Hey guys! I’ve missed you all like crazy! There have been so many things going on over the past few months, and today I am sharing my biggest news yet. As of August 2020, I am officially a Culinary Arts Student, enrolled in culinary school! This has been a long time coming and I’m glad I finally get to share every moment of this journey with you.
Where it All Began
In early January, I had gone through a tough time and I tried thinking of the things that would make me feel happy and whole. I remember having a conversation with one of my closest friends, Thalia, and we were talking about culinary school. I’ve honestly wanted to enroll since I was a teenager, but I have always had fears and reservations about doing so because of the cost of tuition & the uncertainty of jobs in the food industry. When I told my friend the tuition cost, she urged me to go and follow my dreams, and gave me all the reassurance I needed. I submitted an application the day after that conversation.
I was admitted into the Institute of Culinary Education, and shortly after that, took a tour of the campus, completed all of my paperwork with the bursars office, and submitted my uniform measurements. My official start date was set for May 27, 2020, but the universe had other plans in store…
In March, New York City was shaken by massive amounts of Coronavirus cases. Businesses and schools across the globe started to shut down and switch to remote working and learning. Never in a million years did I think quarantine would last more than the two weeks that were projected, but after 3 weeks I knew that my dream of attending Culinary School was going to be put on hold. It was hard for me to grasp this. For the first time in my life, I had something to look forward to, something that I knew I was born to do. I felt like I was finally on the right path and then I had to stop short. I have to admit, I wallowed in that for about a week, but then I decided to continue to pursue what I love (food) on my own. I took masterclasses by Gordon Ramsey and other chefs, I read food science books, and I threw myself back into food blogging and creating. The amount of engagement and positive feedback I received from you guys really reassured me that this was something that was meant for me to share.
If there is a will, there is a way, and I kept an optimistic attitude about the whole situation from there on out. I got the email with my return to work date at the end of July (which I was not enthusiastic about at all, if I’m being real). After being back at work for two weeks, I finally received an email from school saying that my new start date would be August 19th, 2020.
Culinary School: COVID-19 Precautions
Before starting school, I had to pick up my uniform and get a COVID test a week before my first day. In the school, there many ways that they are keeping us safe. There are only 10 students in a class, and there are plastic shields up at each work station. Our temperatures are taken upon arrival, and we are asked a series of questions about if we’ve recently tested positive, recently traveled, or recently had symptoms/have been around someone with symptoms. All students are required to wear face masks at all times, and they even changed our class time so the the classes would be more staggered.
The First Day of Classes
On the first day of classes, we walked in to a kitchen with three big bags on each workspace. I’ll detail everything that was in those bags in a future post, but just know, I felt like a kid in a candy store! Literally, every kitchen tool I could ever want and/or need were in those bags. The Chef introduced himself to us and then we went around the room and introduced ourselves. Like any first day of school, we went over what would be learning over the next 12 months (which is the length of my course). We also got to practice knife skills. I was so thrilled that we would get to be working so quickly. That entire first day was the first time in my life where I felt present, and where I felt a sense of “this is where I am supposed to be”. I still feel like that every single time I walk into that kitchen.
Day to Day Tasks
We are currently six weeks in at culinary school. There are five modules in my school and each module is broken down into three courses. So far we have covered:
- food safety,
- how to make different sized knife cuts,
- how to identify herbs and spices,
- how to make stocks,
- how to fabricate (butcher/break down) fish, shellfish, poultry (chickens and ducks), beef, veal, pork, rabbit and lamb
- how to make a white, blonde & brown roux,
- how to clarify butter,
- how to make the 5 mother sauces
We start every class off with knife skills, dicing potatoes, carrots, onions, shallots, mincing garlic, etc. Then we move on to the lesson of the day. I honestly cannot believe how much new information I’ve learned and retained over the last six weeks.
What I learned in Culinary School is….
If you know me, you know that I LOVE to share every and anything that I learn, and that will not stop when it comes to what I learn in school. I’m bringing whole new section to the blog where I’ll share my experience while in Culinary School, and show you the best tips and tricks you can use in the kitchen. There is so much in store for The Daily Speshyl, and I can’t wait to bring you new delicious recipes, help you gain more confidence in any kitchen, & fall a little more in love with cooking everyday.