The first time culinary student Ron Gaj is instructed to cut up a whole chicken into precise parts, he confidently moves forward with the surgical procedure. By the time he has finished the task, his chicken looks like it has just gone through a wood chipper. And so begins the zany odyssey of a sexagenarian who has just mistakenly entered the world of culinary arts thinking the learning experience will be a culmination of creating elegant fare while engaging in casual conversation and sipping a glass of wine. He could not have been more wrong.
Approaching retirement means different things to different people, but to sixty-something Gaj, who had always loved to cook, it meant trying something new—culinary school. As he details his often hilarious journey through the world of culinary arts with a cast of characters who seemed better groomed for reform school, Gaj provides a glimpse into how he sharpened his rudimentary cooking skills through weeks of chopping, dicing, boiling, sautéing, and participating in the solution of simple math problems that were treated like quantum physics—ultimately becoming a braver soul in the kitchen.
Purple Chicken shares one man’s entertaining foray into the often unpredictable world of culinary arts as he learns to produce delectable creations and discovers the unexpected.
Ron Gaj is the owner and president of a technology consulting firm that has served the lodging, gaming, and restaurant industries for the past thirty years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering. Because of his love for cooking, he took a sabbatical and enrolled in culinary school, graduating at the age of sixty-three. Ron lives in Illinois.