header-photo

The Classroom in the Kitchen

I have a confession. I’ve been telling you stories.Liar

For the most part these stories have been factual. The problem is the stories were one sided. My first term in culinary school is coming to a close and it is time for me to come clean about the things that go unsaid.

Part One: Confessions from the classroom in the kitchen
[SOURCE]
Day One: If your confidence is in any way associated with your appearance find another way to equip yourself. Not only will you be treated like “one of the guys”, you will begin to resemble one instantly.

Prepare to be stripped of every object or material that makes you an individual.
No long or fake nails. No nail polish. No facial piercings. No makeup. No loose hair. No exceptions.

Exhibit A: My personal record is 12 minutes to assemble the costume.
Fresh faced. Pressed Clean White Jacket. Trendy Checkered Pants. Neckerchief with Centered Metal Pendent. Black socks. Non-Slip Elf Shoes. New Hat. Clean Apron. Towels - Lots of Towels.
No exceptions. No variations. No questions.
[SOURCE] Day Eight: The 20 hours a week you spend on school campus will not compare to the 20+ hours a week you will invest studying and practicing. You will be required to absorb thousands of facts that are being poured over your head at light speed. Think fast because learning is done on your time. School time is used for teaching.

Day Twelve: Google “TEAMWORK”. The majority of the people who you come in contact with at said institution will have similar interests but that does not mean they are all as passionate or as friendly as you. Accept it quickly and move forward!

Exhibit B: You will use one cutting board most days but will be expected to wash 33 of them.
Remember, Teamwork?
[SOURCE]

Day Fourteen: You came to culinary school to cook? Well, sit patiently until it is time. You earn the right to use the equipment through knowledge and experience. Nothing will be given freely. And if your belly is growling, too bad! Eating is done on your time. Culinary school is not an open buffet!

Day Twenty: Taste or creativity is not your main concern in the food industry. Safety is! Therefore, you will learn more about time temperature control and food borne illnesses than any other subject while in “Introduction to Culinary Arts”.

Don’t fret my friends, administrations staff takes your best interest into consideration sometimes! They understanding that you sleep five hours each night, get twelve paper cuts a day at your nine to five job, suffer though their harmful curriculum with a toxic smile while attempting to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage a household, all in the hope that one day you will earn the title “chef/baker”. So, they kindly provide you with thirty pounds of books, knives, and supplies to lug around that way you can clear your schedule of any weight lifting appointments. Tongue

“What does not kill you will only make you stronger”?

Well, when I complete this program I better at least have superhuman arm muscle strength to make up for my carrot colored palms, blood orange stained nail beds, masculine completion and these tired eyes that I’m hiding behind.Winking
[SOURCE]

I’m not going to lie. I’ve struggled. I’ve succeeded. I’ve cried. I’ve smiled. All in just six short weeks but, most important something has been awakened that I didn’t know was sleeping. That something is now what wakes me up when sun shine and caffeine aren’t enough. I’m not going to lie, I feel naked in a novel way…. And I’m thrilled about “it”. Big Grin

What is something that you wanted to earn?

You know, things that are worth the effort?

Week 4: Enough

There are plenty of things that I wish I could change…like my bank accounts balance or the FACT that my curls WILL fall flat or my dog’s obsession with peeing indoors!

I should scream from our roof top while mooning the world to express my disgust, right? Well, since Orlando is more on the discreet side I don’t think he would appreciate the hate mail that we would receive from disturbing the neighborhood with my exposed my pale behind.
[Source]Mooning-Scare-Crow
Regardless of the day’s trivia, I take pride in the progress that I’ve made towards letting go of my attachment to perfection. I can honestly say with that I have no desire to be “perfect”. Actually, this past week has shown how life can be even more fulfilling when I simply do my best at that given moment. I don’t have to be flawless to be outstanding or successful. I can’t always be the best but….

- Orlando believes he can survive on carbs and protein alone thus it was good enough to be his dinner. IMG_2316
- Bailey claims that playing tug-o-war in the front yard was good enough. He doesn’t need to go to the dog park to feel my love.IMG_2219
IMG_2272- Practicing knife skills two hours before the practical while watching Biggest Loser was good enough to be considered prepared for the exam.
IMG_2255- Producing only half the amount of nearly perfect batonnet, julienne, small dice and brunoise cut carrots as my competition was good enough to earn an “A”!
IMG_2256
- Thursday was the day that simple farfelle (bowtie pasta) with a basic warm sweet and spicy tomato chutney happened to be good enough for three peers to ask for the recipe.IMG_2290

- Incorporating the intimidating purple potato into a mashed potato dish and a potato salad dish is not an easy task. Pheeew, good thing the flavor of my group’s dishes were good enough to mask our unpolished garnishing skills.
IMG_2260
IMG_2261
IMG_2262- Hesitantly preparing the bacon hominy “cake” topped with a fried egg was good enough to win first place in two categories.IMG_2291- Who would have thought that an incidental tortellini in crème sauce dish was good enough for my unseasoned teammates to declare that they indeed don’t despise tortellini and the asparagus that was hidden inside of the roux didn’t kill them!
IMG_2289- Dish washing may seem like a major drag but rubbing elbows with my classmates while get slashed by sanitizer and chatting about Daikon radishes is good enough to make me want to come back and do it all over again and again….
IMG_2264
IMG_2265
Now, the moment you have been waiting for!
This week’s envy exhibit is a double feature -

The blissful bakery window
IMG_2266
IMG_2267
And a seasonal treat from the advanced students!
IMG_2257
IMG_2258
IMG_2259
I hope ya'll had an amazing Halloween! For us Halloween has turned into a movie night involving kiddy pajamas, wine, cookies and pacifying my inner juvenile when no one is looking.Tongue out
IMG_2268

Week 3: Spotted

You see the way this photograph was taken? Blurry and unstable but trying to capture the moment...its an exact portrayal of how I'm functioning these days.
IMG_2203
Come week end I'm left with empty pockets and a brain that is overfilled.
Then, I ponder where did all the time go?

Where in the world did the 168 hours before my midterms escape to? Lets investigate!










42 short hours devoted to sleep. [Source]

38 hours spent earning the money required to support my lavish lifestyle. Laughing
25 mandatory hours extracted in the class room where I learned about:

SpicesIMG_2174

Herbs

IMG_2175IMG_2176


Clarifying Butter

IMG_2192Step 1: Melt REAL butter. Do not boil, stir or disturb in anyway.

IMG_2190Step 2: Remove milk solids without mixing or bring the "moisture" from the bottom. IMG_2194Pure milk solids look appetizing, huh?
IMG_2196

Here is the "moisture" (water substance) that rest on the bottom of the pan. Yuck!IMG_2195You are left with pure clarified butter.

Clarifying the butter increases the smoke point so it wont burn as quickly and it keeps much longer. Note, the taste will change slightly.

Blanching
IMG_2197
First: Cut and X on the bottom of the plump tomato and place it in boiling water.

IMG_2198
You will know it is done when the skin starts to peel off.
IMG_2199
Then, shock it in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
IMG_2200
Next, remove EVERY SINLGE seed. Not even one seed left behind. Or else! Tongue
IMG_2201
Then, chop into submission. The end.

I spy with my little eye! This beauty!
I was paralyzed by her presence.Disappointed Maybe one day when I grow up I will own one of my very own...
IMG_2204IMG_2205
IMG_2202
Mrs.Vitamix pureed the tomatos with sugar and salt into a shot of vitamin c!

I perfected the Bouquet Garni and the Sachet.IMG_2210IMG_2212

Both of these are used to add flavor to stocks in a way that is easily removed and doesn't disturb the other ingredients. The Bouquet Garni is simply leek, celery, carrot, parsley stem and thyme. The Sachet is the one that looks like it is in a bag. Inside of the cheesecloth is parsley stem, bay leaf, cracked pepper, 2-cloves and garlic.
This weeks bakery photo is brought to you courtesy of the "new-to-me" bread window I discovered. Can you see my drool on the glass? Batting Eyelashes
IMG_2209
{End of this weeks lessons}Winking

Another 6 hours absorbed from studying.
Followed by 3 hours of practicing knife skills.
DSCF1389DSCF1398DSCF1396DSCF1397

Check it! If youre interested, I found this video on knife skills. It is one of the better ones I've seen. My first practical exam is this week on MY knife skills. Ekkkkk






2 wimpy hours spent working on my fitness. [Source]

4 meaningful hours invested spending time with the family.

IMG_2232IMG_2229 Watched my little brother spar.

IMG_2240Met the newest member of our family. Welcome, sleepy baby cousin Kylyn!

IMG_2238 And laughed at my mom's costume.

IMG_2237Obviously, Kylyn did not want to be included in this photo.

IMG_2225

And 30 minutes stolen to drop the pup off at his grandma's for a sleep over.

IMG_2254IMG_2253
6 glorious hours catching up with my BFF from elementary school who I have not seen in years!

3 painful hours updating our budget and paying expensive bills.

2 short hours invested in the bedroom with the love of my life Red heart

Resulting in.....

IMG_2241Things that I would have never dreamed of neglecting - like washing my hair, cleaning the dishes or meal planning just didn't make the cut this round.

I'm sure we can survive on beefy-mac, dry shampoo and paper plates this week.Winking

Until next time my friends... That is if I survive the 2 HUGE midterms this week and the state SafeServe certification exam!