Joy of Cooking

If you're considering culinary school or already work in the field, there's likely something we share: We love cooking for others and watching people enjoy our food.

I recently had the experience of cooking for friends in a restaurant for the first time.

At the French Culinary Institute's restaurant L'Ecole, friends have been putting in reservations as my time in the restaurant winds down. Here are some of the dishes the restaurant puts out (all cooked by students): a seared branzino dish atop of an artichoke curry dotted with tomato fondue, a steamed Arctic char with a side of paella, hanger steak with a spicy basil sauce, seared duck breasts with a potato terrine, a spring pea pan cotta topped with crab salad and a duck consomme. The desserts include a black tea-pomegranate tiramisu and a banana-chocolate bread pudding.

There's not as much pressure cooking in the restaurant since I know my friends aren't eating everything cooked by me. But it was extremely satisfying to know they've been well-fed and taken care of. The plates kept coming out and they ate everything up.

I'm sure some dishes weren't perfect but to a degree, it didn't matter. When you cook for your friends or family, just the act of cooking is something they appreciate. It's truly for the joy of cooking.