Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 1 - Kitchen 1402

The first day!  It would have to be the day we "spring forward" for daylight savings time. I arrived early though and checked in, got my books and locker. I changed into my uniform and went to class. The maximum class size is 16 students but we only have 9 in our class. Five men and four women. Being in a smaller class is going to be great, I think.

The first two hours was an orientation. We received our (seriously sharp) knife kit. Then we were introduced to Chef Ted. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America and has been a chef for over 30 years at locations all over the country. He has been teaching at The Institute of Culinary Education for the past 10 years. He will be our Chef Instructor for the first two terms, which ends on June 25th.

No cooking yet:(   Today's lessons were about sanitation and food and kitchen safety. We talked about biological, chemical and physical hazards relating to the food service industry. Food borne illnesses, parasites and how to avoid them. We discussed the safe handling of food and the health laws that govern how restaurants store, handle and prepare food. Evidently the New York Restaurant Health Code is the most stringent in the country. That's good to know!

All in all it was not very exciting stuff but it's information that we need to know. Next week we'll have our first exam so I'm glad I took lots of notes. I have tons of reading homework.

Next week's lessons:

  • Knife safety and skills. We'll make salsas with all of the vegetables that we chop.
  • Nutrition, vegetable and herb identification.
  • Cheese identification and the attributes of a variety of cheeses. I'm not a fan of cheese but I've decided that I will have an open mind about eating things that I normally won't even look at. (sweetbreads and calamari - yuck)
  • We will practice our knife skills again on vegetables.
  • Next - Boiling, blanching, shocking and pureeing vegetables.
  • We will make a vegetable puree soup.
  • We will begin culinary math.
  • Vinegar, oils and cooking wines will be discussed.
  • We will wash lettuces and make a simple vinaigrette
  • We will cook several different types of greens.

It sounds ambitious! I can't wait:),
The Garlic Rose

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Yesterday I was in Manhattan. Before I headed home I decided to go downtown and pick up my uniforms and culinary kit. The kit is a fun little collection of tools and utensils. We are required to have it at school everyday. It's quite heavy so I'm hoping we can leave it in our locker.

The uniform is super cool. I couldn't wait to get home and try it on. The black checked pants were about a foot to long for me so I pulled out the sewing machine and hemmed both pair right away. When Bob came home I was completely decked out. He snapped a few pictures. I'm almost ready to begin.

This video is a tour of one of the kitchens that are used in
the Career Pastry courses. It is very similar to the kitchens
used by the Career Culinary Arts students

Only one more week,
The Garlic Rose

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Promise Kept. Culinary School, Here I Come!

Hello World!  

Ok, I guess the best way to start is to tell my story.  Many years ago, (actually about 20 years ago) I was just getting started in fulfilling one of my wildest dreams which was to attend culinary school.  I was completing the techniques course at a school in NYC and I was ready for the professional culinary course to begin after the Christmas break. The schedule worked perfectly with my children's school schedule. I could get everyone on the bus in the morning, run into the city for my classes and be back before they got home from school.  I was totally up for the challenge and with my husband occasionally filling in for me, we were prepared to make this work!

Over the Christmas break, one of my children got sick.  It's a long and not so exciting story, but it became clear that I needed to be at home - all of the time. There were many doctors and hospital visits and scary times.  I needed to make sure that he was getting the best treatment, the best doctors and medication. I needed to make sure that his education was kept on track even though there were many days of school missed and medication that had scary side effects. Trying to make my little buddy's life as healthy and happy as possible became a major part of my days.  I happily gave up the idea of culinary school to make sure that he had all that he needed to get through his challenges.

He was 5 years old when he first became sick and now he is almost 25 - an adult. sort of. sometimes:) I'm happy to say that although he still has a few medical issues and still needs medication to keep himself healthy, he was successful at school and is now attending college. 

So here we are in 2011 and my husband is about to retire. We will be moving south by the end of the year.  Over the years we have often talked about "when I finally am able to go back to culinary school".  Now that the end is near and we will soon be living not so close to New York, we've talked about it a lot!  He has always promised that I would be able to do it before we moved away. So a few weeks ago, a few things happened in our lives that made us realize that it was now or never!  There was a small window of opportunity.  

So we went into the city so that he could check out the school that I had visited several times.  It's actually the same school that I attended many years ago but it is much bigger and better.  It has a new name, a new location, new owners and a great reputation. In the last 20 years they've come a long way.  While we were there, I enrolled in the Culinary Arts Career Training Program! I was fitted for my uniforms. How fun is that!  I was given vouchers for my culinary kit and uniforms and books and knives, with instructions on where to pick up all of this fun stuff.  

So in the middle of March I will start culinary school.  I don't expect it to be easy. I want to be completely challenged. I plan to soak up everything that is there to be learned - every last drop!  

Thanks Babe! You're the very best.  I promise to make you proud!  And provide you with never ending platters of scrumptious food:)

The Garlic Rose

Background Music:
The Luckiest by Ben Folds