The Heat is On

Today is the day: My classmates will take our level six final exam at the French Culinary Institute.

The task? We draw a number from a hat that determines the dishes we'll cook under deadline. Then a panel of judges critique us in front of our classmates. We'll either cook a fish and pastry pairing or a meat and appetizer.

If you pass, you receive a diploma declaring you're a chef.

I spent yesterday being a nervous wreck, though. I inhaled three sizable cupcakes and ordered Chinese take out (something I've never done in New York) at 12:30 a.m. as I was studying my recipes. Last night I only got about five hours of sleep. Maybe that's why I'm calmer this morning.

I know I can cook the dishes. The only thing I'm worried about is doing everything on time and making sure it's presented well. I figure it's better to be calm and confident instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Breath, stay calm and just cook — that's what I keep telling myself over and over.

In the meantime, my uniform is cleaned and ironed. My knives are sharpened. I've gone through recipes in my head countless times.

The only thing between me and diploma are two dishes. I'm hoping I get the branzino and bread pudding pairing. But whatever it turns out to be, I think the biggest lesson culinary school has taught me is to be confident in my cooking. I'm sure that will be the key to passing.

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
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
            • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
            • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
            • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
            • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            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