Oliver Tanner, Personal Chef LLC

Oliver Tanner, Personal Chef has a new website home: www.culinartsy.com  click on the link or copy and paste into your browser. 

This blog will continue to act as a Blog for Chef Oliver so you may read below if you are interested in his blog.

Thank you!

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Time to move on…

olivertanner

Well, the time has come to move on.  Life is full of changes and there’s really not much point in fighting against the inevitable.  Sometimes life is full of beginnings and sometimes it is filled with endings.  It is important to remember though, that with each ending comes a new beginning so it isn’t really the end after all, it’s really just a transition and that’s not really so bad now, is it?  So there’s really no need for tears, no need for sorrow, for although this blog is no longer the official home of Chef Oliver’s business, Oliver Tanner, Personal Chef will always have a home in our hearts… and at www.culinartsy.com.  I mean, it’s not like anyone is dying or anything, jeez lighten up.  This marks the end of this bl0g serving as a website for Chef Oliver’s business and the new beginning of it serving as…

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Redundancy and Ruin

Ok, so I finally went to the doctor yesterday and got an official  word on the status of my hand.  So here it is, the official word is… wait and see.  Basically, I spent about 5 hours at a VA Hospital Emergency Room for them to tell me that I know how to wrap a bandage really well and that I should keep it clean and change the dressing out twice a day… which is basically what I’ve been doing anyway.  But hey, they did give me a crapload of gauze and some silvadene cream which I can’t get over the counter so I guess that’s all okay too.  However, they completely failed to answer any of my questions about how severe my burn was or how long I should expect it to take to heal.  Thing is, October is just around the corner and that means pumpkins.  I would really love to be able to make some money this October carving pumpkins but that’s going to be a tad bit difficult if I can’t use my right hand.  Carving requires precision and a steady hand, neither of which qualities belong to my left hand.  Sure, I could probably train my left hand to work as well as my right with enough time and practice but not anytime soon enough.  But hey, it’s alright, I just need to keep myself together, take care of my hand and be patient because after all, I need to heal up as much as I can before my first already scheduled job this October.  Hey, no pain, no gain.

So I decided to attach some photos of the burn itself for anyone who wants to see.  I’ll warn you that it is kinda nasty so if you’re squeamish about those sorts of things then maybe don’t have a look.  But if you’re anything like me, then this will be something you just have to see.  So here goes, these photos are current as of two days ago.  Scroll down the page… if you dare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Epic Battles

Quite often there are epic battles in the food world.  Sometimes it is an epic battle between two chefs, duking it out to see who is the best, sometimes it is an epic battle between a chef and an ingredient, presentation, or meal where the chef must pull out all the stops and give it everything just to make a particular meal, dish, or centerpiece come out right.  Heck, sometimes it is even an epic battle between a person and the food they’re eating, whether it be ridiculously spicy or just an unimaginable amount of food to eat.  These battles are often publicized and it’s not hard to find them (in fact, it’s becoming harder to avoid them) whether it be Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, Food Network Challenge, Chopped, an Iron Chef competition, or whatever else, these battles are well known.

There are other battles that are somewhat less known however but nonetheless important for anyone serious about working in any kitchen to know about.  We don’t talk about these battles too much and we try to avoid them as much as possible for good reason.  These are the battles of chef vs. food or equipment where the chef loses.  Almost two weeks ago now, I had my own epic battle.  It didn’t last very long and it wasn’t a fight I was looking for but you don’t exactly get to choose every fight that comes to your doorstep.  Like I said, it didn’t last very long, but I’m still feeling its effects.  Here is my story:

About two weeks ago I was in a Chocolates and Confections class working on a pastillage centerpiece.  I was busy laying tape down before airbrushing and so I was, understandably, pretty involved and focused on my own work.  Working at the same table as me were three other people; I have no clue what the two people to the side of me were busy with but I know that the person across from me was pouring melted isomalt into a parchment tube to make a support for his own centerpiece.  I know what he was doing because as he was pouring, the tube buckled in the middle and hot melted isomalt was soon covering the fingers of my right hand.  I was completely unaware of any danger until I was staring at the thick clear liquid (heated to somewhere near 300 degrees) searing my fingers but whether I liked it or not, I had just had myself an epic battle.  In the battle between me and isomalt, it had come up to me when I wasn’t looking and sucker punched me into oblivion.

As the isomalt hit my fingers, I had that split second reaction where you just look at it and think, “there’s no way this can be real right now” which is soon followed by “holy crap, my fingers are burning!!!” and a mad rush for some water.  I think it took maybe ten seconds for me to yell at everyone to get out of my way and for me to get to a sink with cool water and soon somebody had brought me a nice little ice bath to soak my hand in.  Soak it I did and as I did so the only thing I could think about was that all that stupid isomalt had just gotten all over my centerpiece that I was working on and that at least 5 hours worth of painstaking detailed work was now trash.  Hands heal but pastillage doesn’t.  If I had realized then just how bad a burn I had and how difficult the healing process would be, I might have thought a tad bit less about my pastillage.

This isn’t my first time every getting hurt in my life, indeed I have built up a pretty good resume of injury and pain for myself.  I’ve been hit by a car while riding a bike, been stabbed in my leg by a machete, had my left index finger tendon almost completely severed which was followed by a bad staph infection which has left permanent damage in that hand, had two tumors removed from my left foot, and countless other smaller things that have all left their permanent marks on my body.  However, I had never before this been involved with a serious burn.  Add another line to the resume.

What really sucks about this burn however is that while most other things had at least healed up pretty much after two weeks, this burn seems like it just doesn’t want to.  Really, I have no clue how long this will take to heal and until it does, it is keeping me from doing any real work in the kitchen (typing this blog post hasn’t exactly been a picnic either).  That’s not exactly good when you’re running a business where you work on a job-by-job basis (but I guess it’s good September was slow anyways) or when you’re still attending school and now you can’t even finish your final projects.  However, I do still know that despite the inconvenience it causes me, it will pass in time and I’ll end up a much wiser, more cautious chef in the end for having had this experience.

Everybody working in a kitchen deals with minor cuts and burns and it can become a commonplace part of kitchen life that we  get complacent about.  It’s always worth it to remember, however, that you never know when hot isomalt, or something else is hiding just around the corner to knock you out.

Isomalt – 1        Me – 0

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Time to move on…

Well, the time has come to move on.  Life is full of changes and there’s really not much point in fighting against the inevitable.  Sometimes life is full of beginnings and sometimes it is filled with endings.  It is important to remember though, that with each ending comes a new beginning so it isn’t really the end after all, it’s really just a transition and that’s not really so bad now, is it?  So there’s really no need for tears, no need for sorrow, for although this blog is no longer the official home of Chef Oliver’s business, Oliver Tanner, Personal Chef will always have a home in our hearts… and at www.culinartsy.com.  I mean, it’s not like anyone is dying or anything, jeez lighten up.  This marks the end of this bl0g serving as a website for Chef Oliver’s business and the new beginning of it serving as an actual blog site (like it was always meant to be).  So although you gotta go somewhere else now to check out his business and schedule a job with him, at least you can still come here to find out what makes Chef Oliver tick (as frightening as that sounds).  There will be more to come!

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Chef Oliver Tanner provides services ranging from Thai Fruit & Vegetable Carving and centerpiece building to Mini-Catering and working as a Personal Chef.  Please have a look at his other pages for a better view of his work.  If what you see piques your interest, please contact him for a quote.

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