My First Few Days In Culinary School

I’ve completed my first few days of community culinary school.  Our instructors have mercifully eased us into the semester with introductions, kitchen orientations, and pre-tests.

Of my classmates, I seem to be one of the only individuals in my age range, which I suppose isn’t that much different from my job.

I’m struck by the blunt honesty with which young people directly out of high school speak.  This quality (usually) becomes more subtle with age, and it strikes me as refreshing.

I’ve never found myself pondering my age so frequently.

As a result, I find myself having maternal conversations with my high-school self during class.  Most of them are reassuring.

I’m terrified of the school’s death trap parking lot.  My car’s almost been T-boned, sideswiped, or backed-into at least four times, now.  I think there was a fight yesterday.  And by fight, I mean an enraged student on a motorbike shouting expletives.

Today’s pre-test revealed that I know nothing about increments of measurement and how they relate to one another.  The same applies to knowing the proper names of kitchen utensils and vesicles.

I broke into a cold sweat as I tried to demonstrate that I could dismantle and reassemble a large slicer in front of my classmates.

Today, I picked up my first knife set.  They’re not Wusthofs and I don’t care.  They are vastly superior to the chipped Rachel Ray Santoku knife I’ve been using since college.

We’ve been reminded many times that as culinary students, we must not forget that we’re always on display.  The kitchen lab is surrounded by windows, meaning the school can observe us as we prepare foods before and during meal service.  This can basically be interpreted as, “Please don’t throw noodles.”

Waking up in the mornings to learn about food feels surreal.  Even during the most trying days in culinary school this semester, I know I’ll be happier slinging salads or disinfecting industrial deli slicers than doing what I have, full-time, for the past nine months.

What we truly love will never go away.  Our interests and passions won’t diminish with time or fade gently into the night.  My interest in all things food hasn’t and won’t.

Unfortunately, I have the sinking feeling that this enduring passion for food will not make me any better at kitchen math class.

Fractions or ratios, anyone?

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