One Week Down – Only 47 To Go!

Well I finally made it to the end of week one of culinary school.  Only 47 more to go.  It has been every bit as difficult as I imagined.  Not the classes necessarily but adapting to the schedule.  When I finally made it to the weekend, I collapsed in a heap of exhaustion.  Not wanting to go anywhere or do anything or talk to anyone.  I’m hoping that gets easier as I become more used to the early morning classes.

Once I’m awake though, I LOVE the crack-of-dawn routine.  It’s cooler out and the best part is that I’m out of class by 10:00 a.m. – still feeling like I have the entire day ahead of me.  It does make my days SEEM awfully long though since I get so much accomplished before noon.

The classes themselves have been fairly good.  For the first six weeks, I’m taking Culinary Foundations I and Food Safety and Sanitation.  Le Cordon Bleu teaches a curriculum of Classical French Cuisine.  When it comes to anything labeled “classical” or “french”, there is a lot for me to learn.  Sure, I’ve known for years how to chop or mince an onion but until last week, I never once knew that particular cut was called “cisceler”.  And when it’s come to chopping up everything else, I’ve not cared so much about having a perfect batonnet (1/4”x1/4”x2 1/2”) or an exact brunoise (1/8”x1/8’x1/8”).  For this week, the bane of my existence has been the tourne cut.  This is where you cut a vegetable (potato, carrot or such) into basically a 2” football with seven flat (not six, not five) sides and 3/4” ends.  One of my friends who has done all of this before and can frankly kick my butt with most anything cooking-related told me that she has a good selection of tourne knives – she kept thinking it was the knife’s fault.  This week, I plan to go through bags of potatoes until I finally get it right.  And I plan to buy a tourne knife.  It HAS to be the knife’s fault.

My chef-instructor is a great guy.  His first day as a teacher at LCB was my first day as a student.  Until this weekend, he, his pregnant wife, his seven-year-old daughter and his three-year-old daughter have lived in Steiner Ranch on the outskirts of Austin – so near where my sweet friend, Ronne lives and where I love to visit so often.  This job is bringing them all to the Dallas area.  Chef Pritchard has supervised many kitchens and owned a couple of his own restaurants as well.  He’s been in the “real world” for so long though that he’s a bit rusty on some of his classical terms and techniques as well.  From what I’ve been told by a guy who is repeating this class (yes, evidently not EVERYONE passes it the first time), we’re lucky to have him.  Since hearing his horror stories, I’m a bit more willing to laugh off his mix up of cisceler and emincer and his bad habit of forgetting to tell discuss topics that he then puts on the test – thinking that we’ve gone over it in class.

On Friday, I had a meeting with my career counselor.  Career counseling is a big thing at the school so they get you in quickly for that initial “interview”.  I was dreading the meeting.  Unlike many of the people there, I have no desire to work the line in a professional kitchen.  I have no urge to be the “face” of a hoity-toity restaurant.  And I have a tough time putting into words exactly what it is I want to do.  I need to be able to be creative.  I love to teach.  I like my days to have a beginning, a middle and an end.  I love the whole farm end of things, the slow food movement and I love seeing others become educated about food and how to use it to enhance their lives.  I love working with a small group of collaborators – not a strict hierarchy.  Especially not a hierarchy that I have no interest in climbing to the top of – that, for me, is the recipe for a dead-end job.  We talked about a lot of things and she didn’t seem particularly thrown.  She even planted the idea of teaching culinary arts at the high school level in my head.  That is a very appealing idea to me.  I have a huge heart for teenagers and I once was the “guest chef” at Lamar High School in Arlington.  It was an amazing experience and I loved every moment of it.  At my counselor’s suggestion, I’ll be attending the Texas Chef’s Association meeting on September 6th just to network a bit.  The possibilities are exciting.

On the home front, everyone is gearing up for back-to-school.  Collin starts high school tomorrow.  GAH!  He’s very excited to finally be getting there.  We had his 14th birthday “party” on Friday night.  I thought is was a perfect way for someone his age to celebrate.  Four of his favorite people over to play on the Xbox, eat a delicious sit-down dinner of his favorite foods on the good china and then a couple of board games with peach cobbler.  I was struck at how grown up the boys seemed during dinner – carrying on good, real, intelligent conversations much like we adults to at the table.  It was a great evening.

Today I’m planning to enjoy my quiet day of staying home and get ready to face week 2 head on.  There are chef coats to iron and flash cards to study.  It’s almost time for another week of being fearless.  I’ll catch you on the other side.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s