Day 1, Murphy's Law and Muffins

Yesterday was my first cooking class, ever; Baking and Pastry I. My morning was, well, not what I had expected, which I whined about on Wicked Good Dinner. Murphy’s Law has certainly played a significant role this semester.

I spent quite a bit of time researching rolling briefcases. We had not received a materials list, and the bookstore swore there was no such thing as a “baking kit,” (they also had the wrong book listed for purchase). I wanted to be prepared for anything, which meant I needed to bring everything with me. I settled on a computer briefcase on wheels from the office supply store, which neatly packed away all of my cooking goodies.

I was nervous about lugging this stuff with me – it was a classic high school case of “will I fit in?” I didn’t want to look like an idiot – I’m old enough to be the mother of most of my classmates (although I thankfully do not look it). Much to my relief, most everyone had a similar suitcase with them and I didn’t look like an idiot.

In fact, just the opposite. Lecture began and I started blurting out answers to every question about mixing methods, flour, gluten. I honestly do not know where this spew of information came from – I didn’t realize how much I actually knew about baking.

OK, so mission 1 accomplished – classmates do not think I’m an idiot, and they all seem to believe I’m in my early 30’s. Perfect!

Class rules made me laugh: no fighting, no swearing, you must be classically dressed, and you are not allowed to wear black pants or a baseball cap. Of course, I had on black pants (trying to avoid buying clown pants as long as possible). Whatev. “Boy who talks too much” and “Cat pee girl” are both in my class…(told you!)

We broke up into groups to begin baking. I’m paired with R (male) and TR (female). Both seem confident and competent and I was happy about the mix – we were assigned to make muffins. We all looked at each other and asked, “Is this your first time in the kitchen?”

Chef unleashed the herd and we selected a work station. We just stood there, the three of us, in silence. None of us knew where anything was, and Chef didn’t seem to care to give us a tour. Benefit of the doubt, I chalked it up to Chef wanting us to be good problem solvers and leaders.

I knew where the food was, at the very least, so R and TR followed me into the pantry area. It was a clunky process, but we eventually gathered all ingredients. And, about 30 minutes later, we had all of the bowls, whisks and prep surfaces ready to go. Yeah, it took us that long to find everything.

No one in the class followed food safety, which I thought was funny. No one washed hands before prepping. No one cleaned work surfaces. No one wore gloves. Not even Chef.

I’m used to working in food competition mode, so I’m prepping like a crazy person, barking out orders, taking charge. I realized I needed to back it up a bit, be less intense and less of an instructor – more team, less me. So, I eased off. But in doing so, realized nothing was getting done. R and TR were still feeling a little lost, running around in circles. They eventually separated to the prep table in front of us and started measuring the dry ingredients while I continued to prep wet ingredients.

We made it through the process, baked off the muffins without burning them, and plated for photos, viewing and tasting. The class prepared a variety of quick breads: muffins, biscuits and cakes – of which, I could only taste three of the 9 items because of my food allergies.

Overall, the class kicked butt. Everyone did a great job, no one burned anything, and everything I tasted was spot on. I was really impressed.

Chef, however, didn’t taste a thing, “Oh, I don’t eat that stuff ever. If I tasted everything the students made, I’d be as big as a house!” I thought, “What?? Aren’t you going to critique our hard work??” I wanted to know how my crumb consistency was, how the muffin tasted (because I couldn’t taste it myself…it had vegetable oil, nuts and coconut in it).

Team gathered after we were done. We high-fived each other and gave accolades. I suggested we break up the ingredient list next time, be responsible for prepping what we gather, then once the mise is done, meet up to combine ingredients. Agreed.

R and TR invited me out for a beer after class, which I guess is a good sign they didn’t think I was overbearing and a control freak (I am indeed both). I politely declined – as much as I wanted to celebrate, I wanted even more to get home to my little one and give her a great big hug because Mommy made muffins at school and was pretty darn proud.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

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
            • 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.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            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

            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students. The institution offers career-focused curricula with increasing rigor from the certificate through diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. Throughout those curricula, the university seeks to promote the development of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, computer literacy, and teamwork as well as an appreciation for life-long learning, cultural diversity and the expression of professionalism in all activities. At the graduate level, the university also seeks to promote a culture of research.

            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            3 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.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            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 [+]
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year from 2010-2014
            • Day and evening classes are available for flexible scheduling.
            • Offers bachelor’s, associate, and diploma programs in business, culinary arts, criminal justice, cosmetology, and more.
            • Takes a unique “Focused Learning” approach, where students typically take only one class per month to concentrate on one subject with one faculty member at a time.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits