Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Got a whole culinary school class under my belt...am amazed that I survived getting up at 5 am. Not only did I get up at 5, I actually functioned/drove/participated in class. Snaps for me!
On the first day of culinary school, my Chef said to me: you have to write a 5- to 7-page paper by next week. Write. A. Paper? WTF? I thought we were here to cook! To Bam! To saute and braise!!! To learn the real definitions of a la carte and a la mode!! Well, this should be the part that's a piece of cake, shouldn't it? I've been around the academic block before, so I know how to write a paper...I sort of majored in English even if I can't speak it! The secondary instructor starts going over the format of the paper. Fine, I think, this really is not a problem--a little brush up on the MLA style book and I'm good to go. Then, he starts talking about the proper form for citing URLs, and it dawns on me...the last time I wrote a paper, the damn Internet had not been invented yet!!! (And, you knew I'm the oldest person in the class, didn't you? The next oldest is at least 6 years younger than me. Marinate on that!)
It's a small class (9 of us), which is nice, and it's composed entirely of women. My classmates come from various backgrounds--just out of high school students, working moms, etc. One's parent's own a restaurant, and that's her goal as well. I may be the only one who's looking at the personal chef thing right now, but it might be that the others are sort of undecided.
Within the first 15 minutes of class, you realize that this whole cooking thing is truly a complete subculture--has it's own code of ethics, mode of dress, etc. It really is like military academy, and the chefs/instructors take it that seriously. Being an old wise woman, I can figure out how the game is played and the reasoning behind the little rules and regulations--this class/course is really designed to take the fresh washed little masses straight from high school who've never worked, never dealt with the real world, etc., and prepare them to actually be functioning members of society. But, what about those of us who are already functioning adult types? You would think that we'd be ahead of this game already, but not necessarily.
Take Merlot (her real name really does sound like a wine) for example. Merlot is in her late 20s/early 30s, works and has children; I would think this might give you a clue about rules and regulations, but maybe not. Day 1, she's sauntering into class about 20 minutes late, just as we are going over the course requirements and what affects your grade (guess what--punctuality is a factor!!). Another factor is the uniform. We're in various stages of the uniform or not (see earlier post about bookstore guy), and she's most definitely not in a uniform or any semblance of one (I'm wearing a white shirt and black pants as requested if my uniform was not complete).
Every time the instructor goes over what we should and shouldn't be doing/wearing/etc., she huffs and puffs like a steam engine. When he reiterates the part about no jewelry, not even earrings--this means you, she makes a snarky comment about "you just want us to be boys!" I think he'd had enough of her eye rolling and muttering by this time, and shoots back with "no, I want you to be professional." She continues muttering and then gets up and walks out of the class...is she coming back? Did she decided this was too much for her to handle? No matter, I'm glad she left, since we then divided up into teams based on the table we were sitting at, and she would have been on ours, and she would have been a slacker. She'd be the guy who no one wants on the project, because you know he won't do anything at all except bitch and complain and then tries to take credit for all the good stuff. Spare me.
We continue going over the class requirements/syllabus and get a CD of all forms that will be required over the next 2 years for all the classes. We are required to go out to dinner and fill out a review form as "secret shoppers." Whoo hoo! An excuse to go out to dinner--not that I need it, but surely this will be an easy grade. The rules are that it must be a sitdown restaurant, so that knocks out Arby's.
I've got to come up with a thesis statement by tomorrow a.m. I've been wracking my brain for hours now, and nothing...which is making me insane, because how hard can this part possibly be?! Gah. And, I've not the slightest desire to cook dinner either...which might be a bit worrisome. Oh, bother.