Highs and Lows of Culinary

This week has been a week of extremes, with highs so high, I never thought I’d come down; and lows so low, I’m begging the food industry for mercy.

The high:
I had my interview at the 5-diamond restaurant and was invited to shadow the next evening. During the ride home, after the interview, I was nauseous, ready to vomit on the passenger seat of my car, wondering what I had gotten myself into — I doubted I was ready for a 5-diamond. The next morning, I felt like my old self again; confident and ready to take on the challenge. My biggest fear, which was disappointing my chef instructors whom had recommended me, was put to rest by accepting a worst case scenario and working through it in my head: the worst thing that could have happened would have been that I couldn’t perform duties as assigned at the restaurant and I wouldn’t be hired. BUT, as long as I tried my best, I knew my Chefs would be forgiving.

The night of my interview the kitchen was a screaming mad-house — organized, but incredibly busy. The day I shadowed presented a calm, orderly place that was easy to get to know. I started the night off folding towels. When I finished and asked for more, they were surprised how quickly I folded [I'm a mom who does laundry twice a week, which apparently came in handy]. Next was removing silver skin from braised meats and shredding, then slicing turnips. When they asked me to blanch and skin 4 tomatoes, I caught on. I was being tested.

I chopped an entire crate of tomatoes within minutes and then delicately blanched and peeled the 4 additional tomatoes. Next up was brunois carrots. My brunois are good, probably better than average, but not 5-diamond great; they seemed to be OK with them though. I then helped with hot and cold first courses and then met with the executive Chef for a recap.

Long story short, I didn’t think I’d like working in a restaurant, but I LOVED it! I had such a great evening and hope to join the team on a part time or on-call basis.

I felt really proud. Not only did I NOT ruin anyone’s $200 dinner that night, all of the hard work my chef instructors have put into my education paid off — I used every single skill they taught me that night. And I think I honored them well.

In other news, my blog was named Blog of the Month by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Flexitarian Cookbook will be available in December, and features several of my recipes, and I signed on to be a recipe developer and contributor to ChefMom.com — look for recipes and articles later this month!

The low:
I had to work a few sponor products into a recipe book I was creating for a grocery store today at work. I felt nauseas again, but this time, because of the ingredients. Forgive me, world, for putting this recipe into our Universe: 1 can of chili, 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 jar cocktail sauce. Mix ‘n eat, people; mix ‘n eat.

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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.
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            • 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
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            • 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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            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.

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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
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            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
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            Virginia College , Fort Pierce
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
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            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
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            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
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            • Accredited
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
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