Friday, January 7, 2011


     "Advanced culinary principles" aka "advanced", was a much more comfortable setting, we had a group of only ten to twelve people.  I could actually breath easy in this class and felt much more confident in my skills.  I was squeamish about the fact that a couple of the students I'd had hostile encounters with in previous classes ended up here as well, I deduced that the only way to avoid them would be to change my schedule and that was not going to happen.  I swallowed hard and braced myself for third quarter.

       Again math was on the agenda, "I can't seem to escape it can I?" I thought, no, no, I actually said it out loud in class.  It wasn't so hard, although I had to miss a couple of days of school due to work ......  Anyway, I got through most of the week of math and was ready to cook.  Chef/Instructor this quarter seemed a little "wet behind the ears" if you will, as he was new and my classmates and myself finally agreed on one thing, he confused us.  As the weeks went by Chef seemed to have gathered himself together and that helped us immensely, we now felt as though the lessons were quality and we were actually learning something.   The arrogant attitude from days gone by veered it's ugly head once again, I was sick of it and when one of my classmates accused me of losing our bechamel sauce, we had it out (verbally), she quickly backed off when she realized she had placed it on a burner on the far side of the room, excusing herself by saying the Chef had put it there......  I calmed down very quickly, after all this was my dream and she was not going to ruin it.  She spent the rest of the evening mumbling that she was quitting, I told her to stop talking shit and move on.   She's still in school.

       My favorite part of this quarter was when someone I'll call the "whiner" complained after each and every lab day, he says things in the kitchen could've gone better if this or that, I'd slump in my seat and revert to better days in my head until chef spoke, because the way I see it is if your having a problem in the kitchen now, you should address it now, not wait for the next day.   I think what saved my sanity was the arrival of a male classmate I'll call DB, we got along well in first quarter and have done so since, I think I can actually dub him my first male friend, just friend nothing more, he has some kitchen experience and has been a great help to me, especially in first quarter.  DB is a kitchen rebel, does what he wants and that's FINAL!  I do get a kick out of watching others' reactions when he takes something on without consulting, he always managed to get a rise out of whiner. 

Prime Rib

   Master of searing I am!  Turns out that when the group had to sear Leslie "brought it", (exhibiting no arrogance), but damn!  I seared and finished in the oven like nobodys' business.  Now I am not saying that arrogance is a horrible thing especially for a chef, I mean look at Escoffier, he was said to be a great guy but he was obviously arrogant, in his eyes, unless he physically trained a chef on his line, that chef was no good, he wanted perfection and with good reason, he was the "king of chefs".  I think future chefs should strive to be like him, cook and cook right, that's all I want and I will persevere.  My rack of lamb with persillade was perfect as was the potroast as per the chef himself, everyone raved over them and it clicked in my head that maybe I was actually going to be a "great" chef.

      The cleaning of the kitchen is a ritual that takes place every lab day, we must insure all dishes, pots, pans etc... are cleaned and stored, floors swept and washed, ovens cleaned and tables sanitized, lab days are indeed grueling, however, these days, the cooking aspect barely affects me, I enjoy it and I think mostly I enjoy the satisfied look on my classmates faces when they eat something I prepared.  As a test to prove to myself I have become strong and confident in the kitchen, I decided that on the last day of lab third quarter, I was going take the main ingredient of what I wanted to prepare without consulting with my peers and execute the recipe, whether they liked it or not.  And so it was, although whiner had an issue with it, I ignored and pulled it off, it's what happens in culinary school kitchens it was pulled on me and now I am strong enough to do it and risk failing without fear.  After all you know what they say "when in Rome"......

       Besides the wonderful cooking lessons learned in "Advanced" there's one more thing I will always remember because it made me laugh and I'm not sure the "players" actually realize what they said was funny.  We were preparing a pork tenderloin that evening and someone shouts out "DB where's your loin?"  "It's right here on the table" he responds annoyed, I digress.......

     Have a wonderful day, will post again very soon, take care.
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