Dark Kitchens

Side note : I am going to turn my experiences in kitchens into a book.  Consider this an excerpt.

“In 2014, a world filled with human resource departments and racial “equality” training  kitchens are still the most uncomfortable places to work as a black woman.  My dream is to be a chef,  and in our industry you have to work your ass off in a kitchen to get any recognition.  That’s why I stay, for the recognition, but it’s not easy. At all. In kitchens (at least the five I’ve worked in) racism,  sexism,  sexual harassment and straight out disrespectful bullying are normal, even encouraged. I’m a double whammy. Black and  female.  I must work three times as hard as anyone to be recognized for the hard work.  I must face two times as much ignorance as anyone else.  While I’d love to give them a big fuck you very much, the experience is the only thing that’ll separate me from the pack.

I have worked in places were minor (under the age of 18) hostesses are too afraid to go to the kitchen because the kitchen manager leer and makes provocative sexual comments. In places were kitchen managers will never promote a person of color even though they obviously work harder than all employees. In kitchens were one mistake is met with passive aggressive behavior not awarded to white counterparts .  I have worked in kitchens were white males will go around yelling “I hate niggers” at the top of their lungs.  No one seems to realize that they’re being hurtful or inappropriate. That or they don’t care. Those who stand by and allow this behavior are just as bad as those who commit.

At my current job I’ve been called ghetto girl,  sassy black girl,  and the best ‘nigger’. These are just a few examples of the roses I smell in my personal paradise.  I’ve had to listen to the racist soliloquies of white staff members against other staff members and guests.  I’ve been the Centre of a joke that solely relies on my race and the desire of a creepy 50-year-old man who refers to women as “hot chocolate”. There is no remorse, there is no mercy.  I am constantly riddled with stereotypes I don’t fit and when I react to these racist approaches I am met with shock and sometimes hurt.  The idea that not everyone is willing to be a lap-dog to their ideals doesn’t sit well with them.  Any response mirroring the racism I face on a daily basis is met with outrage and discomfort.  “Why don’t you tell management?”  I have, several times,  even owners only to have three managers make openly racist quips in my direction. 

The problem with kitchens isn’t the hard work or the long hours. Hell,  even the lazy assholes are easy to deal with. The problem with kitchens is the ignorance and the unwillingness to change it. If you are a ‘POC’ in a kitchen you have surely experienced this.  You have come across casual racist statements about your race or another person’s race. I am reminded every day without fail of my race. Now not all people in kitchens are racist but a majority of them are.  Not all are sexual predators but most are.  Not everyone in a kitchen is a down right asshole but most are.  I stand by that.  It’s allowed.  It’s acceptable. It’s standard. I have heard kitchen managers state that “there is no such thing as sexual harassment in kitchens”.

Its’s a pity to want to chase your dreams and you must endure a nightmare. Will this change?  I’m doubtful.  Even when you openly express your disgust,  the malice continues on. It’s a shame to think that there are many people out there who are capable of becoming some of the greatest culinary masterminds of our generation but they never will because they can’t deal with kitchens because kitchens won’t deal with them. However I won’t allow that to be my fate,  I won’t allow another humans repulsive ways hinder my success. I’ll continue to loudly express my distaste. I’ll loudly express my thoughts and opinions. This will be a continuous saga and I will chronicle my experiences so that maybe one day, someone somewhere will hear me.  So that one day a young black female with aspirations like mine will be able to chase her dreams and not have to wonder why she must endure unnecessary bullshit. They will here me, us,  in these dark kitchens.”


Chasing Dreams : Plan B

Part 1 : Chasing Dreams : Part 1 

You know what you want to do and even though people tell you that you’re in way over your head, you don’t care. This is it. You understand everything you want to be and you’re so happy that you know how you want to spend the rest of your life. The nagging suspicion of failure no longer hovers in the back of your mind. This is all you have ever wanted and you are willing to do whatever it takes to get to the finish line.

As amazing as that mentality is, life doesn’t always go according to plan. We would like to believe that we can manipulate and control our fates in the most extreme ways. The truth of the matter is that we can’t and that is when plan B comes into action. You can chase your dreams and do everything you think will help you advance but at the same time you must remember: things can fall apart.

Plan B doesn’t have to be a degree or even another career route. Plan B is how you pick yourself up after you’ve fallen. Its the plan you implement when you have no other options. Well thought out and reasonable plans will help you recover from any mishap. When working on the original blueprint of how you want life to play out, take the time to think what if. You have gotten this far and you know what you want. You know what route you want to take. There is nothing worse than falling flat on your face and not having a way to pick yourself up. Scrambling to figure out the next move.

Consider Plan B, incorporate it into you original plan, it’s just another step and if it ever comes to the point to where you need it, you’ll be grateful you did.



Chasing Dreams; Part 1

Chasing Dreams: Part 1

You get out of high school, its finally over. You’ll never have to sit through Guthries lessons again. Next thing you know you’re walking through a campus full of thousands of freshmen just like you. Aimlessly wandering around trying to figure out if the east wing is for actual sciences or social sciences and how the hell you get into the west hall.

You get out of high school and you walk into your first science college class. You recognize a few faces. Take a seat while you wait for the lecturer to start ..lecturing. Look to your left. Look to your right and you realize the face of a kid you used to go to elementary school with; thinking to yourself “damn he was good at math? Thought he was a history kid.”

Every face you look at you realize one common vibe. Anxiety. Even though this is your first day in the post secondary world, it’s the first day of the rest of your life. The last twelve years have prepared you for THIS moment. Anxious to be successful, to achieve a life worth writing home about. You have all the tools too succeed. This should somewhat be a breeze except for one little minor snag.

This is not where you want to be.

Growing up I had a lot of dreams. I wanted to be a cop. A high school teacher. A professor of Classical Studies; yet there was always one reoccurring dream; to own my own restaurant. It would fade in and out between other dreams. I’d find myself sketching restaurants floor plans in-between my history lectures. Or watching Cops and thinking about a personalized crystal wine glass. There are only so many times you can ignore that nagging feeling in your heart that tells you you’re doing the wrong thing. I’ve ran circles around myself trying to figure out what I want. For a year and a half I was convinced that I wanted to be in the world of events.

Don’t get me wrong. Event planners are amazingly creative people. I’ve met genius minds and people who are TRULY passionate about their careers. Wedding planners and tour coordinators. From A to B these people love what they do. But it’s not what I LOVE to do. From time to time I’d love to plan my own events. It took me some time to realize that but I do now.

I know the cliche of do what you love gets corny. I understand that. Do what you’re passionate about and sometimes that’s easier said than done. People get sidetracked by the money or the fame. They get deterred by people who don’t necessarily understand what pertains to you. You have to realize for YOURSELF what motivates you. Don’t listen to the people who think in the path that was set out for them; because that path is not for you.

There millions of things you can do. You just have to find what fits your life and what makes you happy. At the end of the day would you rather be in a career or job you hate; making a lot of money? Or in a place where you’re happy and energetic with not as much money? The money will come to you if you know what you’re doing satisfies you.

I heard a saying ‘don’t chase your dreams, hunt them down until you catch them’ . A little aggressive but I think it gets the point across. Before you spend 3 or 4 years in the program you chose; Look in the mirror and ask yourself if this is what you want out of life? If not you have some thinking to do. If so, you better get ready to hunt.


Toronto; Do Better (Gun Violence)

I’ll be short.

I say Toronto as a general blanket, encompassing Toronto and the surrounding suburbs in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).

Most of my my reader base stems from the city of Toronto. They’ll understand this. For the readers who don’t know, I live in Ontario, Canada in town called Oakville. About a 25 minute drive from Toronto. Oakville is suburbian. White picket fences, people jogging, children with their parents credit cards but I haven’t always lived in Oakville. I haven’t always lived in Canada but for the most part I call this country home because it is where I have settled and begun my life as a young adult. Before I lived in Oakville, I lived in Scarborough, before that the U.S. and before that? A now war torn Zimbabwe.  Too say the least, they differ in numerous ways, ways I can’t necessarily delve into at this time. However, if you use your imagination and Google I’m sure you can come to your own conclusions.

In Toronto and the GTA … I have seen both sides of the tracks. Both have their dark and lights, both sides have their extremely good and extremely bad aspects. The GTA seems to be split into two worlds. West End and East End and Toronto of course, the centre hub. The general idea is that the East End is full of more violent acts but that’s not true at all. I visit Toronto a lot, I go to school there, I shop there, have friends, family there and it seems over the last couple of years, that freedom I have  to move freely without the threat of harm, is slowly starting to slip away. Random acts of violence are slowly taking away the freedom I have to live.

January 1st, a lot of us lost a good friend to gun violence.

It was perhaps one of the most unexpected painful losses I have ever experienced.

It shed a lot of light on things I had chosen to be unaware of.

A former friend of mine lost her brother to gun violence, do you know what that does to people? It destroys your psyche, your life, your ability to trust and to love. It shatters the image of a world you have grown to be comfortable in and leaves you naked, vulnerable. There is nothing like the pain of death and the pain intensifies even more when it is by the piercing of a bullet. You can never be the same again.

I have never been a fan of guns. I don’t understand their existence nor do I support their use. The only thing I see guns for are murder weapons. I don’t care who is toting the heavy piece of metal whether it be police officers or random civilians, guns are horrible. The Eaton Centre shooting really put things in perspective for me. I was supposed to be downtown that day, shopping. Eaton was my first mapped destination, like so many of us do.

What if that had been me? What if it had been you? 

People are so casual about “holding a toolie” or “toting a .9” when in reality there is nothing casual about death or the pain inflicted by the absurd ringing of gunshots. What happened to using your words as a weapon? When have we as a people become so cowardly and rely on the pop of a gun to solve all of our problems? I know that these problems are deep rooted and stem from psychological discrepancies I couldn’t even decipher with a manual. I understand that people come from a culture or families that may believe in the ideas that lead to gun violence but you know better. Wrong from right. This is not about the black community because the person who shot our friend is white. It’s not blaming Scarborough or Malton or Brampton because every community has the likes. Even Oakville.

Nothing happens in Oakville. Why are you carrying a gun around, in Oakville?

Gun violence not only affects you and the victim, it affects your families, your community and random strangers like myself who don’t know where the next stray bullet is coming from. It shouldn’t be like that. I don’t want to start listing stereotypes of the Canadian person but there is NO reason for any of us to be approaching problems with gun violence. NONE. I have seen things, that most of you could never imagine and at the rate people are going, you are all about to see those things. and lose the contents of your stomach; on a daily basis. I know this was an aimless rant, I got upset again half way through and probably made no sense but there is one thing I want to get across.

Gun violence solves nothing.

If anything it creates more problems.

Please, please stop.

Toronto, honestly…you can do better.


P.S. Fuck Rob Ford, you stupid fuck. How is this an isolated incident if you have already had 19 homicides in the GTA alone? You puffy tomato colored bastard.

Top Ten: Illmatic

Nas- Illmatic

Born to the world as Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones in September of 1973. Birthed into the rap world 18 years later in 1991 as Kid Wave before becoming the living legend; we have grown to know as Nasty Nas, NaS, Nas the Villain.

Consistent persistence by A&R representatives, word of mouth and hype, Nas solidified his position in the rap world  in 1994 with the critically acclaimed LP Illmatic under Columbia Records under the watchful eye of Mc Serch. It was the untold story of a young black male growing up in Queensbridge, New York. Mellow beats with cutting lyrics, peppered occasional glimpses of the adult he was becoming, Nasir proved that he was more than another rapper vying for fame. Every track on the album delved into the darker side of the streets he had grown up on. Into a young man who wasn’t afraid to express to the world, who he was. Creating vivid images of a life many could relate to.

Lyrically inclined, he painted pictures of violence, death, and hardship in ways unachieved by rappers to precede him. A true griot, there was no filter to his tales; just honesty and the standard of seemingly insincere rappers begun shatter with his emergence. Still new to the rap game, they had already accepted him as one of their own. Branded the “new Rakim” amongst many other accolades, the Villain had settled comfortably into the world of hip-hop. Illmatic however didn’t go platinum until 2001, proving that great music remains relevant no matter how many years it’s been on the shelves. Illmatic was an opening door for hip hop and for Nasir’s lucrative career.

Many to follow  would attempt to mimic Nas, but could never touch his level of excellence on Illmatic, and still strive and fail, to achieve what he had achieved in one album in their entire careers. Rappers have come and gone but Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones  continues to stand tall and shines amongst his peers. Regular consumers and hip-hop heads alike agree that Illmatic is one of the best albums of our hip hop generation. It has been almost two decades since the debut of Illmatic, and beginners are still  choosing the idolized LP as their opening lesson. It is a definite keep for any album collection for any hip hop collection.

One of the top ten reasons to fall in love with the greatest art to ever grace our headphones.



An Ideal Sunday

Waking up at 7 am next to you.

Bodies moulded together, inseparable clay.

Sharing the mirror.

Competitions to see who can get who to laugh first.

 Watching cartoons all morning.

 Eating our faviroute cereals.

A silence so comfortable it feels naked. So comfortable that there is never a need to acknowledge the other. Getting lost in our own worlds while still being connected to one another. Comfortable with the absurdity of the world but content because our hearts always feel at home.

Undressing you.

Showering with you.

Making lunch with you.

An afternoon nap cuddled with you.

Lounging around, quiet whispers, pillow talk. Fingers intertwined words melting to form paragraphs describing the love that motivates the desire and passion behind our eyes. Savouring every breath you take, mentally recording every sound you make. Soft caresses and warm kisses tracing the lines of our conversation.

Getting ready with you.

 Out for dinner.

 Smiling like a love sick fool.

Spending the moments with you that deserve a special place in the recollections of my life. Looking up at the sky and knowing the possibilities are endless. Feeling your pulse rhythmically beat in sync with mine as you hold me. Knowing that every moment you look into my eyes your being is tethered to my soul.

Walking home hand in hand.

Conversing loudly like children.

Chatter filling the quiet night.

Arriving home, impatiently, undressing with a meticulous insanity that is pained by our lust. Heightening the beauty of the moment. No words are spoken, out bodies sing everything we never could verbalize. Wrapped inside your arms. In a trance by your seductive charm. Enchanted by the way you sigh, gasp, the world falls behind us and it remains just the two of us on an ideal Sunday.


a poem about love

I always have you in a time of need.
You’re always ready to help me up on my feet.
You make me whole.
You feed my soul.
And you thump like the heart beneath these bones.
Drums like a pulse and my running veins
Intoxicate me
More powerful than any drug I’ve ever known
Give me more reign, than a queen on a throne
I don’t need fancy flowers from you
I don’t need you too hold me too make me feel good
You move my body more than I ever knew
I can never get sick of you,
You make me smile like a fool
And without hesitation, I can turn to you
Make me feel like more than a woman,
You make me feel brand new
Unhealthy won’t define me
It’s an obsession with you
You feed my mind, my heart, personal soul food
I can’t get mad when you cheat on me,
I want the world to explore you
Admire your broad, beautiful tapestry
Let the others live what I lived
When we created our own fantasy
And even when you do to them
What you’ve done to me
We share our hidden secret that they’ll never see
I’d never leave you, hurt or abuse you
Sometimes I need you more than I need cooked food
I confess my love and dying adoration.
I’m yours forever.
I love you.
No matter what you do,
I’ll always keep you.