bit. Tim works in nonprofits and he said something to me the other day. I forgot his exact words. It was somewhere along the lines of it's good to help a few people, but even better if you can help a lot of people. I'm not sure if he made that up, or heard it from someone else.

I mean sometimes you have only enough resources to start out helping a small group of people. And that's fine. But if you get enough money and resources, then I think expanding is the right thing to do.

This page of their website says it costs $50,000 for the training of one chef. I don't get that. Why would it cost so much money to train someone? I'd like to know how that money is used. Are the materials that expensive?

Well, it looks like some of the money goes towards welfare support and travel expenses. That makes sense. Maybe that money actually goes towards the apprentices' living expenses? Maybe the money is kind of like their salary?

I'm almost done with Lord Wiki here. He provides a few pieces of personal information. Puttock is married. That happened in 2007. He is the godfather of one of Jamie Oliver's daughters.

Okay. I'm done there. Now I'm going to look at the restaurant website. Before I was just looking at the charity/foundation site.

Hey, maybe this can be our key to moving to Australia. Tim would be perfect for this organization. He's a great cook. He works well with young people. He has experience working with troubled folks. And no, I'm not just talking about his wife. He was a crisis counselor at one point. He taught at a cooking school. He now has experience working with nonprofit organizations.

Okay yeah. Let's be honest. I can't deny it. I'm hoping Tobie Puttock googles himself, finds this post, and wants to hire Tim. Hopefully, it wouldn't involve reality TV stuff. But I can sacrifice my principles about that if it involves moving to Australia. Plus, it would be Tim on TV, not me.

Anyway, back to the restaurant site. I'm going to look at their menu. I don't see any veal. Awesome! Although I could be missing it.

It looks like they have a new head chef. I guess that's different from Puttock's role as executive head chef. This new chef is from South Africa. He totally looks like someone Tim would enjoy working with.

Puttock has his own website. He's a very handsome man. I'm looking at his photo right now. Okay, maybe I'm trying to brown nose a bit. But really. He isn't bad looking.

Here Puttock gives some facts about himself. He was born in 1974. I'm two years older than him.

Besides cooking, he also likes snowboarding and skateboarding. Tim doesn't do those things, but he does do martial arts.

Oh! He has lived in Italy and Switzerland. Tim has pretty just just lived in America. He did live in Korea, but that doesn't really count. He left when he was a toddler and doesn't remember any of it.

Puttock has books out there. They're all about Italian cooking. I wonder if his love for Italy is like my love for Australia.

Puttock believes in organic foods, and eating seasonally. I do too. I believe in all that stuff. But sometimes it's hard to find it in Fort Worth. Well, organic is not too hard to find. It's hard to find local produce. The selection is very limited. We probably need to search for some kind of farmer's market or something.

Even outside of environmental and produce issues, it would probably be better to eat seasonally. It makes things more special. We don't do it. We eat anything any old time. But it would be nice to save gingerbread for the winter months, watermelon for summer, pumpkin for autumn, Peeps for Easter time, etc. We do pretty much drink eggnog only around November and December though.

Thinking about food and seasons....it's still hard for my brain to adjust to the holidays
of Australia. I think the strangest for me is Easter. Since I'm not Christian, Easter to me is about spring. It's eggs and the birth of new flowers. It's baby bunnies and baby chicks. It's about renewal. It seems so weird to have spring in the autumn. Autumn to me is pumpkin and gourds. It's cinnamon, cloves, and nutmegs....warm reds and oranges. It's about getting ready for winter.

Puttock has some video clips on his site. He's promoting his book. He talks about dietary requirements. It sounds like he's sensitive to this. That's good. I prefer those types of chefs.

Now he's cooking on the video. He's making pasta. Yum.

Puttock has a blog. He did his most recent entry on the first day of November. That would be Halloween in America.

The blog entry is really short. It says he's going to have another book coming out in August 2010.

This other entry talks about Puttock's garden. I'm going to be honest here. This is one area that Tim is NOT good at. Gardening. He's tried a few times. We're jinxed or something. We try to grow stuff, and it just dies. Jack and I did finally manage a few green bean plants. But I think we got a total of about four beans from that project. I'm NOT giving up though. I think next spring we're going to try squash. Or maybe we'll do an herb garden. That might be fun.

Well, I think I'm going to stop here. I need to finish the unpacking. The cool thing is I don't have major laundry to catch up with. We had laundry in our apartment, so I did that before packing.