School as Work

Chef is always telling us that we must treat school as if it were work; as if it were our job. If we’re late or going to be absent, we have to call or email him. If anyone forgets their knives or any part of their uniform, they are immediately sent home. And if anyone acts inappropriately in class, we’re basically fired (sent home).

The Test Kitchen was really the first place, other than school, where I had to set up my own work station. That experience instilled good work habits in me.

Every morning, I would arrive at the Test Kitchen before most everyone — the kitchen was always nice and quiet. I put away my things and exchanged my sweater for a chef’s coat. On the way to the kitchen, I grabbed a cart and filled it with all of the tools I would need for the day: knife, slotted spoon, whisk, peeler, garlic press, zester, citrus reamer, tongs, spatula, glass bowls, wet and dry measuring cups, measuring spoons, wine key, a small strainer, and exactly 4 towels. My timer hung around my neck, and the pockets of my chef’s coat held a small notebook, 2 Sharpies, and my instant-read thermometer.

Next stop would be the walk-in, where I would grab butter, one egg, herbs, and any trays of mise I would need for the day. Next door in the pantry, I would grab salt, pepper, flour, sugar, oil. Baskets in the kitchen were filled with onions, shallots and garlic — I filled a glass bowl with a couple of each and then grabbed my favorite cutting board.

My station was set up the exact same way every morning: The cutting board was set on my bench, slightly to the left, with my knives placed on a towel to the right of the board. Above the board, in the upper left corner of the bench, sat my glass bowl of onions, shallots and garlic. To the right of the bowl were smaller bowls with salt, pepper, flour and sugar. The remaining three towels were folded and neatly draped over the handle of my cart, keeping the rest of my mise company until it was time to use it. I would make the rounds again, grabbing a potato and small skillet, and would make myself some breakfast and an iced coffee before everyone arrived. I would then receive all of my assignments for the day and make one last pass through the walk-in and pantry for any additional ingredients I would need.

As dull as it sounds, that routine really centered me for the day. I felt organized, clean and ready for anything the day might throw at me.

When I got back to school this semester, I started doing the same thing. Some of the kids thought I was nuts, asking why I would want to arrive early to set up my station. Sometimes I would reply, “It makes my day easier.” Other times I would say, “It’s what I did at work.” Both were (are) true.

It felt good to see that several of my classmates decided to follow suit this week. Next to my board, in a neat little row, sat three other cutting boards, slightly to the left of their bench surface, with knives to the right, placed neatly on a towel.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    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.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            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 [+]
            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
            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 12:1, 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 [+]
            1 Program(s) Found
            Salter College , West Boylston
            • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
            • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
            • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 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