Jan 7, 2009

by special request i'll be blogging my way through my experience in culinary school, documenting, commenting, and analyzing my experiences for those of you who are interested. culinary school confidential. secrets of a culinary student. culinary student rant. whatever you want to call it.

i'm just taking one class this quarter to kick everything off - intro to professional cookery. i have class two days a week for 5 hours each, consisting of a short lecture followed by 3-4 hours of kitchen time. i'll have this basic techniques class for 5 weeks, then we'll switch to the soups, stocks and sauces class with the same instructor for the next 5 weeks.

so, week one. my program is geared towards working professionals, and my fellow students consist of about 23 people from all different backgrounds who are all there for very different reasons. we have people like me who just love to cook and want to make a career out of it, retirees, a flavor scientist, dog hotel owner, hair salon owner, lots of finance people, a journalist, personal trainer and a slew of others. most of this week consisted of introductions, getting acquainted with the facilities and equipment we'll be working with, culinary history, and basic knife cuts. we've done julienne, brunoise, battonet, small and medium dice, rondelles, pommes frites, and tourne, to celery, onion, leeks, potato and carrots. i am learning knife skills that i will likely never duplicate in real life (a tourne is the most useless thing you can do to a potato, in my opinion, not to mention there are machines that produce a much more consistent cut than i ever could), but i'm glad i'm learning them. and i've proven to be pretty consistent with my knife, producing "beautiful" dices and rondelles, according to our assistant chef. and although i've gotten the knife motion down, the tourne needs some practice. anyone want to come over for a potato dinner anytime soon?

my french chef instructor, chef pierre, has started off a little easy on us, but i'm sure he's going to become more of a hard ass as the quarter moves on. he's got a great sense of humor and really seems passionate about our education. he is also passionate about recycling and being environmentally conscious, having us recycle every peel of potato for compost, every imperfect cut of vegetable for stock, and all of the more consistent cuts for use in the cafeteria. i am pleased to know that none of our practice is going to waste.

so i have survived my first week of class. i was anxious about how i would fit in, if wondered if i would know immediately if i was doing the right thing or not. well, i do fit in, and after one week i know i'm doing exactly the right thing for me. i already have the rudimentary skills, passion, determination and discipline, and i am eager and excited about everything, no matter now basic it seems, that i am learning. my right shoulder hurts and i've only cut myself once, sliding my knife into my kit. but everthing is perfect.


Hillary said...

sounds awesome.
you gotten used to the uniform yet?

emyduck said...

no! it is so unflattering. i'll write a post all about it. :)