The Heat is On

Copious amounts of butter, even more salt, one second-degree burn and zero cuts. My experience at the French Culinary Institute in New York City has been all this and more. I haven’t regretted for a second my decision to drop my newspaper reporting job to learn the basics of classic French cuisine.

While I’ve enjoyed my chef’s tough critiques and learning to make the “mother sauces,” it’s only getting tougher. As a culinary arts students at the FCI, we must pass six levels of the curriculum to graduate. After tomorrow I will hopefully have completed level two since enrolling nearly three months ago.

On tomorrow’s exam: we must quarter a chicken, filet a trout, produce perfect cocottes from two potatoes and whip up some mayonnaise. It’s surely more easily said than done. I should pass the test tomorrow but what really worries me is moving to level three. We’ll be going over a number of recipes over and over, the chef’s critiques will be become tougher and they’ll expect more from us, and we’ll be given time constraints for dishes.

I feel like I’ve been able to treat culinary school with a leisurely attitude at times but it’s now time to get serious. I’ll let you know how it goes.