On Monday, October 23rd, I am teaching a wine seminar to the trainee chefs at Le Cordon Bleu, Ottawa.
It’s funny how this opportunity arose. The week before I connected with the cooking school, I had attended a wine tasting with my good friend. It had been a very tasty evening and the Sommelier was very knowledgeable. However, the presentation was a little serious for my liking. I just wanted to inject a big dose of fun into night.
I thought to myself, ‘It would be so fabulous to host a wine class, be paid and make it super fun’…
Be careful what you wish for, right?!
So, I am now in preparation mode for my big debut at Ottawa’s premiere classical French cooking institution. I am grateful for the opportunity and am excited to share my passion for wine and food with the students.
There are two other Sommeliers’ also contributing and teaching at the school this semester. They are both very knowledgeable and experienced; and they both currently work in the industry. My focus since moving to Ottawa has been coaching and speaking, so right off the bat, I subconsciously positioned myself as inferior to these individuals.
So, when one of these Sommeliers (who I have never met) questioned (in an email) my choice of wine for my class to taste, I automatically got triggered. I immediately felt criticised (even though this person raised a valid concern) and quickly fell into defense mode, wanting to justify myself and quell my sneaking suspicion that I was an outright fraud.
Who the hell am I to be teaching about wine? French wine and cuisine is the pinnacle of the culinary world; my experience lays more in the new world, with an obvious leaning towards New Zealand and Australian wines. I don’t have any experience in the Ottawa wine industry. Should I just get one of the other more experienced Sommeliers to take my class?
Ha! Did you see what I did there?
I started writing an email reply, justifying my reasoning and choices for my class and then… I stopped. Remember, that I’ve never met this individual and my interpretation of what they wrote was mine to own. The email was just words and it was me who placed the meaning on those words, based on my own subconscious conditioning around not being good enough, not having credibility and not being ‘experienced’ enough (whatever that means)!
So instead of replying to the email, I acknowledged where my thoughts and feelings were coming from and I made the decision to let them go. Not particularly gracefully, I should add; I definitely continued to question and justify in my head. However, nowhere near to the same extent that I used to. I am a Woman In Progress!
The upshot of this whole experience was, I have since met with the Head Chef and the other Sommelier to go over our class plans. Face to face, we had a discussion about my choice of wine for my class to taste. We all agreed that I had made the right choice, for various reasons.
Just like life; wine is incredibly subjective and open to interpretation. For a moment (okay, maybe several moments) I allowed someone else’s subjective, yet valid opinion send me down a rabbit hole of self-doubt and defensiveness. To what end?
For goodness sake, I have an internationally recognised intermediate and advanced wine qualification! I know I am a good speaker and teacher. No one would dare argue with my passion for wine and food.
What a waste of energy! Yet, in reality, absolutely nothing is wasted. The ultimate outcome is another great lesson in owning my worth and following my passions, notwithstanding any pesky doubts or fears that arise. Because, until those doubts or fears are bought to the surface, they can’t be dealt with.
So, wish me luck for my upcoming class. All I can do is my absolute best and I’m excited to finally put my wine qualification to good use in my new city. By remaining open to possibility and not selling out to fear and self-doubt, I am extremely well positioned for amazing opportunities and connections to unfold from this experience. ~ Sally G, Qualified Sommelier!
PS For those of you wondering, yes, I will still be on my detox when I host my class; but won’t I look so professional spitting rather than adopting my usual guzzle!?!