On February 15th I officially completed the classroom portion of my culinary school education. It began a mere eleven months ago with lectures on kitchen sanitation, knife skills and butchering and ended with the exposure and cooking techniques that were worth every Sunday night and 10:ooPM mealtime. Like any creative field, I feel you can’t teach someone how to make great art, but you can give them the knowledge and tools to get them started. And that’s exactly how I feel upon graduation. Everytime I step up to the burner it will be a new trial on my creativity and practicing what I have learned. I am by no means a chef, that comes with years of experience and running yourself into the ground a few times. However, I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘cook’ either because my education has taken me beyond the everyday kitchen. I’m somewhere in the middle and with more practice and experience my knowledge of food and cooking will grow and I’ll be somewhat of a master in the category, and I’m okay with that.
Some of the most important things (that are not techniques) I have learned, and will stick with me:
- Don’t be recipe driven, from Chef Anna While a recipe can give you a structure, it won’t tell your pan isn’t hot enough or help you troubleshoot when your chicken isn’t cooked through. You need to think a little!
- Keep your table clean, from Chef Chris At first, hearing someone scream this over and over can get a little annoying. But keeping a clean workstation will help you stay organized, and minimize clean-up in the end.
- Don’t expect to be an expert the first time, Chef Anna On more than one occasion I botched up the butchering of a fish or a fine julienne cut. Chef would ask have you ever filleted a Salmon before and I’d reply, no. And she’d reply in a loud cackle, ‘Well then I can’t expect you to be good at it the first time!”
I will not be completing the last portion of my education by fulfilling a externship in my area of choice. I have been accepted to work for Delish.com which is a Heart digital property. I have been there for a few weeks now and I am really loving it! Food editorial is definitely for me. One day maybe I’ll get back on the ground have a kitchen of my own, but until then, I’m happy being on the other end, and communicating food through words.