Feb 10, 2009

last night was my first culinary school exam. we completed our introduction to professional cookery course, culminating in a half written and half practical exam. as chef was grading my dice, battonet, and tournet, he looked up and raised his eyebrows. "zees are pretty good, em-ay-lee," he said as he turned the tournets around in his hands. he checked the length of my battonet, fingered through my onion dice, giving me the maximum points for each. he then spent about 30 seconds scrutinizing my medium dice of potato. "i have to find somesing here. nobody is perfect. not even me." as he scribbled a 19/20 next to the medium dice on my grading sheet. 20/20 for professionalism and i walked away with a 99%. that coupled with missing one question on the written exam means i walk away with an A. so that's that.

after 5 weeks of classes i've realized that this program is not exactly the most intense program i could be enrolled in - chef pierre is not very hard on us. i expected to be cutting mounds and mounds of potatoes, having chef tell me to try again because they weren't PERFECTLY square, but that hasn't been the case. he's content if we can just understand and implement the gist of the technique or concept. i go back and forth between wishing he was more of a hard ass on us and being thankful that i don't have to spend hours upon hours studying and worrying that i'm not memorizing the acidity levels of different grapes and practicing my knife skills until i have blisters.

the good news: i'm learning a lot. the bad news: i'm realizing i will never learn it all, but i'm coming to terms with that. it's probably ok. even the best chefs don't have their brains wrapped around EVERYTHING. they specialize in one thing or another, they spend their time trying to learn everything they need to make one cuisine or technique perfect. i need to do some culinary soul searching about what my concentration will be. i've dabbled around and have become decent at a wide range of techniques and cuisines, but not great at one. i have this rennaisance man complex, i need to be able to at least make one item from every category, and i need to maybe let some of them go. this is going to take more practice.

1 comment:

Hillary said...

congrats on finishing your first class!