Hello again. It has only taken me 8 months to return to my blog, long enough for the title to longer apply. Since I'm not living in a convent anymore (thank you, Jesus), and am not overly religious (unless my religion is food and then it would totally work) it sort of implies that my food is better than yours (which also has some truth to it) but anyway. I'll think on that.
So, since my last entry, I have graduated culinary school, survived six excruciating months in a convent, gone to Costa Rica, gotten a crazy job, "parted ways" from said crazy job, and am currently unemployed an on a bus to our Nations Capital for the hell of it. Ta-da!
I would like to give a little recap on a few things.
Expensive. I enjoyed my experience and learned quite a bit, but I'm still not convinced that it was worth the offensive amount of money that I will be paying back for the rest of my life.
Working in different teams is always a fun examination of the human psyche. I learned a lot about myself and others, and what it means to be on a team of people who all think they know what they're talking about when in fact no one really does (minus a few who were wonderful to learn from). Surprisingly, I took away quite a bit from my pastry courses because I knew so little going in and found an interest in the "sweeter side" I didn't know I had. Cooking in L'Ecole, the school's restaurant, for paying customers the last two months was as initially intense but something we all warmed up to quickly. And when I say warm, I mean hot! The kitchen is hot! Just FYI.
You also get to surround yourself with a good amount of culinary genius. The chef instructor's at FCI are unmatched in their knowledge and experiences they have to share. Each one of them was drastically different from the next, but each one taught you a new way to learn and look at cooking. It also helps that they are pretty cool older French guys who love a good laugh and a little kiss on the cheek every once in a while. :)
One thing I will say about school is that it totally breaks you down. It strips away everything you thought you knew about cooking and throws it in the "wrong way" bin. The right way from here on out is the French way. Technique, technique, technique. My confidence in the kitchen was totally broken and I felt lost in the one place I have always felt comfortable. That was hard! Slowly you begin to build it back in a different way. I have started anew, a clean slate, a bambino in the business with tons to learn.
A highlight of my FCI education was my menu project. I would like to share some visuals of my journey schlepping a 100lb suitcase filled with food from the Upper West Side to Chelsea and back, avoiding "nun contact" and a revisit to the all-nighter.
This was pretty exciting and I was really proud of it after it was all over. The whole thing took me over 3 weeks to complete.
In the end I would sum culinary school up as such: I'm glad I did it, but I'm glad its over.
More coming soon* about convent living and the New York City Restaurant Kitchen Monster