I’d been a working mother for decades when one day I suddenly found myself watching my two daughters head off to Spain to study and work. I had dedicated a good portion of my life to the duties of being a mother and then – all of a sudden – I had much more free time on my hands than usual. What could I do to fill so much time? I looked for something interesting, fun and enriching. As it turns out, there is an excellent cooking academy in my city, Valencia, the capital of the state of Carabobo. Alright, it’s a bit more than an academy: it is a truly professional culinary research & development centre where future chefs are trained. I’m an Assistant Director at MANN+HUMMEL Venezuela and have always seen myself as the chef in my home. I’ve always really liked baking but I’d never tried out my skills on the professional cooking scene before. Still, I was fortunate enough to participate in one of the courses organised by the prestigious academy. It was very comprehensive: I learned how to cook great dishes, right from selecting ingredients at the market to arranging the final presentation.
The exciting world of the culinary arts
My fellow students and I learned a lot more at the academy than we had envisioned. In addition to preparing exquisite recipes, we also discovered the history and cultural context of delicious culinary specialities from France, Italy, Spain, Latin America and Asian countries. We learned how to recognise and select the best products for each recipe, how to cut them properly and how best to process and store them. They reinforced and instilled in us the importance of order and cleanliness, of working in the kitchen with our companions in a coordinated manner, and of listening to, respecting and valuing other people with their own problems and circumstances, with their flaws and their virtues.
Doing this cooking course changed my general perspective on life. For me, as someone who is always involved in a thousand-and-one tasks, the experience has been extremely rewarding. As well as dealing with administrative tasks, translating documents and looking after the company’s clients, suppliers and personnel, I also have many other areas that take up my time at MANN+HUMMEL. I supervise the maintenance of the green areas in the factory, I’m in charge of everything related to the programme that we call “Identidad Corporativa” (Corporate Identity), which includes the “Filtro de Oro” (“Golden Filter”), one of our initiatives to reward our employees. Many of the lessons I learned at the cooking academy are things I apply to my day-to-day life as a professional at MANN+HUMMEL – and in reality, they can apply to any part of life! I wanted to share with you a summary of these useful lessons, but I thought it would be more fun to summarise them in the form of a recipe.
The recipe for a fuller life
Ingredients: 1 cup of motivation, ½ cup of good raw material, 1 level tablespoon of organisation, 2 heaped cups of teamwork, shared satisfaction (to taste).
Preparation: First take a good amount of motivation; explore, discover and dedicate your time to activities capable of teaching you something new, of surprising and exciting you. Then add a generous amount of excellent raw material: this includes – in addition to the materials – skills and expertise, abilities and attitudes. Simultaneously add dashes of order and cleanliness – the basis of good organisation – to guarantee the best results. Once the motivation and these good raw materials have been mixed, simmer them at teamwork temperature. Add the heat bit by bit, empathising with the people who work by our side, understanding them and respecting their opinions. Once the mixture has reduced and all of its flavour has been concentrated – all the while keeping everything clean and in its place – add shared satisfaction to taste to arrive at the final result. Feel and show fondness for those who accompany us on this delicious and fascinating adventure we call life with its exquisite aftertaste capable of delighting even the most discerning palate.
And now, enjoy. Bon appétit!