A Day in the Life of a Culinary Student: The First Day

Today is the first day of culinary school. Well, it’s not my first day in the program, but it is the first day of Quantity Food Production I. The class where we finally learn how to cook.

When I walked into the classroom I had no idea what to expect, but boy was I looking forward to it.  At 45 pursuing a 2nd degree, and looking at a possible career change feels somewhat overwhelming. I was happy to see that I wouldn’t be the only student my age.

Chef is pretty funny.  She shared a bit of her background with us and explained that being a chef is very rewarding, but the hours are long, and the work is hard. We took a quick tour of the kitchen, which is brand spanking new, and went over safety and sanitation. The campus is only 5 months old, so lots of new and cool stuff to see.

We went around the room and introduced ourselves to the rest of the class and talked about what made us decide to pursue this program. Todays’ lecture was on the history of culinary, and it’s founding fathers. It was both interesting and informative. I wasn’t expecting to brush up on my french, but it’s definitely an added benefit. When the lecture was over we headed back down to the kitchen. We played food bingo to break the ice, put everything away, and then we walked the kitchen getting to know where everything was. After all, we need to learn to practice Mise en Place, Everything in its Place.

Our stations are pretty snazzy, but the burners use electric induction heat which makes me kind of sad because I love me some gas. However, I’m kind of glad because I really don’t want to be that one that gets burned in class and has to complete an incident report. The cool thing with these burners is you can place your hand on them (by accident of course) and not immediately get burned. They also provide fast,(did I say fast) heat and simmering due to the type of heat which is provided by an electromagnetic field instead of using radiant heat. It also stays cooler than a regular cook top making spills easier to clean up quickly without getting burned.  The downside is you need special pots and pans made specifically to work on that type of burner, which can be a bit expensive, and they’re also heavier. Well, for me anyway, but that might just be the carpal tunnel talking.

One of the things I love about the class is it gives me an excuse to shop for new kitchen knives, tools, and gadgets. Like I don’t already do that! But no, seriously, I learned so much about the different tools, proper names, and terms for equipment. Is it a colander, strainer, or a china cap?

Next week we’ll be starting to cook, which I’m really excited for.  We’ll be making chicken, veal, fish, and vegetable stock, and will start working on our knife cuts. We need to have our recipes converted and ready for Chef to see when we line up.  I’m going to attempt to make a recipe template. My handwriting is pretty big, so I need a lot of space. I like the idea of having 5×7 recipe cards versus the standard 3×5, or 4×6. If it works out I’ll share it for you to download.

The Broad