An emotional last day of culinary school {for the semester}

Chef walked into the classroom today, our last day of class before the final exam, and announced we had two projects: cooking and cleaning. I yelled, while raising my hand like a 5th grader, “I’ll cook!” And so our table was assigned to cook lunch for the entire class while everyone else scrubbed down the kitchen, pantry and walk-in. Some would say those assigned to clean got the better end of the deal, but not me. I was happy to cook.

These last two weeks have been the most fun for me in terms of cooking. I love searching for forgotten ingredients in the walk-in and freezer and making something fantastic with them, without recipes, without parameters. Today I transformed some tired tomatoes into a roasted tomato soup shooter, and threw together a comforting potato gratin with gooey cheese and fresh herbs. The boys worked on strip steaks with a bordelaise and grilled asparagus.

During service, Chef opened a bottle of wine and poured each of us the equivalent of about 1 sip. He raised his glass to us and thanked us all for our hard work this semester. When the salute was returned, I got a little choked up. I’ve had Chef as an instructor for the past two years; he’s been my mentor, inspiration and moral support. I’m so appreciative of the extra time he took to answer my food history and food science questions, for letting me take the school’s books and magazines home to read whenever I needed to do research, and for pushing me to be the best and always challenging me. I’m especially grateful for the general kitchen information he’s taught me over the years, because without that, I never would have survived my first interview and cooking/skills test at the 4-star restaurant. Chef has prepared me well for cooking in any environment.

I looked around the room and realized this will also be the last time I see some of these students; we all get on each others nerves from time to time, but we’re like a family of sorts. We all care about each other, but definitely want to kill each other when the cooking goes awry. All of that emotion, all of a sudden, wriggled its way from the tips of my toes, and began to well up in eyes as I raised my glass.

With one more semester to go, I’ll still see Chef, probably every day. But I’ll definitely miss having him as an instructor and hope we keep in touch long after school is over for me.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            2 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            Auguste Escoffier Schools of Culinary Arts , Online (campus option available)
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid