It has been a long week and just one thing I’ve seen improved since day 2 of class has been my knife skill, there’s still lots of room for improvement, but at least my husband won’t keep telling me that I’m going to cut my fingers. 😉 Here’s the rest of my first recap for those interested to know the insight of a culinary school.
Class time: Our classes are full time Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 3:30-5pm-ish. Students are expected to arrive at 8am to change into uniform and get the mindset ready for the day. There are more girls than guys in this culinary term so the women’s change room is quite busy with a max occupant of 6-8 bodies in there at the same time before we start banging into each other.
Uniform: White jacket (2 short sleeves and 1 long sleeve), Black pants, hat, apron and towels. The uniform jacket does look big on most girls, but that’s the unisex sizing for you. This is the first term with the new uniforms which gives us a more craftsman-style look with a full dark colored apron. Our names are embroidered onto our shoulders rather than the front, so getting to know one another requires checking their back. Do not use bleach on the white jackets and do not wash your towels with any of the uniform, the uniforms are lint-magnet.
Toolkits: You can probably purchase the items for your toolkit cheaper elsewhere, but the kits the school have put together is a really good quality. You will have to engrave your name on to EVERYTHING since most of us would have the exact same knife, peeler, microplane, etc. On the same note, you should also label your uniform and anything that you do not want to lose. Keep the toolkit off the floor.
Lunch: I’ve quickly realized that we will be eating what we will cook. On the first two days of classes, the chef instructors prepared lunches and afternoon snacks for us – chowder and scones, (both which we will be doing later in the term, possibly for finals) and bran muffin. Day 2 was minestrone, which will also be something we will be doing in class. Day 3, 4 and 5 were the products of our week which was focus on garde manger, that meant salads and canapes. Next week will be soups and stocks.
Lectures/Demos: Class consists of short lectures/demos and we would go in the kitchen to replicate the demo, and come back together for another quick demo, and we’re back in the kitchen again. We have Chef Tony, Chef Warren and Chef Curtis who has an excellent rotation between each one when doing the lecture and demos. All three chefs will walk around from station to station during the practical session. The bonus is that I am learning the styles and techniques from three individual chefs.
Health and well-being: This is an intense 15-week program, and there are no sick days. It is important to stay and remain healthy – healthy snacks, water through out the day, and a multi-vitamin with extra vitamin-c boost (please refer to your health practitioner for advice). My day 2 incident was most likely a caffeine-withdrawal, I’ve stopped doing the coffee-through-out-the-day thing, which was my crutch to get me through work. I also do realize that I had a two week vacation break before starting school, but I probably had some sort of caffeinated product in the afternoon or I was napping. And make sure to get a full night rest, you’ll need it.
I’ve spent Sunday afternoon helping out at the Mount Pleasant Autumn Shift festival which included a closed off section of Main Street where the different businesses along Main can come together to promote themselves. Our school have a booth with us doing knife demos, and Chef Jonathan arranged the participation with the Smoked Sausage cook-off (which we didn’t win with our bratwurst and handmade kimchi and cucumber mayo :().
I have some readings and review assignments to do before calling it a night. I’m looking forward to start week 2 tomorrow and see who I get to be paired up with next!