After a long Christmas hiatus from writing, here I am again, looking forward to sharing a new bunch of tales of cooking school with all of you. On January 4th, I returned to the Culinary Institute of America, to resume once again my culinary education. The unfortunate part of this process, is that I had no idea what I was getting into. The new students that were in my group I had never gotten to work with before. Bottom line, I couldn’t quite rely on them like I did members of my previous class and group, who I had been with for months; learning and bonding with each one so that I had a good grasp on each of their strengths and weaknesses. Here, I was walking blind into the unknown.

Trust Me, I’m a Pro

Trust is such an important skill to develop amongst your classmates when in culinary school, because, like the stupid saying goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. In this case, I was the weakest link. Since I wasn’t like these other kids, I wasn’t in tune with CIA way of cooking. This involved writing timelines that planned out daily events for class like methods, recipes, equipment needed, and other things that areconveniently forgotten once in the outside cooking world. I also didn’t have that recipe knowledge from Skills 1 and 2 fresh in my mine like these kids. Also, I’m the oldest one in the group, so literally, I’m surrounded by kids.

It Begins With A Hello

After taking the awkward time to introduce myself to these strangers I’d be working with for the next few months, I met the chef. Chef Garnero, who has since become one of my favorites chef’s in the school due to his laid back personality. The only issue I had was is this guy’s a motor mouth. I swear he was an auctioneer in a previous life. You have to listen very intently at the things that he says because he talks so fast, that even the slightest lack of attention could mean the difference between a properly roasted chicken pan gravy and chicken veloute. First day back, I had illusions of failing in my head, being to far gone from school’s way of things and destined for self destruction. Yet, after everything, (Day one was Roast Chicken, with pan gravy, vegetable jardinere, and whipped potatoes) I think the kids are beginning to get me. The chef I think really has taken a chip to me. Now I’ve begun to look forward to each class, without fear, and the hope of becoming truly excellent. I’m… back in the saddle again!