Best Decision Ever
Going to culinary school has been the best decision I have ever made in my life. Not that I have a track record of awesome decision making that could compete with it for the title of “Best Decision Ever,” but it has been a fantastic step. Moving from Virginia to New York was scary (and freezing) at first, but ultimately liberating (and there are way better eats!) It is hard to find a substitute for the fulfillment I get from being surrounded by people who care as much about food as I do and share in my love for cooking and eating.
I would recommend the French Culinary Institute to anyone I know, as it is filled with the most intelligent and informative instructors around, plus it offers such an array of flexible schedules (which is great for me because I am not a morning person.) I hate to sound like an FCI flunky, but it really has been such a great experience for me- and I’ve only just about finished Level one. Hopefully I’ll still love it six months from now!
I am pretty much a self taught cook. I’ve worked the line at some great restaurants, but that didn’t really constitute “cooking,” per se, more like “assembling”. I put together salads and desserts, sometimes plating entrees, but nobody let me get near a piece of fish or anything expensive (probably for good reason). At home, though, I created elaborate meals (with varying levels of success) and read anything food related that I could get my hands on. Fantasies of leaving my bartending gig in Richmond and coming to culinary school began occupying my mind about two years ago, but it always seemed just that- a fantasy. Then, a particularly obnoxious boss had me on the brink of walking out of my job, and I made the decision to apply to the FCI. Within a few weeks I was enrolled and had put in my notice at work and had never felt happier or more nervous.
After the first day of class, I knew I had made the right decision. My Chef gave us a rundown of what each level entailed and we began cooking on the first day! Even simple vegetable preparations had me enthralled because I was learning the right way to prepare them, not the half-assed-get-it-out-now-or-chef-will-scream-at-you way that I had seen in restaurants or the I-guess-this-is-how-you-do-it way that I had perfected at home, but the absolutely-100%-classic French-way, the right way. Every day I am still enthralled to walk into class in my whites and learn something new; nothing reminds me more that I really did make the Best Decision Ever.
Tonight we’re working with Veal, yummy… I’ll let you know how it goes!