Issue No. 003
D E T E R M I N A T I ON
A Letter From the editor It is amazing to be able to witness how the youth is beginning to take responsibility for their future and consequently shaping tomorrow’s world, today. This month issue has a focus on determination. Finding the will to continue even though the odds are against you, our contributibors have shown us to never quit. Jonah, a great social fundraiser and entrepreneur speaks about his “8 Ps” that will make you a successful entrepreneur but even if you are not starting a company take his advice and apply it to life. Perhaps the opportunities we thought were going to be there are no longer available to us, such as jobs--Ashwin, reminds us to create opportunities with the resources available to us. As we continue on this journey of showcasing global youth talent, I encourage you to take chances. Take that risk you’ve always wanted to take, I assure you it will yield great results. I have always said that the intersection of preparation and opportunity is often confused as “luck.” Be persistent, focused, and passionate; the rest will follow. On behalf of Urbane Sophisticate, I would like to thank you, our audience, for being patient and understanding through our time of remodeling and rebuilding. In the next couple of weeks we will start rolling out new features, new opportunities for reader engagement and most importantly new content.
UrbAne SophisticAte Editor-In-Chief
Luis A. Navia Fashion Editor
Justin Bridges Executive Vice President
John FLoyd Managing editor
Director of Design
Erin McLear director oF operAtions
hunter s. gAyLor
Cote dâ€™ Azur The Crisis of Today eleCTion 2012 The ameriCan red Cross 8 Ps of enTrePreneurshiP PhoTograPher: Jordan donnelly sTreeT sTyle: london my advenTures: KazaKhsTan[Cover] The life of a Chef
COTE D’AZUR So, you have 5000 dollars that you have saved in pennies and dimes; where can you go and what can you do? What if I told you that you could go to one of the most romantic places in Europe and see one of the wealthiest places on earth, take in fall in love, go to a party, see some yachts, and drive a sports car? Oh, did I already mention fall in love and drink wine? This month I will show you how to see Monaco, Nice, Cannes, and Italy—that’s right, the Cote d’azur—for two, under 5,000 dollars.
The Vacation starts with that special someone—your best friend, crush, or possibly your mom or dad— your choice. I recommend that you use the website www.vayama.com for Boston to Nice for approximately 850 dollars around Christmas time. If you wanted to experience the French Rivera without breaking the bank, I recommend that you do your currency exchange before you go. If you are there, the best rates are found at the ATM’s. So for easy math lets and your partner is 2,000; that leaves you with 3,000 left over for everything else. I have provided pricing below for reference purposes.
As far as living accommodations, go for the vacation rentals for a 5 night stay plan for about 500 dollars that is 100 dollars a night. you can visit the local markets around the old town in Nice, and cook with your friend or lover and enjoy a nice bottle of French wine from the local wine store for about 10 euros—I recommend Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau 2009 which is an excellent vintage. I would describe it as brilliant in color, with a nose of strawberry and raspberry. Also you can sense a little Apricot and fruity—vivacious.
Traveling is inexpensive; any bus from the central bus station in Nice to Cannes, Monaco, or Saint Pal (great place for art work) is only 1 euro. The restaurants guide is listed below. I know that I mentioned sport cars, well here you go; I would like you to note that these are a little bit pricey but you have saved money earlier by booking which drives along the coast with big windows that allows you to to enjoy the scenery, and the fact that the cost for a week at the vacation rental is equivalent to the price of one night at the Hotel Negresco. The average price for a sports car, I.e Porsche and Mercedes, is around 1000 U.S dollars. This rate is for the whole day, I recommend waking up early in order to enjoy the full day.
you to go exploring, fall in love, fun, and go Urbane Style!
Accomodations: http://www.vrbo.com/ vacation-rentals/europe/france
Food: http://www.europe-cities.com/en/614/ france/nice/eating-out/cafes/
Travel: www.Vayama.com, American Express Travel Wine: http://about-france.com/wines.htm Cars: http://www.avis.com/car-rental/avisHome/ php?service_type=1&chauffered_id_country=1&id_ country=3&QB_CATEGORY=0&QB_ BRAND=0&model=0&x=9&y=6
THE CRISIS OF TOMORROW AND THE SOLUTION OF TODAY Ashwin Sivarajah We face a global crisis of tomorrow. This crisis is not just about the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) unable to pay it debts and it is certainly not about banks being â€œclever â€œ with their CDSs and from. This imminent crisis is about a broken promise to a generation facing little prospect of achi eving the standard of living their parents enjoyed. The global youth unemployment crisis is knocking on our doors and promises to leave a devastating impact in the coming decade if nothing is done. The global youth unemployment rate rose to from 11.8 to 12.7 percent from 2008 to 2009, marking the largest ever annual increase in over 20 years since data on youth employment has been measured. The trend is only predicted to reverse in 2011 but more alarmingly is that these statistics do not paint a true picture of the predicament of youths today. By not include youths, who are inactive. The rate of youths becoming inactive has increased throughout this recession period suggesting more and more youths are becoming increasingly frustrated with the longer job search process and lack of opportunities, hence, opting to opt out of the labor force all together. The huge spike in increase of part time employment from 2007-2010 in European countries shows the nature of involuntary employment that youths are employed in, just taking up whatever
that will enable them to build a decent career and future by any means. By taking these two factors into account the real youth unemployment problem seems much bleaker. Ireland for example, has an adjusting for decreasing participation rate in the could be as much as 19.3 percentage points higher. The trend in youth unemployment has been creeping on us slowly, well before this great recession. The youth unemployment rate was
was becoming a real problem but those magicians at the central banks waved their magical monetary wands and made it disappear. However, like every good disappearing magic trick it must reappear. The underlying problem is that productivity growth especially in the U.S., over the last decade has increased. Companies mainly increased their productivity by decreasing their inputs namely labor to maintain competitiveness. Hence, companies obligations. Recently, in the most developed nations, growth in productivity has decreased due to weaken demand for goods and services in the global economy. So we now have a situation where the
global economy is struggling to absorb all these new young and eager workers entering the workforce. The bottom line is that there are just too few jobs to go around. A growing sense of frustration and anger is rising amongst the youths of today not just in developing countries but in developed countries as well. Students and young people are taking to the streets to voice their growing frustration and sometimes even resulting in violence. To work you need to a college degree but that has gotten more expensive with less guarantee it will get you a decent job. It almost gives a picture of no hope to the current generation. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “ Every generation needs a revolution” and this generation is in desperate need of one to restore hope and aspiration.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote,“EVERY GENERATION NEEDS A REVOLUTION,” and this generation is in desperate need of one to restore hope and aspiration.
The answer may well lie in letting the youths take control of their own destiny through entrepreneurship. By creating more young entrepreneurs, they create jobs for themselves and others. Universities and governments have an important role in creating this new breed of entrepreneurs. Universities need to update their model of education; no longer will it just be a place where new ideas are fostered but also a place where it can be executed. Universities will be the new breeding grounds for entrepreneurs, fostering an ecosystem that will enable young entrepreneurs need to cut the unnecessary red tape and provide assistance by funding entrepreneurship courses to kickstart a change of mindset. The good news is governments, universities and even private companies are already planting the seeds to solve this problem by promoting entrepreneurship. Though entrepreneurs alone will not completely solve this problem but they will be a huge factor in solving it.
Election 2012: Budget by Edgar Rincon
The theorist Carl von Calueswitz once said, “War is politics by other means. And politics is economics by other means.” Therefore, in order to have a thorough understanding of American politics and the full implications of the 2012 presidential election,
Taking into account Americans who are underemployed, stopped reporting to the labor department for assistance, and are no longer eligible to receive unemployment insurance, the real unemployment rate is roughly at 17%. Many of the Democrats in Washington blame lay the blame of this on the previous administration as well as the current Republican House that refuses to works with them. Much of the GOP blames President Obama and his policies that they see as having too many regulations on businesses as well as too high of a tax rate on top earners. The fact of the matter is that both parties, as usual, are nearly completely wrong. While the Democrats do have a point in laying blame on the obstructionism of Republicans in both the House and Senate, the Bush administration is far from the sole culprit for today’s depression-like economy. Much of the deregulation on American manufacturing that once employed much of the middle class began with President
Jimmy Carter. This would eventually lead to the deindustrialization of the 1970s and 1980s that left millions unemployed, weakened Unions, and transformed America from a nation of production with surpluses to a nation of consumption in debt. institutions when he removed the Glass-Steagal Act, which served as a barrier between commercial and investment banks. This would eventually lead to the tech bubble that burst in early 2001 and would then give rise to the housing bubble who’s effect is still being felt today. Republicans who criticize President Obama over high taxation and regulation are just as wrong. The corporate tax rate is at an all time low at around 20%, the lowest in U.S. history. While at the same every quarter by outsourcing jobs and laying off Americans. Republicans also claim that there is
point to the Dodd-Frank Bill. As a result of heavy lobbying by banks and hedge funds, the bill has been so watered down that it cannot even allow for the regulation of derivative trading that laid the base With November only nine months away,
both President Obama and front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have offered voters President Obama has offered a Jobs Bills to repair our infrastructure, tax incentives for the return of outsourced manufacturing jobs, and a desire to cultivate alternative forms of energy here in the states. While his intentions are no doubt sincere, like his Healthcare bill, they simply do not go far enough. It is hard to imagine Obama funding solar panels on a large scale when one of his major campaign donators is ExxonMobil and BP. How can he increase taxes on the top 2% when his academic advisors (all former executives on Wall Street) are responsible for helping convince him to extend the Bush-Tax cuts? And if the late-Steve Jobs preferred child labor in China to that of Americans, how will any other company who’s revenues are less than that of Apple do different? The Republican nominees don’t offer anything better. In fact, their solutions are worse. They want to dramatically increase the military budget and support a war with Iran that will not only increase our debt, but will waste trillions of more tax-payer money on the murder of civilians while increasing America’s disdain abroad. They also want to do away with unemployment insurance
and food stamps at a time when 1 in 6 Americans are now living below the poverty line. They believe cutting taxes for the small number of wealthy Americans while increasing it for the majority of struggling Americans will result in massive employment. Voters are therefore left with no choice representatives are in the pockets of those who done by shopping in small businesses that hire at a much higher rate than multinational corporations. Buying products made in the USA rather than China will also help keep investment in America. Both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are giving rise the possibility of a viable third party for the 2014 elections where politicians who truly represent the people can go to Washington. So while this recession the hard work of the many, for the many, to get us out.
Youth Programs by Lyndsay Hall The American Red Cross, recognizable by its timeless red plus-sign style logo, is a humanitarian aid foundation formed in 1881. Led by volunteers, the organization provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education; recently, the with their work in Haiti and the success of their blood transfusions helping sickle cell patients. The Red Cross Youth Program, a program under this prestigious and worldwide name, aims to empower their young volunteers by mobilizing them toward projects on both a local and global ground. The ultimate goal, one they strive toward diligently, is to, “[provide] structure for youth to develop tangible leadership skills and engage youth in community service while they grow intellectually and embrace humanitarian values,” Amelia Aubourg, youth programs director for the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts, said. “The goal is to grow our youth volunteer corps and build up our network of clubs to execute the mission of the American Red Cross.”
By the numbers, the Red Cross Youth Program has over 1,100 youth in their corps, 23 High School Red Cross Clubs and 9 College Red Cross Clubs, of which Harvard University is a member. The Harvard Red Cross holds events on campus such as their familiarized and popular blood drives, as well as a variety of fundraisers. With the intent of expansion in mind, “we are working to grow our volunteer corps and to build our college and high school network so that we have more presence in all 190 cities and towns that we serve,” Aubourg explains. Recent global tragedies have stricken the grounds been deemed traumatic disasters claiming lives of many. These circumstances have proven to be an opportunity for the Red Cross programs to build are inspired by the causes. “[They] want to be a part of the action and a part of making the situation better for those impacted through disasters,” Aubourg said.
The American Red Cross has gained its esteemed reputation based on its continual extension of hope during times of need. They are known for their prompt reaction time and mission of relief and humanitarianism. “We are lucky that our supporters gravitate towards that and always support us because of it,” said Aubourg about the thousands involved with the corps and the constant wave of assistance in the Red Cross during devastating times. “We continue to be there and be present and have really grown our fundraising initiatives. There are a number of ways you can give your time, talent or treasure.”
To become involved with The American Red Cross, through the background check procedure and interests. “The best thing about volunteering at the Red Cross,” Aubourg begins, “is that you meet a vast array of people and you can give as much or as little time.”
8 Ps of Successful
Entrepreneurs PRESSURE As I spend most of my days working with
in their dorm room to the 65-year old
spend the next 25 pages dissecting this
PERSONALITY my opinion personality is a great indicator of
had weaknesses and areas of potential
“ THERE WAS NEVER REALLY A MOMENT FOR ME. I JUST STARTED AND NEVER STOPPED. ” When would you say you had that “Eureka” moment and decided to pursue photography? There was never really a moment for me. I just started and never stopped.
You are a young, talented, and driven photographer. What made you adapt video and retouching as part of your talents?
Was it your love for automobiles that sparked photography? or was it the love for photography that sparked the love for cars?
What is your educational background?
How did you break into your “medium”? What did
What is the role of digital technology in your work? Do you bemoan the loss of traditional photographic techniques, or welcome the power Is there any previous work as a photographer that you have done that you’d like to mention here?
What’s up next in your career? Are there any photographers whose current work you’re particularly impressed by?
What trends in photography, and the visual arts in general, do you think are going to emerge and
How would you describe the relationship between photography and other visual arts, such as painting
Street Style in London Town
Photo Credit: Lamir Photography
My adventures in:
Whenever I looked at maps growing up, one thing that always sparked my inquisitiveness was the great expanse of the Eurasian continent that consisted of post-Soviet republics ending in â€“stan. Otherwise known as Central Asia, this landlocked region is little known amongst most people and has often been an area that few outsiders have ventured to with intent to explore. In recent years however, the largest of these countries gained fame for the wrong reasons when Hollywoodâ€™s pseudo-Kazakh, Borat, starred in a film geared towards portraying a stereotype that could not be more inaccurate.
In recent years however, the largest of these countries gained fame for the wrong reasons when Hollywood’s pseudo-Kazakh, Borat, starred in a could not be more inaccurate. The reality is that Kazakhstan is home to an array of ethnicities, some incredible natural landscapes, and has prospered in recent times due to its vast possession of hydrocarbon resources. Ranking as ninth largest country, the distances one must undergo to travel throughout here are great. Yet, when crossing the vast steppe that previous generations of nomadic tribes and Mongol conquerors once roamed, you start to realize how unique your experience is in a country that few people take on the initiative to backpack through.
nation’s largest city and former-capital of Almaty, once known as Alma Ata during the days of the Soviet Union. Flying in from the south offered views of the majestic Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. This highlands region stretches all the
way to the outskirts of Almaty and would later be the source of several days’ enjoyment for me with snow trekking and skiing. After clearing customs with my Kazakhstani tourist visa, which I had obtained from the embassy in Washington DC, I hailed an old Russian Lada taxi in the sub-freezing temperatures to take me to Almaty’s center. Driving economic success this nation had come about, as I rode pass glitzy shopping areas, newly constructed business buildings and high-end European cars. Though this country paid off its IMF debts and is regarded as the most economically-advanced in Central Asia, I could not help but to think about the existing regime and the accounts of corruption that are notorious across the former Soviet block. After arriving at a decades-old apartment block where I could cheaply rent out a room, I paid the driver with the elaborately designed Tenge currency and trudged through the winter snow to the entrance. An old babushka, whom anticipated my prearranged arrival, took me to my rental unit and introduced me to ‘home’. The room was very simple
and sported the amenities of another generation’s comfort. As I had my own kitchen, a small tub to wash up in, an antique television that broadcasted the state-run stations, and a priceless view from the window of the snowcapped Tian Shan peaks, I told the women in broken Russian that I would happily accept the offer and paid a week’s worth winter clothes and was set to explore this interesting country where travelers are still a rare breed. My schedule for the next few weeks would be consistent of a week-long stay in Almaty before embarking on a train journey to cover the great distances across the Kazakh steppe and desert. On the way I had hopes of visiting the Silk Road’s ancient town of Turkestan, the town of Aral’sk (which became victim to one of the Soviet Union’s biggest environmental disasters) Russian frontier. Once renown as being the “City of Apples” during the Russian Empire, my exploration in ornamental Zenkov Cathedral, a beautiful structure which rivals the decor of St. Basil’s in Moscow. As I walked along the wide streets and amongst modern architecture, the diverse ethnic mixture of the population that brushed shoulders with of immigrants that were encouraged to partake in the Virgin Lands Campaign, an agricultural reform initiated by Khrushchev during the time that Kazakhstan was regarded as a Soviet Socialist Republic. Though the gorgeous Tian Shan mountains lied in the backdrop, I could not help but to notice the fumes that outlying factories and old vehicles spewed into the formation of a cloud hovering over much of Almaty, quite visible when
was the Tsarist-era church famous for surviving an earthquake in 1911 despite being built of only wood and nails. With great attempt to escape the negative temperatures, I paid my tribute through means of lighting a few candles under the Orthodox murals
and chandelier. The man next to me whispered a long prayer in Russian, followed by a kiss on the golden icon of Christ. Walking back out into the cold air, I made my way to the other end of the park with an imposing structure built to commemorate the World War II victims who fell to the Nazis outside of Moscow. While the memorial, consistent of busts of the soldiers and accompanying plaques in Cyrillic writing, were covered in a blanket of snow, an winter’s air. Venturing out of the park, I walked in the direction of the Zelyony Bazaar to sample some of Almaty’s cuisine, which is reputably home to the most diverse range of eateries in all of Central Asia. Walking through this multi-level sprawl of vendors was overwhelming to the taste buds as Kazakhs, Russians, Tartars, Uyghurs, Koreans, Tajiks, and Uzbeks sell their exotic and mouth-watering dishes. While vigilant for pickpockets and corrupt police popular Kazakh dish of beshbarmak and broiled broth over noodles accompanied by a bowl of borscht on the side. Enjoying the delicious meal, which consisted of either horse or mutton meat, I left me up when I began traveling across the remote Kazakh steppe. Looking to gain social and political insight on this country, the next few days in Almaty preoccupied me as I visited attractions and interacted with the natives. I spent my time exploring museums housing archeological and cultural artifacts of Kazakhstan; this included Mongol weaponry, camel and horse gear, exotic costumes, and musical instruments. Shopping around in traditional markets, visiting mosques, sampling the nightlife and riding a cable car to a viewpoint over the city all made for my time in Almaty to be most interesting. With the bitter temperatures not impinging upon my exploration, I even spent several days in the Tian Shan Mountains south of Almaty, skiing at Chimbulak and snow trekking to glacial-fed lakes along the Kyrgyzstan border. Yet the best aspect of
my stay in Almaty was with the people I met; they ranged from university students to foreign investors, all of whom showed me around or hosted me for dinner to welcome me as a guest - preceding the traditional toast of vodka, of course. Leaving the comforts of a modern city behind, I took an uncomfortable night bus to the former Silk Road outpost of Turkestan. Traveling along the fringes of the great steppes, the bus passed through towns that were infamous hubs for South Asian narcotics and growing numbers of sympathizers to Islamic fundamentalism exported from neighboring Uzbekistan. As the sun began to rise, the very lonely sight of a continual and snow-covered expanse greeted us. For hundreds of kilometers, the bus rode through the featureless plateau harboring no sight of civilization, with the exception of a tiny village of homes resembling nomadic yurts. While riding through a hailstorm, I witnessed out the fogged window, a herd of Bactrian camels trudging across the white desert - what a bizarre and surreal landscape that resembled never-ending tundra. By early afternoon, the bus, full of hungry and formerly a Silk Road commercial town and Central Asiaâ€™s principle center of learning amongst regional scholars. The most famous of these individuals, known as Khoja Ahmed Yassawi, was a revered throughout this part of the world. Several hundred years after his death, Timur, the fourteenth century
conqueror and founder of Central Asiaâ€™s Timurid dynasty, commissioned a great mausoleum towards his remembrance. It is this beautiful site made of tiled designs and brickwork that has attracted me to visit, as well as the thousands of Kazakh pilgrims who venture here annually with belief that three visits here in a lifetime is equivalent to one Hajj to Mecca. Following my check-in to a cheap hotel, I walked along some dusty roads and a grassy pathway that led to the mausoleum grounds, enjoying the warmer weather in this part of the desert. While watching all the pilgrims removing their shoes and covering their heads, I noticed the incredible tile work on the sides, the towering turquoise dome and a dried-up
courtyard that was once the place of a rose garden. I followed suit as the locals did and entered through the wooden doors into the structure, mimicking how they carry themselves so I would not stick out so much as an outsider. Analyzing the main rooms of the complex, I came across old Persian and Afghan carpets, decorated mihrabs, and the cold chamber of where Yassawi lied. Upon exiting, I took a walk to a museum located on the far side of the grounds where several Bactrian camels from the surrounding steppe had congregated. On display inside were yurt tents and the accessories of nomadic Mongols and Turkic tribes once used to transverse the Central Asian steppe. Animal skins hung off the sides, large trunks of goods and thick blankets that served as their only possessions sat vividly in color, and a staged representation of a family and their horses accompanied the tent. Another thing that caught my which consists of golden eagle and a blue backdrop that both represent a multitude of symbolic
elements ranging from an endless sky, cultural and ethnic unity, an abundance of grain, and power. The contents in the museum, the neighboring mausoleum and the religious pilgrims are all a living testament of Turkestan’s historical past and how it’s legacy throughout Central Asia lives on. The next point of interest for me in Kazakhstan is not one typically visited by many foreigners. Rather than bask at a seaside resort along the energy-rich Caspian Sea, I chose to do the complete opposite and witness one of the greatest and continually progressing environmental disasters in all of humanity: the shrinking of the Aral Sea. It was during the days of the Bolsheviks that Vladimir Lenin famously spoke in the port town of Aral’sk Russians in the revolution could eat. This was only the beginning mark towards the Aral Sea’s fate, as more devastating reforms in the existence of the Soviet Union took place. The agriculture and irrigation schemes implemented on Central Asia required diverting the waters from the Syr
-Darya and Amu-Darya rivers which fed into the Aral Sea, thus leading to the eventual massive drainage. Today the port towns along the former coastline in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan sit in a gloomy aftermath with deserted shipyards, rusted warehouses and abandoned vessels toppled
vehicles and giant satellite dishes. Similar to the United States leasing out Guantanamo Bay, the country of Kazakhstan currently leases out the Baikonur Cosmodrome to the Russians, a remnant of the Space Race and where the launches for Gagarin took place.
Environmental disasters like these were nothing instances such as the Chernobyl disaster and the unregulated nuclear testing in the Semipalatinsk Polygon (in present-day Kazakhstan), which all happened in the former CIS countries. The 16-hour train ride in third class from Turkestan to Aral’sk was not the most memorable of experiences. Highlights of this journey include the frozen wasteland with the occasional Bactrian camel, ushanka-wearing police administering desolate rail stations, and a diet of train station food consisting of bread, hot tea, cold potatoes, and borscht served in a plastic cup. Before arriving in Aral’sk, our train passed in a restricted area dotted by military
At last came the arrival to the frigid Aral’sk station, one that greeted me with a mural that commemorated Lenin’s inquiry in the early 1920s, as previously mentioned. Following an interrogation by corrupt police who were puzzled as to how an American ended up in such a lonely outpost, I was released several dollars poorer, only to walk along the snowy road into town for a check-in at the only shocked to witness the once-thriving town in its cranes loomed over an empty and silent harbor. Walking out atop the spongy sand into the old harbor, to a point that was once several meters below sea level, was eerily disturbing. Following
traces of the mass relocation efforts by the Soviets were ever-present with a Korean restaurant looking like the only viable option for dinner. That evening, I hired a driver to take me the next day in his Soviet UAZ-469, a vehicle tough enough to endure the rough terrain of the old sea bed, to the new shoreline of the Aral Sea and what is regarded by locals as the “ship’s cemetery.” After a night of sub-freezing temperatures in an unheated hotel, a driver picked me up for our journey across the former seabed. Hours of bumping villages brought about depressing thoughts of what had happen here. Remains of old sea life lied frozen on the ground and a sandy crust from the high salinity receding tides crushed under our jeep’s tires. continued onwards to the site of congregated ship halls that had been rusted out from the winter’s brutal Siberian winds heading south and the scorching temperatures of the summer. My driver was insistent on himself staying warm in the car as I went out to explore the most vivid traces of this disaster zone. Taking shelter from the freezing wind, I climbed inside one of the toppled vessels and explored a historical remnant of what used to help sustain the food source of the United State’s
former adversary. As I made my way onto the deck, the sight of a dozen snow-covered Bactrian camels watching me from a distance reinforced the bizarreness of a faraway land of which I had ventured. Though I was several days worth of travel from the nearest comforts found back home, I continued my journey onwards from Aral’sk to the commercial hub of Aktobe adjacent to the Russian border. In recent years, multinational oil and gas companies have built up their empires in this town that I later successfully explored. While seeking to understand Aktobe’s expanding development in the energy sector, I could further apply this to the recent competitiveness Kazakhstan as a whole has achieved in comparison to neighboring countries and of those in the global arena. Having the chance to travel here, especially as a university student, was on regional issues that dominate the front lines of international relations, as well as providing me with cultural immersion into a region that few outsiders are versed in. With future hopes of returning to this area, I look forward to exploring some of the other -stans that I have not visited and further expanding my knowledge on this region.
The Life of a Chef:
a night on the line
by Chef Robin Little
You’re in a world of your own, attempting to diffuse t MONTH 1: One evening, I was at home watching Iron Chef. The Iron Chef, Michael Simon, was presetting his succulent dishes for the panel. One of the judges (who will remain nameless) commented that she was unaware that something as basic as a consommé was so tedious to prepare — it can be noted that it takes three days to make it correctly. It was then that it dawned on me: most do not recognize the time, effort, stress and occasional tears that go into something as simple as a consommé, nor do they comprehend the type of person that desires and subsequently perseveres when put into an environment as hostile as that of a professional kitchen. Throughout my career I have seen cooks come and go — some with not much for talent, as well as some with more talent than they had been aware of but, as the cliché would go, only the strong survive. You can sink or swim but in the professional Kitchen brigade (that is what it is called; you will understand why later on), there is no such thing as sinking: you sink, you stress, worrying that your job is on the line and that you need to your co-workers are as occupied as you. MONTH 2: Imagine this, if you will: you’re in the middle of service with tables coming in faster than you can process, “order. New. Table 3. 6-top. 5-course.” Now, the hard part comes: you have to remember everything you must prepare without a copy to read, reliant on memory alone, along with the other twenty-odd tables already on the board and new orders coming in with no with rhetoric, asks, “yes?” to assure everyone understands what “Yes, chef.” At this point, though, you are glancing in your oven ture requests, placed in the oven at various times. You begin poking at them to see where they are in the cooking process. The chef is waiting, impatiently by now, for your reply, asking a second time, “Yes?” but you still do not respond. You’re in a world of your own, attempting to diffuse this ticking time bomb of meat in your oven.
ticking time bomb of meat cooking in your oven.
Now, you’re anxious; the sweat drips, seconds feel like minutes and you can feel your heart racing within your chest. You’re on the verge of panic, and Chef yells your name. Your immediate, ill-thought answer? A hollered response, “What?” He slams his hand down on the counter, peering into your eyes. “Excuse me?” he asks, staring at you as if with eyes like lazars. He calls you over to sternly ask if you are ok. Finally you mutter the response he has been waiting for this entire time: “Yes, chef.” He then reminds you: if you can’t handle the pressure, then he will take over. The temptation to ask for his help is growing as the thought of baking meats in the oven plague your mind, but as a result, his respect and trust in you will dissipate; everyone will see it as a weakness and you will feel the guilt of letting someone down. “No, chef, I’m good,” you tell him and return to your workstation. The meat still has customers to go to, it is reaching only 7:00 p.m. and you have been at work for nine hours already – only six more to go. As you take in one breath you hear, one strip mid well.” MONTH 3: You’re drenched in sweat, feeling on the verge of losing your lunch – mind you, it’s lunch from yesterday, as you have not had the capability age yourself, “Pull it together!” You look over at Chef and see that he is angrily heading towards your station. Noting his accelerated panic, you stick your head in the oven as a deterrent to stop him – anything to stop him. As he approaches, your head in the oven still, it clicks; you grab the meat and look at him with a smile. “I got it!” you announce. In his frustration he responds, “Then put it up!” Four hours pass; the night is over and you are happy to have pulled it off. You ask Chef how things went on his hand, believing he would share in the happiness, but, trailing away from you, he grumbles, “Not tomorrow after an already 16-hour day. MONTH 4: No matter what happens, it goes without say that you must always be polite, courteous and respectful. In this industry, if you lose your cool, snap back or reply in a manner that Chef deems disrespectful, you’ll be kicking post all night. If you’re angry, you’re upset, your feelings are
lose your cool…you’ll be kicking post all night.
hurt; if you are naming a handful of bad things and then curse their names in your head to make you feel better as you await the night’s inevitable end; but then Chef offers a “good job” compliment to you and gives you advice for improvement, your mood shifts. You think, “Wow, I thought I did such a bad job.” Chef speaks up: “Hey, just remember you’re learning, but there are no mistakes in learning. Don’t take it personal. It’s about the customer and making sure they are taken care of. The stress, the yelling and the sometimes-harsh words are never meant to hurt. They’re intended to make you push yourself and prove to yourself you can do it. My actions cause you to be better. Now clean up and get out of here. We will see you tomorrow.”
Just remember, you’re
there are no mistakes in
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