Today marked the end of my third week at cooking school. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by. I guess that is a good sign, right?
Its been a crazy, exhausting, busy, terrifying, and exhilarating start to my culinary journey.
In the past three weeks we have been learning the basics, or fundamentals, of cooking. We have studied for hours on sanitation and safety, because its kinda important, don’t you agree? I now know more about food bourne illnesses, than I ever thought possible. Microbial infections, microbial intoxication, binary fission, pest control, allergies, cleaning and sanitation and A LOT of other things, no one actually wants to read about. The point is, now I am far more educated on how to NOT kill anyone with my food. See… important!
Other classes in the fundamentals course were cooking methods, sauces and stocks. We learned to make the 5 “mother” sauces. Bechamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Tomato Sauce (with and without a roux), and of course Hollandaise. In Stocks class we learned how to properly make basic white, basic brown, vegetable, fish stock and fish fumet. I have been making stock at home for years. I have been doing a lot of things wrong!
We also had a Kitchen Management class, which was pretty much all about math. This was terrifying to me. I suck at math. I’m not exaggerating. REALLY suck! This class introduced us to the formulas we will need to learn, in order to do such tasks as menu pricing, figuring out yield percentages, and recipe conversions. The instructor who taught this class though, somehow made math fun…..I know, crazy right? He had the entire class so engaged in the discussion. I think his ability to constantly weave real life experiences, from his career, in with the course content was why it ended up being so interesting. It was just an introductory class though, so I reserve the right to complain endlessly about how awful math is, when I have to take the more in depth classes.
I think my favorite class though, was knife skills class. SO MUCH FUN! Our instructor was incredible. Her passion and love of cooking is inspiring. Every day she made me more excited about my decision to dive into this experience. After some instruction, demonstrations and then some practice, I finished the class feeling pretty good about the improvement in my knife skills, despite my terribly turned potatoes. HA!
We also tried to do fluted mushrooms. That, I was downright terrible at. I butchered those poor mushrooms. I’m pretty stubborn though, and I was determined to get those fluted mushrooms right. Don’t ask why, there is no real purpose to doing it, other than it looks pretty and I suppose its a good exercise in knife control…ok, I take it back, those seem like perfectly good reasons to practice fluting mushrooms.
I’ve been practicing at home…..
far from perfect, but a definite improvement.
I mean, for mushrooms, they are quite pretty right?
Even prettier when cooked in butter. I swear, they tasted better than usual too. 😉
The BEST part of the last month though, was volunteering for the “Harvest Dinner” that is put on each year, by the chef/instructors. I got to help harvest Jackson’s memorial garden in preparation for the dinner, and then I got to actually help in the kitchen before and during the dinner. It was an incredible experience. I have a lot to share about that, but not today. That experience deserves an entire post of its own. Plus, I have lots of great photos to go along with it. I will post that soon.