March 6, 2009

Recollection: On starting culinary school

I sometimes wish that I had started my food blog when I started culinary school. I've always been a big fan of journals or diaries. Mostly because it allows one to look back at their old lives and see how they have grown and changed. I would have loved to see how my cooking improved through school and to log all my experiences. I've had quite a few interesting things happen.

I remember during the culinary orientation,a very nice gentleman sat next to me and he talked about his love for food and cooking. He told me what his specialty was (sauces) and asked me what mine was. (note: I hate that question. My usual answer is 'everything'. The convo gets over faster that way) This guy really had a passion for food or at least he could talk it up really well. When the Dean spoke, he said that not everyone would make it through the program. He said that maybe only 30 in the room would graduate. Of course I thought it was crazy at the time, but now I see that he was right. The guy turned to me and said," I'm really nervous now. I hope I make it." To which I said, "ehh,don't worry about it. You obviously have a passion for food. As long as you work hard, you'll make it." He quit after the first lab.

My first culinary lab was quite interesting. It was called 'professional cooking techniques I.' It was a class of about 8 students,give or take a few. That class was a blast. We had two instructors on different days. A woman and a man. The woman sported a very cool, blonde pixie cut and laid back attitude. She was a great cook, a great teacher, and she remains to be my favorite chef. She also happened to be a vegetarian who cared about animal rights, but loved a bloody ribeye every now and then. I love that lady. The man was a fairly young and fairly attractive classically trained chef. He was a very cool guy and very laid back. Needless to say, my basic class was enjoyable. I'd go into the personalities of my classmates, but it would make this post much longer than it would need to be.

I will talk about Slash tho. Slash is just a nickname that we gave him within the first 3 days of class. I'm sure you can pick up on why he was named that. The first week of basic consists of knife skill drills. We basically go through the classical cuts; julienne,fine brunoise, tourne,etc. We also learn how to make ten different kinds of potato soup and mashed potatoes. ;) Anyways,back to slash. It was sometime in the middle of class when we heard someone gasp and a knife clang down on a cutting board. This particular gentleman cut himself. He bandaged it up and finished on with the class. The next lab, he was absent because he had to go to the hospital to get it stitched up. I guess he cut really deep. On Wednesday, he was back and bandaged. We were doing knife skill drills again when we heard a gasp and a laugh. Oh no, who cut themselves now? Oh,same guy. This time, he didn't cut so deep. He will now and forever be known as Slash. In fact, I've forgotten his real name now.

4 comments:

Angie  said...

hmm.... was Mr. Slash flirting with gals around while working on a cutting board?
Fall in love with the hospitality career is easy, but to keep the passion going and growing is bloody difficult. It's a love-hate thing. Having an interest in the kitchen is one thing, and working as a professional chef is another thing....it's hard. To meet, keep and to improve the satisfaction of the customers, management, and owners is always your priority........monthly promotions, marketing, sales, cost-control, budget, etc. etc. etc. just think of them already brings me a headache.

Maggie said...

I think there is a big difference between people who are passionate about food and those willing to put the work into cooking professionally. Hats off to you for making it through to the end.

oysterculture said...

I think my nickname would be slash and burn.

Agree with Maggie, congrats on working your way through a challenging program and dealing with all the other "fun" stuff that goes along with it, the hard work, lack of funds, time commitment that are necessary to meet the end goal.

Nila Rosa said...

Angie: Funny that you say that because slash was pretty flirtatious.

maggie and oysterculture: Thank you. It was definitely tough. I had my moments where I hated the profession, but at the end of the day, I love it. I love the stress and how everything moves fast. It's peaceful.

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