Culinary Study Habits

I have never missed a day of class and I have never been late – until today; the day of my baking and pastry final.

I had every intention of studying for my final exam, but found it difficult to concentrate last night as Desserts Magazine, Twitter and Facebook romanced me until well after midnight.

I was no different in college (almost 20 years ago) - always a procrastinator. After an entire semester of paying attention, taking notes and applying what I learned, I found that I either knew it, or I didn't. And no amount of studying the night before was going to help me.

A review, however, was always in order. And I convinced myself last night that I knew enough to save the review until this morning.

Fast forward to this morning's best-laid plans...

I created my review sheets after breakfast - right on track – and left early for class so I wouldn't have to rush and could review my notes before the exam. And there it was, as I merged onto the highway: a stationary line of red tail lights, pulsing like levels on a boom box. Murphy's Law, reporting for Sirius Radio weather and traffic, described a horrific accident, perfectly positioned between me and my exit, with all lanes blocked.

I was trapped on I-4, somewhere between Disney and Universal Studios. And when you're trapped on I-4 in Orlando, somewhere between Disney and Universal, you're trapped with tourists who have no idea where they're going. Better yet, you're also trapped with permanent residents who like to pass the time by contemplating ways to inflict unthinkable acts of road rage on the tourists who have no idea where they're going.

There was no question. My exit, only a mile away, was shut down, blocked, and I was going to be late for my final exam.

I went through the emotions - panic, anger, frustration. I even contemplated ways to inflict road rage on the tourists, with evil laughter and wringing hands. After 30 minutes of emotional struggle, I found the trail of pulsing red lights to be soothing and delightful, like a straight jacket. I gave in and tried to find order and pattern in the random flashes of red to pass the time. Tried.

I mustered up some adult responsibility and called my advisor to let her know I was going to be late (take that Murphy), and focused on trying get to class as quickly and safely as possible - there were 4 other accidents reported in the area.

My normal 15-minute ride had hit the 50-minute mark when I eventually came to an exit, and finally the campus. And because I had left so early, was able to burst into class only ten minutes late. I apologized, face flushed, out of breath. Chef was in his whites, slouched, casual, no doubt a vacation mindset.

"Relax," he said. “Catch your breath. I've still got kids in here from the one o'clock class taking the exam."

I missed my review time, and was desperately trying to channel my notes via any ounce of a photographic memory I like to think I have, but really don't. This was not only my final exam, but without being able to review, it was a true test of what I learned and retained over the summer.

It took me 10 minutes to calm down and focus, 10 minutes to take the exam, and three minutes to noodle over questions I suspected were wrong before giving up. I either knew it or I didn’t, and no amount of time spent staring at the page was going to help me.

Chef graded our exams as we handed them in. I got a 92; an A. I was relieved, happy, proud. Everything I had studied throughout the semester was really in there - right there in my head, on the tip of my tongue; quick breads, pie dough, custards, pate a choux, cakes, laminated doughs. I knew it. I know it.

Like Chef, I'll be on vacation next week. I plan on bringing all of my professional cooking books with me, including the book we’ll be using next semester, and am excited to read them while slouched in a chair by the hotel pool.

And when I return from vacation, I'll spend the next three months studying the affects of heat on proteins like chicken, eggs and fish, how to make emulsions, bases, broths and sauces.

Each week, for the next three months, I’ll study something new, but you'll never catch me studying the night before the final exam.

Featured Culinary Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            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.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 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.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Le Cordon Bleu provides hands-on training from professional chef instructors.
            • Offer Flexible schedules and online programs to fit busy lives, Certificate, Associates, Bachelors and online programs available. Programs vary by location.
            • Le Cordon Bleu provides a pathway from essential foundational training to advanced culinary degrees.
            • Building on 100 years, Le Cordon Bleu is a leader in the culinary arts with a well-known name and quality reputation in the culinary and hospitality industry.
            • While attending, you’ll spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            3 Program(s) Found
            • 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.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            4 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).
            Show more [+]