Monday, November 9, 2009

First Gourmet Dinner

I meant to write in here about a month and a half ago and kept pushing it off. Once I start typing you'll understand why.
You see, at the end of September we had our first gourmet dinner. No managers, just using previous dishes that Chef Dowie loves. I was super nervous going into it because I've only viewed these from a first-year server perspective. Just watching the tense and vital plate-up session is enough to send anyone running (experienced or not). I volunteered for the intermezzo which was a grape sorbet of some sort. As we were going through the menu and volunteering, I realized mine wasn't all that labor-intensive, at all actually. So I ended up working on the dessert course with one of my classmates. It was a tres leches cake- which I love, and have made a few times at work. It wasn't nearly as bad as I was making it out to be, especially since desserts are my strongpoint. We followed the recipe and made a few changes per Chef Dowie. Once the batter was complete we tasted it to check our product. Very cinnamon-y, but very good. We baked off the cakes and then poured our milk mixture ontop and let it soak up all the goodness. The next day we were working on it some more and talking about how it tasted more cinnamon-y than all the other weeks they made it. I heard Chef Dowie and my classmate say how they thought it was weird that we only used .75 (? measurement) of cinnamon when we were doubling it. I spoke up and said "it has a one in front of it"- we used 1.5. I guess she told us to double when we weren't supposed to. THAT explains it! She said I should have spoke up, but it was her fault. No one else seemed to mind it though. We garnished with fresh fruit, shaved chocolate flowers (that we made), mint, and whip cream!
At the end of the day when Chef was signing our competencies sheet and I was the last one in the room, she told me I was a natural and looked very comfortable in the kitchen. It made my day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fall 2009 Classes

While I wish I could update you on all the happenings of my life as of late, I simply don't have the time. I would like to tell you what classes I will be enduring this fall semester:

Dining Management- taught by this older woman whose cooking experience stops at microwaving popcorn the class is about people, sales and profit as it pertains to the food and beverage industry. She has lots of chain restaurant experience so I know she knows her stuff, she just finds herself too darn hilarious to get very far in one 2-hour lecture per week. Not to mention her hand out fonts are large enough to see from one end of the lecture hall to the other.

International Cuisine Lecture- learning about different countries and the types of cuisine they have to offer. We've only met once and we've already learned a fistful of French vocab words. Prepping us for January when we have 25 French chefs and their spouses over here, I suppose.

Purchasing- taught by the most down-to-earth Chef and going over some of the items we simply touched on in Menu Planning. For this class we will also have a huge project so that will bring its own stresses I'm sure. Otherwise we will be learning how to properly order food and products for an establishment.

Culinary Skills Development- cooking in the student-run bistro inside the ICI building that is open to the public. Each sectioned group of students is responsible for coming up with a buffet that will change weekly as well as a complete menu that remain for their three weeks reign of the kitchen. All the recipes are thought of and executed by the group of students. Basically, it's putting all of our skills and practices into order to see if we can execute appropriately.

Dining Room Service- the service end of bistro at ICI. Where one side of it is the cooking aspect, we must also learn how to serve tables in an appropriate and professional manner. Easy for some (like me) who work in restaurants and do this sort of thing every day, not so easy for others. The positions range from server, host, cashier, manager, expo, dishwasher and busser.

Lastly I have International Cuisine- this "class" is not only helping execute three gourmet dinners but also managing a specific nationality-themed dinner. In my case, Mediterranean. Managing means we must find every recipe we wish to use (after researching the history and typical dishes of that region),we must order our food from suppliers, we come up with plating techniques for each dish and how we want it to be garnished, and then we must relay all of our knowledge and hard work onto the others working that specific dinner and have them be our hands of the operation. It's really intense, and lucky me- I'm first! As in, I have a month to do all the above! No pressure, yeah?

So that is my semester, along with work (as usual) in which I still manage to work 5-6 nights a week. To sum it up, if you're not in my classes or alongside me at work, you probably never see me. Sad, but true. My life is consumed with busyness but such is the life of a second year culinary student!

Friday, August 21, 2009

One year down, one to go.

My twenty days of summer are nearly complete. It seems like just yesterday I was baking off the perfect baguette for my bakery final, getting docked 5% on my Food Prep II Final for talking, and completing my first year of culinary school. I hope to go back and write more on my last days of first year but right now my life is consumed with work. Lots of changes going on so I have a lot of my mind as well, which has been nice having the time off from school. But on Wednesday, August 26th that will all change. Soon I will be yet again juggling a practically full-time job with full-time culinary status. Not to mention trying to maintain a semi-normal social life and enough time to sleep :-)

Friday, July 24, 2009


No matter how proud or good of a student you are, always listen to your teacher (or in my case, chef). I remember the beginning of summer classes and debating whether or not to stay in my menu planning class because of all the outside work. I ended up staying in it because I figured there was no way it would really require THAT much time. hahaha, oh boy was I wrong! I've been working off and on this project ever since he gave it to us, but only really dived in about 2 weeks ago finalizing my menu and figuring out the costs of each ingredient used. Then over the last three days I have been nonstop working on detailing the menu according to our book, marking up the costs to get my selling cost, and finishing my twelve page business plan.
Having just completed the last step of this project (a short speech in which we "sell" our restaurant)--I feel complete relief. Yes, my pricing is probably off, but considering the limited time- I'm quite happy with my menu and concept. For my financial stability paragraph I put that my family used to live in Italy and we sold our land and moved to America to open a restaurant based on my grandmother's dying wishes (haha). I thought about going up for my speech and being like "yeeeeeeeah, I'm secretly rich. I'm funding myself." I figured that wouldn't go over too well....

Anyways, the top pictures are of items I've made lately in my baking class. This coming Wednesday is the last day for that class :-(. Anyways- Chef Easter has been out because he had a stroke, but a former student (Julie) and Chef O'Brien aretaking over for him. We've had a lot of fun making the above items as well as some not pictured. The left picture is of whole wheat loaf bread, white loaf bread, and my BABY (aka sourdough that I developed for seven days). The right picture is almond poppseed muffins & golden raisin currant scones.

In Garde Manger we attempted to make sausages (which I will never eat again). We did everything up to the grinding for the sausage before one of the teams managed to break both of our working grinders. Oh, and this was only after every other group had gone. So therefore, not knowing exactly when the blade edges wore off- we had to throw away all the sausage.....except ours! haha, that's what we get for being patient I suppose. So then we were using the big buffalo grinder and that worked but Chef Boetel managed to short that out right before we could case the meat. Needless to say, we went home early this day :-)

Food Prep 2 has changed since I last blogged. Chef Carey no longer instructs us (which is something I never thought I'd be sad to say). Instead, Chef Miller took over and we are doing demonstrations. This means that he'll give us a recipe the week before, he'll demo it the day of, and then we copy what he did and produce the same thing. Last week we had a delicious Sauteed Chicken with Supreme Sauce and Glazed Carrots. I received at 85/100 because he said it wasn't seasoned quite enough and that my chicken was a tad overcooked (my thermometer stopped working). Then this week we made Beef Stew rimmed with Whipped Potatoes. I received a 90/100 this time only both items needed more seasoning. I've decided I'm going to start arguing with him (advice from a book I'm reading) about his "complaints" on my food. I seasoned the heck out of that stew. It says a pinch and I "pinched" about ten times (no joke). So now, anytime we make something I'm going to season it to my liking and then add double. I wonder if there's something wrong with his taste buds....eating 85 different student's stews can do that to ya, right?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pacific Northwest

I don't even know where to begin on updating you on my life's happenings.
Honestly, I did not expect summer school to go this quickly. Sure eight weeks is a short amount of time to learn a semester's worth of information- but I have learned a TON and the semester is not even over yet. In Food Prep II we just completed making all five mother sauces. Each one proved to have its own difficulties.
Hollandaise- sure enough my very first time making it, it curdled. I tried my best to save it (as did Jimmy) but in the end I had to toss it an start over. Luckily it was a quick recovery and my next attempt proved to be successful. This sauce tasted good, but only in moderation. It's very very rich in butter.
Bechamel- my personal favorite. It took forever to stir, about 45 minutes, but in the end this was hands down the best tasting of all the sauces.
Veloute- my mortal enemy. Seriously, I was working on this sauce the whole time while my classmates breezed on to their third sauce of the day (this was my first). Finally, two slurries later and about an hour and a half later- Chef said it was complete.
Espagnole- Not what I imagined when I thought of brown sauce. Very red in complexion up until we sent it through the sieve in which it then looked brown (true to its name afterall!). At the beginning stages when you're browning the roux it look like stuffing at Thanksgiving time...haha, though I doubt it would taste remotely good.
Tomato- 2nd favorite of mine, it tasted delicious despite being a combination of about 12 students' sauces. It required a lot of time (2 hours in the oven) and constant to prevent ending up with a black tomato sauce, but it was good
In baking we had a "feed the baby" project in which over a period of seven days we take away and add to a levain (or sourdough starter). Today is actually day 7 for me so I'm taking mine a week late and cooking my baby off :-) since I was out of state. We also got to make croissants and danishes which have very rich doughs and lottsa butta!
Garde Manger we have made sandwiches, condiments, crackers, and pickles. Today I personally made a dried apricot relish and sweet coin pickles. Both of which are really good (I can tell already). The pickles take three days to...well, pickle and the relish takes a day. Throughout the week we get to check up on our product (aka sample). We also got in two fresh Ivory Salmon from Seattle that weighed 32Lbs together. They were ginormous! We all got to help scale the fish, fillet it, de-bone it, and scoop out the insides for salmon tar-tar. We grilled one after a short cold brine and it was freakin' awesome. Like 5x better than your normal salmon. The other three fillets we are going to smoke later on in the week.
Menu Planning is getting close to the due date. I finally have a feasible menu (kinda) with all items except five. It is indeed a lot of work and I have two short weeks to complete it all so here's to hoping I can complete it and complete it well.
My recent trip to Seattle gave me some very good insight as that is actually the location for the restaurant that I had in mind. In going there I realized Seattle is a very populated area and has a tooooooon of food options available to the many tourists and locals. Therefore, I decided to instead focus on surrounding cities that are on the rise. I also was able to visit a few restaurants and get ideas. Tutta Bella was probably the largest contributor. I realized that despite their good food and hyped up restaurant, I do not want to be like that. Much too small and not at all the atmosphere I envisioned for my place. Instead, I'm beginning to toy with incorpating something similar to another restaurant, Melting Pot into my Italian restaurant theme. It'll be interesting to see how it all fuses together.
Seattle was indeed awesome and I looved my time there hanging out with my APU friend Alison, hanging with my sister on three different days, and even meeting up with another APU friend, Kevin. I saw a bunch of what Seattle has to offer and I would love to live there someday! Definitely recommend going there any chance you get. Oh and it did not rain one single day I was there (and I was there for 10 days)!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Artsy Fartsy

You're looking at my latest Garde Manger creations! I have to admit...when I heard we were carving fruits and veggies for this class- I was super nervous especially as she stated that the artistically gifted would appreciate this most. I have never taken an art class and am an AWFUL artist... we're talking stick people here. So she shows this super intimidating movie where the chef is carving masterpieces within seconds and then she send us to work. Luckily she was super chill about it and just wanted us to be practicing and be as creative as possible. My products actually turned out really well and I was happy with my results. Looks like I'm more artistic with a knife and food than I am with a pen and paper.
So school has been getting better. I think the decreased "lecture" times and more "labs" helps a lot. It's hard sitting in a classroom all day trying to stay awake- actually using our hand and creating stuff in the kitchen can keep anyone awake. This week we have Boys State over in Camp Dodge at the military base. There are three seperate kitchens and we are assigned two days in which we prepare 3 meals a day for hundreds of teenage boys. Each individual kitchen only serves about 100-200 so really it's not as bad as I originally thought. Today we had to go on site and finish cleaning the kitchens and then actually got to feed some of the counselors that are there already. It was short and quite fun actually. During one of our breaks we threw together a game of kickball. I'm hoping that my group and I later in the week can manage to get along and function at five in the morning and survive til eight at night.
Other interesting happenings at culinary school:
I sauteed and ate my very first foie gras. It was crazy because our professor showed us this graphic video of how the duck liver is acquired (let's just say forcefed and electricity) and then she wants us to go into the kitchen and eat it!? Everyone but me liked it. The taste I could handle, the texture was a whole other story.
We also made homemade mozzarella in this class and it was super good!
Unfortunately I haven't had baking since my last post. Of all the classes- why must the one I love most be delayed?
In Food Prep 2 we've been preparing for boys state. Made brownies last week and managed to get my chef's jacket covered in batter thanks to Cody. Needless to say- the stains still have not come out (yeah...not a happy camper). Made chicken stock in this last class and it was really fun though time consuming. Smoked up some pork to take to boys state for bbq sandwiches.
I decided to stay in my Menu Planning class. I am slightly behind the rest of the group at the moment though. I have a restaurant name, location, concept and all that good stuff. I even have a few recipes picked out. I have yet to decide which recipes I will really use, how to cost it all, and properly researching some of my basic concepts (i.e. trademarking my name, researching demographics of prospective location, etc). It is indeed a lot of work but I'm finding it very beneficial.
It may be another week before I blog again. With boys state going on, classes are cancelled. Woot woot.

Friday, May 29, 2009

2nd Semester

Only three days of summer school have gone by and I'm already counting down the classes and waiting for them to be over with. Sure, I'm finally finally FINALLY in baking which I have been looking forward to since the day I decided to attend culinary school, buuuuut waking up at 7 AM four days a week and sitting through hours of lecture, trying my best not to fall asleep, is really hard!
On Wednesday I had baking. We started out going over the syllabus and then proceeded onto some of the basic principles and laws of the bakeshop (i.e. we call them formulas and not recipes) and then came the fun part...going over the history of bread starting from 10,500 years ago and working our way to present day. Yeah, let's just say that on page four my page has a mark from where I drooled on it. Haha yes, I fell asleep in my very first summer class right as we were talking about Baron Zang introducing the poolish pre-ferments into French bread production. Although I did fall asleep or fight sleep most of this part of class, I still learned quite a lot. As Chef Easter says, "bread is life, bread is power," and the history of bread is very evident of this. Next after a short break to allow us to properly wake up from our naps, Chef took us into the kitchen and started going over the basic tools we would be using for the day in our production of baguettes. After having a slight problem with remembering how to use a baker's scale, my partner Katie and I completed making our dough by hand and placed it into the proofer before going off to lunch. Upon returning we were instructed to do certain folds at certain times and to allow rest in the proofer for various lengths of time. While we waited, Chef Easter demonstrated the various parts of a grain (endosperm, germ, bran) using his finger and a table covered in flour as his white board. We learned about patent and clear flours and the various other types of flours extracted all from the same grain. Our dough completed its necessary proofing time and then we scaled it into 18oz pieces, rounded it into three rounds, allowed it to rest, then formed into the actual baguette shape, panned, slit the tops, and finally handed it over to Chef as he put it into this fancy stone hearth oven. The result? Amazing baguette bread that my family all devoured within the same day. Only had time to drop off my baguette, change, eat lunch, and then drive to work.
Thursday I had Food Prep 2 class in which Chef Carey simply went over the syllabus and then Chef Anderson came in and we talked about Boys State for a long time. After he left we had to read a whole chapter to ourselves and it took forever, everyone was falling asleep. Afterward we went over what we read and discussed the conversion formula used to shrink or expand recipes. Luckily we got out of class around 11:30 so I was able to come home, eat lunch, take a nap, and then go to work (after a slight delay due to no oil in my car).
Today (Friday) I had Menu Planning from 8-11:15. It is going to be a VERY intense class as we have to construct our own business plan which is about 12 pages minimum and then we also have to create a menu with a minimum of 29 items in which we have recipes for and have evaluated the cost of not only the total end product but also supplies. Chef Carey said it's going to take about 40 hours a week outside of class to work on.
So 28 hours a week for classes. 40 hours a week for "real" work. and then another 40 hours a week for this project alone. Are there even that many hours in the week!? Sheesh- I really hope I survive this all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

With power comes responsibility

Ever since turning 21, I’ve been given a lot of responsibilities. Way more than I ever could have imagined in fact. I had no intention of ever becoming a manager, and it never crossed my mind even when I constantly joked with Matt that I could take over the whole store. So it’s been over a month since I’ve been one of the managers at our store. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface in everything I need to know. I want to know how to do every single aspect of the store and I wish I knew it all already! I grow impatient with myself just as much (if not more) than Ryan already does. So I guess I was doing a pretty good job working over in the café and, when Laura quit, Josh asked me to take over her position as well. So goodbye market side of the store- hello café! I live there six days a week now. It is a completely different atmosphere and I like it at times (when Ryan or one of the chefs isn’t yelling at me or I’m not screwing up orders). On Thursday I ran registers in the café for the first time and boy was it stressful! I had constant lines of like 10 people and I’d take their order (pretty efficiently) but then wouldn’t have time to pour their glasses of wine so they’d get that really late or a smoothie for example. Ryan was managing that night and he had to come over to help us for awhile and he kept getting mad at me saying “strike one” or “strike two.” I gave up trying to be perfect a long time ago so I was just like “is it possible to strike out in one night?” Oh this was also the night I got in trouble for Tuesday night when I locked the doors five minutes early and Debra ratted on me. Ryan said that if it happens again I’ll no longer be a manager. I tried to explain the situation but as Matt told me later on, not the best idea. I guess Ryan doesn’t like to hear explanations; he just wants to hear “okay it won’t happen again.” And Matt was also telling me that when he came back from Campbell’s that people were out to get him and he related that to how Debra is trying to sabotage my manager job. I feel like I’m bending over backwards for this place and it is never good enough for them. There are moments when I feel accomplished and proud and there are other moments that often outweigh the good ones, when I just want to bawl and walk out. And in a few short days I will not only have all this loveliness but also summer school to deal with. Let’s pray for survival, shall we.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Moving up up UP

<--- the fam at Easter

Ah. To blog with no motives. Such a great and new thing for me.
I have officially been out of school for a week now and I'm starting to go crazy. Sure, I work 6 days this week, but what about all the other time I'm not at work. I need a purpose to my life and sleeping in until 11 is great, but I feel useless (as I have been recently told I am).
*Note to self: never ever EVER call someone useless.
Anyways, so since mid-April I have been acting as a manager-in-training at my store Gateway Market in West Des Moines. This just means that on one or two nights a week I close the whole store. So I check employees out before they leave, I stock and face everything, maintain the appearance of an exceptional store, answer questions (or redirect them to another manager at a later date), and take care of all the cash and sales of the day. At first it was overwhelming but it's beginning to become easier. It can be tough at times, when fellow employees turn on you, but for the most part I'm very blessed to be in this position at such a young age. Today I also found out that I will become a cafe supervisor. So this means that my jobs include the following:
-MOD (manager on duty)
-cafe clerk
-cafe supervisor
-market cashier
-catering server
and I still have a lot to learn. It's a very stretching experience but will be very beneficial in the long run.
School starts May 27th- let's just hope I can maintain 10 units and a full-time job during the summer :-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

not so Umami

Did you know that aside from bitter, salty, sweet, sour there is also another sense on your taste buds called Umami which just means overall savory.
Anyways, this blog is twofold, or bittersweet in terms of sensory glands.

This week I had one last final which I got a A on. The same class (Food Prep 1) lab part of the class I ended up getting an A as well. Now this is the class final lab that I thought I absolutely failed miserably. I ended up getting a B on that! A miracle, I know. He said the only problems with my products was that my biscuits were tough and my cheese rarebit was too thin. Oh and I got 50 points deducted for being late in turning in my product. I am so happy right now because I seriously thought I had failed.

*I never did tell the story about the final exam, did I? Well I had two hours to complete the following products:
-broccoli with cheese rarebit sauce
-chicken a la king
-baked custard
I was so elated not to have the godforsaken Orange Charlotte on my list, I can't even explain.
So I started cutting up all my vegetables and putting stuff in bowls so I could just dump them in when needbe. I ended up cooking my baked custard first and then it got to cool off in the fridge the rest of the time so that was no problem. Then I fabricated my chicken (woot woot) and started simmering it while I made my biscuits. I cooked my biscuits and took them out after about 15 minutes and so those were complete now too. I then made my rarebit sauce and let it sit on the double boiler as I worked on my chicken a la king now. Somehow the 30 minutes til service called turned into the "you have five minutes before I take what you have" call. Yeah-NOT a good sign. I threw everything together, not even measuring anymore since Chef was out of the room. I threw a few sprigs of herbs on for a garnish and presented my products. Seriously, I don't know why I have the inability to complete tasks in time! And it only seems to be for the important days like midterms and finals. Every other day I'm fine- but not on the most important ones. So needless to say, I thought I had failed because he said four people were okay and three were not. And I was the third to last person to turn my products in. WHEW! but I made it!

Then this week I've had two certification exams. One was for ServSafe (or Sanitation and Safety) and one was for ManageFirst (or Nutrition). Both were actually pretty decent so I think I find out in a week how I did.
Today I went in to school at 12:15 and just had to clean for an hour to get an easy 100 points for lecture and I am officially done with spring semester!!!!! I have finished my first semester of culinary school! And now I have 21 days until it all starts again.

So that's my good news.

On the other hand, my dad had some tests done last week because they found a suspicious spot. Today we found out that his cancer has returned. After battling it for the past year and then being cancer free for a few short months, it has returned...worse than before. He was in stage 3 last year and now it's in stage 4. My mom says its sovereign timing because she no longer has a job so now she can take care of him and take him to his chemo treatments once a week. What happened before was that he had cancer in his appendix and it burst. So technically he doesn't have an appendix to have cancer, but all the yummy juices of it are still floating around in what the doctors call like a balloon.
Last time he was taking chemo he ended up having bleeding in his brain and had to have a really serious brain surgery. So there are all these questions of if it will have the same negative effects it did last time or if they would have completed the chemos the first time around- would it have come back? I try not to think about it, but to just accept it. It's hard. Harder then I make it out to be at times.
So that's my update as of now. I know it wasn't public knowledge to all my friends before about my dad's situation, but this time I'm realizing it helps to have people know and not keep all these feelings to myself.

jen žít

Monday, May 4, 2009

The long awaited fabricating story

The four pictures you see above are the last ones ever from food prep 1 lab. Since I am about a month overdue in my blogging, I'm cramming them all into one blog. I apologize, but as my old boss always said "it is what it is". Oh, speaking of my old boss- I went to a new restaurant the other night with my friend and it turns out it's in the exact same place where I used to work (Kin Noodles Pasta Shoppe). It was weird at first, but it's a really fancy Thai place now and I hope they do well, unlike us.
So since I last posted we've been diving into the meat section of the course with full force. After the dry heat section (kabobs in my previous post), we moved onto moist heat, poultry, and seafood. In the moist heat lab I prepared the last picture (bottom right) of stuffed yams that I made a pecan streusel for and leg of lamb. This was my first time tasting lamb, let alone cooking it- so it was an interesting experience and I actually liked it. Oh and my yams were bomb!
The next section of lab was the start of poultry and in this lab I made chicken kiev (bottom left picture). Got to use the frier for the second time after breading up the stuffed chicken. It was really good! The next poultry section I made chicken a la king (top left picture). Boy! Talk about a lot of work. It took the whole time in lab to produce and honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of it. It just tasted like biscuits and gravy with chicken and pimentos in it. ALMOST FORGOT! This was the lab that I fabricated my first chicken! What is fabricating you may ask? Well you see- it's the not-so-gory way of saying cutting up a chicken. Had to hold the chicken under running water to rinse it off, picking off any pinfeathers. Then carry it over to your cutting board and hold it by the neck, cut down along the backbone on one side, then along the other. Throw that junk away. Then turn the chicken over and pull it open, cut along the breastbone in the middle and then pull out with your hand. Cut chicken in half. Then karate chop it into fourths. Use your finger to guide along the joints and cut into eighths. It was scary at first but now I'm a chicken fabricating pro!! lol.
The last section of lab was seafood. I was slightly disappointed to only have one day to work with seafood but oh well. I signed up for shrimp creole (top right picture) and it was pretty easy to make. That day once everyone was done I got to try the following for the first time ever : shrimp (sad, I know), tuna steaks, lobster tail, and cod I believe. It's funny because all the items I tried didn't really have the fishy flavor that I am always so scared of. What have I been running from?!
I think this will have to suffice for now. I am going to hold off on talking about my final lab disaster until I have my individual conference with Chef Easter tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

shoot. bang. dead.

Today was the day I intended to inform you of all (or most) of my happenings.

But NO.

Instead, I must race to get ready and eat before going into work. I guess it's "crazy busy" today and they need me in three hours early to help.
Shoot. This was supposed to be my studying for finals time. Now I won't have any time before I actually have my final. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot.

I'll leave you with a picture though. Of this crazy alien-looking house at the top of my street.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

That went by fast

So I meant to do part 2 of the whole California trip the day after that first post....BUT that didn't happen (obviously). Really I don't have a good excuse as to why I haven't been blogging. I've had the last 2 week off work because they "haven't had hours" for me besides weekends. To anyone else this would be cherished, but me...I hate it. It makes me feel lazy. Sure my feet aren't in pain like usual and my legs don't feel like giving in at any second- BUT that's the sign of a good day for me. Work is my social outlet and I haven't had it for 2 weeks practically.
I HAVE been looking forward to one day the last few weeks and that's Wednesday. I have one class from 8-9:30 and then the rest of the day off work and school. So I always drive out to Altoona to get a treatment and then spend the rest of the day with my grandma. It's great. Not only to get away from homework, school, and work but also technology for the most part. Her computer is ancient and I usually turn my cell phone on silent so it's just the two of us (and oftentimes the tv). We take walks, nap, go out to eat, watch Wheel of Fortune, and lately have been cooking supper together. Two weeks ago was probably the best. We went grocery shopping that day and picked up a pork loin, asparagus, red potatoes, and apples. So so soooooo GOOD! I took a picture of it all on my plate before I devoured it.

The next picture is of the steak kabobs I made about a week ago in lab. I was a little wary about them since they were supposed to be to the raw stage inside but either way it was good. The last lab class (Thursday), I made bbq pork ribs and jackstraw eggplant and it was delicious. Everyone devoured it which is surprising because I was the last one to bring my product in and it was enough to feed a large family (if not small village). Everyone's a BIG fan of the meat section that we are in. Next week is poultry and then we have seafood and I think we're on to finals after that! Scary right!? You're telling me. I have to get ready to make any 4 combinations of the 18 things we've done!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The picture on the top left is a piece of chocolate flourless cake that I decorated special for one of the employees at our store. The picture on the right is a cream puff that we made in class right before we left for spring break. They turned out perfect and were absolutely delicious! I'm definitely going to be making them again!
In OTHER news, I just got back from 8 glorious days in Cali-forn-I-A! I've been planning this nonsensical trip since the fall actually. Started looking at driving back then too and have been having a hard time trying to convince my parents I was capable of doing it on my own. After, at least 3 different friends (and being rejected each time due to various excuses), I was giving up on the idea altogether. I began looking into plane tickets seriously again the week before I was planning to leave (genius, right?). I almost bought a ticket on Sunday night, the week I was planning to leave. I held off, and asked one last friend, and she said she'd get back to me by the next day. Sure enough, the next day she texts me saying she can come!!! I start figuring out all the details, checking weather in the states we'll be going through, and am absolutely elated. Unfortunately there was also a bunch of stuff due for culinary school that week so I was having to focus most of my attention there and wasn't able to pack until the very day I left. About 2 hours before, to be exact. So then I shove a grilled cheese down my throat, throw my stuff in my car, and drive to my friends to pick her up. We get on the road around 4:30 and drive straight through (what can I say- I was excited to surprise my friends)! Drove through boring ol' Nebraska and then got into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in the wee hours on the morning (not a great idea), drove through beautiful Utah during the sunrise, Vegas during lunch, and finally sunny California for the remainder of the trip. We arrive the next day (albeit after about 30 stops just for me to pee), at 3:30pm California time.....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Continued Chaos

Albeit the weather is better (no snow), March has really been kicking my butt.
Lots of injuries in the kitchen.
Lots and lots of driving (and reaching new speeds).
Lots of stress.
And very little time for much else.
Honestly, I don't even remember when it all began but I've had at least three really bad days in the last week. One was over the weekend at work where I had an emotional meltdown. I can't even remember what day it was but I just broke down. It was awful and I felt like going home, not talking to anybody, and going to bed. Oh and last Monday I slept through my first class. Great for my weary body but not great for my grade!
Then started out pretty well actually. I went to school and went to my first class where we calibrated our thermometers and drank ice water (or at least I did). We learned about receiving shipments and using the different kind of thermometers out there. After class I realized that I forgot to bring the cheese I signed up for to class by 2:30. So I went home and had about two hours of downtime. I watched Heroes, did my mise en place, and study guide questions...then it was time to go. I started driving until I got on the interstate and realized I had forgotten to grab my cheese (yet AGAIN)! So I sped up trying to figure out what I should do. Passing a cop who had someone pulled over, I got to about 70 mph and decided to try to make it back home to grab my cheese. After I took the exit I realized it was a bad move and I didn't have enough time to go home AND make it to class on time. So then I started planning how to get back on track. Yeah, I ended up wasting about 10 minutes trying to get headed in the right direction and then everyone was going sooo slow (take in account I was also going WELL above the speed limit)! Oh and of course I got every single red light once I got to my exit. All the student parking was full so I parked in the forbidden faculty lot and literally sprinted to my lab. I got there and the door was locked so I knocked. A Chef standing out in the hall told me to go around so I did and right as I got to the door our instructor was shutting it so I squeezed in real quick. WHEW! Made it! Five minutes late, but I made it. She had me write down "late" on my paper so the Chef would know (we had a sub for the day). Anyways so today we made biscuits and muffins. I did my blueberry muffins first and they were real easy to make and then I stuck them in the oven. I've never made biscuits before but it was equally as easy. My muffins didn't set up quite right and I have two theories:
1. The substitute chef told me to grease and SUGAR the pan before putting in the muffin batter. This may have been okay (I've never tried it before) but I'm not sure I used enough, plus I think she sabotaged me.
2. The door of the oven was opened too much and the product didn't brown enough.
Anyways, it turns out that "according to her sheet", I overmixed my muffin batter and in return got the pale tops and "soggy bottoms". They tasted good at least and she only took off 5 points out of 35.
My biscuits were perfect, though I critiqued them more than she did (haha) and I got 35/35.
BUT as I was cleaning up and messing with my muffins in the oven to see if they'd cook more, I got burnt (again). I swear, all the scars I will acquire in the program will be permanent reminders. We got done in lab around 2 and then I had to speed home, grab my cheese, and then speed back. I technically got there 2 mintues past the deadline but Chef wasn't there so hopefully he won't know. haha so that is the stress of my life right now!

Since the biscuits and muffin are pretty standard looking I do have a picture from last Thursday's lab where I made Rice with Chicken. It includes a converted rice that is browned in the pan, diced tomatoes, green peppers, and some spices.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March Madness

March has not been treating me well, to say the least.
Monday I woke two hours late and missed my first class of the day. As I was racing my way to my second class I spilled pomegranate juice on my white chef's jacket and so I had to turn around immediately in order to treat it and change. Then at work that night I burnt two of my fingers pretty badly when I had to retrieve a ladle out of the soup for a customer. Later as I ate some of the soup, I burnt my tongue (more so than usual).
Then yesterday in lab when we were preparing our rice and pasta dishes, I reached into the sink to start rinsing the pots and I burnt my finger like none other. Seriously, ridiculous pain and it wrinkled the skin on my finger and blistered.

In other GOOD news, I'm getting an A in both my lab and lecture class for Food Prep I. Registration for summer school starts next week. Four 8-hr classes sounds fun, right? I've never been in school during the summer so it is going to be quite interesting to say the least. But it's required so what can you do- ya know?

Here is a picture of one of my projects at work this last weekend. We had a sponge cake that had been sitting in the freezer since the summer so instead of throwing it away I made a two-layer tres leches cake and divided it into just enough pieces for everyone on staff to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not a big fan of the dreaded midterm

Food Prep 1 Lab Midterm came....and went. Though, not fast enough. Well okay, maybe a little too fast. Five minutes to be exact. But let me preface this by saying that about an hour before the midterm I went into panic mode. I started cramming in the 24 different types of lettuce/salad greens (Escarole, Loose-leaf, Bibb, Boston, Frisee, Belgian Endive,Watercress, Arugula, Mache, Mizuna, Treviso....just to name a few)! Identifying the different greens/veggies/fruits ended up being the easiest part of the midterm. I then found out that my three products to produce in two hours would be: Cream of Cheese Soup, Fresh Fruit Salad, and Broccoli with Medium White Sauce. Instantly, I thought I had it made. Piece of cake....or so I thought. I started off making the Cream of Cheese Soup after grabbing every single pot, utensil, bowl, knife, measuring cup, etc. that I would need for these three items. So I start the soup, it took over an hour! Thus taking away from the time I needed for my other two products. I cut my broccoli and let it sit in a cold salt bath while I finished my soup. I managed to finish the soup with only one "speedbump." In grating cheese to put into the soup at the end, I screwed up the amount of cheese needed. Thankfully, the guy across from me said something before it was too late. Risky move on his part (there was to be no talking today), but very VERY much appreciated. So I finished the soup and let it sit in a double boiler as I made my white sauce. While my sauce did its thing I started getting the broccoli ready to go and my fruit plate as well. At this point I think I had half an hour left. Let's just say I was high-tailing it along folks. So in the course of half an hour I managed to: burn my tongue, trip over everything, scald my hands, cut my finger, and run around frantically looking for a "china cup." Oh, and not to mention being five minutes late on presenting it to Chef Easter. I'm not sure how many points are going to be deducted for that but I wasn't too happy. I'm glad I finished but I could have easily spared five minutes of washing dishes earlier in the 2 hr-rush, and made it on time. If only- right? I was the last one to turn it in and had no clue how any of it tasted. Luckily, it all tasted really good and I got everything done. I just need to work on my time-management skills.
So since I was five minutes late I definitely did not have time to take a picture, let alone have my phone on I decided to improvise. Hope you like it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Potage. Sopa. Suppe.

I apologize for my ten day hiatus. Unfortunately, my phone decided to be retarded and delete my picture of broccoli with medium white sauce that I prepared for lab on Tuesday. It was delicious though, take my word for it.
I do have a picture of Thursday's lab results though. It was soup day. I got to make my very first roux and everything. My soup was "Chicken Velvet Soup" and I did not feel prepared at all going into this class. We had a substitute teacher who was ridiculously anal. We weren't allowed to leave any excess pots/utensils on the table, she deducted points for using parsley, and she kept making me mess up. Seriously, Chef Easter kind of just lets us do our own thing- and this lady was on all of our backs. My first mistake of the day was measuring the chicken base in terms of tablespoons instead of teaspoons. Then later on I measured 1/4 cup of pimentos instead of 1 teaspoon. Haha, great lab to screw up on! My final product came out tasting fine. A little floury tasting....but that could have had something to do with the other 10 soups I was trying at the same time. Oh and they were all cold by the time she let us eat. But hey, at least we got out early. My midterm is tomorrow, I'm starting to go into panic-mode. I have all my papers done, I'm just worried about properly timing everything. We have 2 hours to complete 3 randomly assigned products that we won't know what they are until we get there.

OH! And Thursday night I had gourmet dinner service. It was some Asian cuisine thing and it all smelled really delicious despite being mostly seafood. There was this soup that smelled amazingly of cinnamon, pistachio bread, and this great-looking salad. It was a nice small group of about 50 - so the night went really fast (9:15 or so). Not early enough to jet to the Tyrone Wells concert unforunately :-(

Friday, February 13, 2009

Potatoes & Pudding

Before I dive into my next three endless days of work, I just wanted to update you on my last Food Prep Lab. The first item I made was a twice baked potato. It was really easy to make and tasted soo delicious. I'm definitely saving that recipe.
Then I also had to make cocoa pudding. Once I had in on the stove it didn't seem to thicken up but finally Chef Easter came over and told me I could take it off. After it set up in the cooler and we got around to evaluation time, I realized that it was chewy. I mean, not horrible, but not like your everyday pudding.
BUT I did find out I'm get 100% in the class so far on all the stuff I've done to this point. It's exciting, but the hardest parts are yet to come (i.e. meats).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things are looking up

The pictures here on the right are of the two dishes I did today for lab. The LEFT is an apple-pineapple slaw and the RIGHT is a cardinal pear salad with cherry gelatin that wouldn't cooperate at all.

This morning did not start out well. I got to Sanitation and Safety lecture 1 minute late and missed a pop quiz that was worth 100 points. Then I had 2 hours of down time so I went to the computer lab and checked facebook + did my mise en place sheets for class. Then went to Food Prep lab were we did the above items, chowed down, and cleaned up. Then I had another 2 hours to kill before my next class started (hence the study-pic) so a friend and I went to the library and did some of our homework (amongst Culvers vs. Bbops arguments). Then I went to Nutrition, my final class of the day and it was hard to stay awake.

The other picture posted is of some cupcakes I made at work the other day. It took some time to perfect, but I finally got it down and I'm so proud of them :-)

Soooo, that was my day. But things around here are looking up. At least for the time being. We've been having 60 degree weather, which has caused a few to whip out the shorts. The sun has been out. I'm making friends. And I'm starting to get on top of my homework (finally). We'll see how long this lasts.....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Main Dish Salad Presentation

What you are looking at here is my very first food preparation lab presentation. We selected one main dish salad on Tuesday and then came in today to actually produce and present our product to Chef Easter. I picked chicken salad because....well, I LOVE it! It was quite a different recipe than what I am used to (it contained pimentos and sliced almonds), but in the end it tasted equally as good. I also had to make mayonnaise with two other students and didn't quite turn set up right, but oh well.
Producing was the easy part, once I got my hands on the cantaloupe and lettuce I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do or what would look nice with the large quantity of chicken salad I had. So I did what came to my mind at that moment. The first thing to come to me was the cantaloupe fan. I spent a while looking up online last night the many different ways of cutting a cantaloupe and then when I got down to it- I didn't pick any of them. I was also fretting over which kind of lettuce to use when he only ended up providing us with one choice anyway. Then once I had that all together I realized it looked a little bland so I had five minutes to figure out some little garnish. Ended up doing a stiff celery flower. I didn't have time to soak it in water so I cut the slivers into different heights, stuck it in the middle of my chicken salad and fanned it out a little to add the height aspect.
I'm very proud of my first lab and look forward to fruit salads next Tuesday....

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Caffeine Consumption Advisory

It feels like forever ago I've had a moment to breathe and it's not looking like it's going to let up anytime soon.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this last week I served the french gourmet dinner from 3 or 4-10pm every night. It involved wearing nice black pants and non-slip shoes, button up white shirt, vest and corresponding bow tie. THAT is why I felt like a penguin people! It was fun to meet a lot of the other culinary students but it was a lot of work and very tiring. Friday was awful. I worked from 6:30-2:30 and then had the gourmet dinner from 4-10:30 and got to come home, sleep, and then wake up at 6:30 to go to work for a lovely 13 hour shift. Yeah.....FUN! My feet, calves, thighs, arms, shoulders, neck, and back are throbbing with pain as all of these hours are spent standing up. I almost passed out friday night waiting for the guests to arrive. 16 hours in one day to be on your feet is noooo fun....lemme tell ya.
Thankfully tomorrow we close early so I don't have to work another 12 hour shift and instead I get to leave early, go get ready, and go to a work Superbowl party! I'm really looking forward to it- but I'm just trying to figure out when I can do my homework before Monday 8 am rolls around...

Word to the wise- it is not recommeded to consume the following items within one shift. I can attest to a HUGE increase in heart rate:
-1 hot chocolate with caramel marshmallows
-1 cafe mocha
-1 dr. pepper
-1 Bawls energy drink

Monday, January 26, 2009

My 2 cents

I'm sick of reading about feces, fungi, bacteria, mold, parasites, vomiting, diarrhea, and death.
Talk about depressing!
No wonder I don't eat seafood, I just got done reading the second chapter in my sanitation and safety book and I'm semi-horrified. Why risk it?

Also, I signed my life away on Thursday. I will conform to the culinary code. Haha, okay so maybe no big deal for me. But it's still kinda weird.
No visible tattoos, no earrings (at all), nails can't be longer than 1/4 of and inch, wearing the right color of things like that.
Oh and did you know that once you get your tongue pierced you lose 40% use of your taste buds? Chef Carey said you might as well switch professions now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

French Demos: Day 4

YOU GUESSED IT! Last day of demos which means my last day of blogging about them :-)
Today's menu was a walleye filet with mushroom caps and a red butter sauce
+ tomatoes stuffed with butternut squash
+nichoise...possible niçoise? (a finer cut ratatouille)

They started with reducing red wine, then adding shallots, sugar, corn starch, and butter. That was the "red butter sauce".
The nicoise consisted of egg plant, zucchini, red peppers, and onion.
The tomatoes were cherry and melon balled empty and then stuffed with a butternut squash filling.
And the walleye fillet just had salt, white pepper, egg, and mushroom caps tiled on the fish skin.

They had a sample of the walleye which was good (despite finding a bone) and then they also had the vanilla cherry mousse I was telling you about earlier. Unfortunately they did not chocolate our samples so we just got the mousse part but it was soo good, I barely missed the chocolate.

Today Jerome took over but there was a ton of down time so we got to ask a lot of questions about cultural differences and specifically how they run their restaurants. Jerome's restaurant opens at 7:30 and usually is open until 11:30. Fabien on the other hand is only open a few days and for strange hours. In France meals usually are spread out over the course of 4 hours (easily). Bans on smoking and alcohol restrictions have really cut the restaurant business down in France. A lot of people are suffering.
They believe that every meal must have bread and if the bread is not good- the whole meal suffers. Also, cheese is a staple (and we're not talking cheddar here folks)!
I almost wish we could have these demos all through the school year but then I wouldn't be able to put my hands to use with the knowledge I've acquired. It's been an interesting start to culinary school.

....à la prochaine...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

French Demos: Day 3

The day is over (in terms of chaos not hours).
This morning I opened and it wasn't bad- I just ran out of things to do.
Then I had to jet off to class/demo #3 and grab the quickest lunch possible via drive thru.
Got to the demo just in time and still managed to get a good seat. The demo was way more relaxed than every other day has been. Chef Fabien was the only one preparing today, so Chef Jerome just assisted and prepped for him. They also seemed to have figured out planning ahead as far as food and dishes were concerned. On today's menu was:
-Lobster Cannelloni
-Vanilla CHERRY mousse that they started on day 1 of demos.
They did go back and forth a few times but nothing ridiculous. They managed to prepare all parts of the lobster cannelloni before we even took our break so they allowed two students to go up and try their hand at decorating and garnishing a plate of it. Then they went on to complete the dessert and they showed us how they made caramel decorations with chocolate discs for the bottom of the mousse. The caramel decorations were pretty awesome. Jerome made "angel hair" out of it and made it look like a birds nest, and then Fabien made these crazy stretched out shapes.
The sample they had available today was the lobster cannelloni which was the following:
hollow pasta lined up in a row, salmon mousse spread on top, seasoned lobster tails.
These were then all rolled up like a poster and put into a steam oven. Then served with a pea cream and dry ham garnish.
It was actually good despite not being a seafood fan (at all). Lobster is not too fishy tasting or smelling so it wasn't as repulsive as I would have thought. I'm excited to get to try the dessert tomorrow! Mmmm...gotta love chocolate. Oh they used an electric spray (hose?) with chocolate in it to spray over the vanilla cherry mousse. It was an interesting process to see.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

French Demos: Day 2

It's 9:22 PM and I should be in bed. Ridiculous, I know, but I need to rest up for a busy day tomorrow. My work schedule this a little off- I am working the lovely opening shift which means I have to be there by 6:30 AM! That's hard enough as it is, but then I have to jet straight from work (early) and drive across town to go to school for day 3 of demos and then after that I have to go to my Sanitation and Safety Lab and learn what we're doing next week for the gourmet dinners. Which means I probably will not return home until a full 12 hours has passed. Like a weekend I suppose for me.
Anyways, today was day two of demos and I wanted to share just a tad bit about what the French chefs made today. Haha, I had to make sure to get their early and get the best seat possible because yesterday I couldn't see very well to copy the notes. Got there early, sat there awkwardly (I swear everyone else knows each other- it's very unsettling). Finally demos started and we found out today they would be making the entree + 3 appetizers. The entree was a pork tenderloin scaled with potatoes with a blinis of sweet potato (mini-pancakes in a sense). It tasted delicious!
The appetizers or garnishes were very ornate and took longer than the alotted time to complete. Over three hours! Along with the blinis of sweet potato, there was also candied tomatoes with escargots and a face french fry. I have to say, following along today was still difficult but not nearly as frustrating as yesterday. I suppose everything they did today made sense to me and was kind of common sense. Minus the whole escargot thing. We also tried this salmon rilletes thing that was in shot glasses. I had never even tried salmon before, but sticking to my previous post, I went for it. The base of the glass was the diced tomatoes, the middle layer: the actual salmon rilletes part, and then on top was a parsley mousse. Let me tell you--it was VERY good, and I can't even stand the smell of salmon (or so I thought).
We never got to try the fake french fry but it was just potatoes put into boiling water, peeled, mashed, seasoned, placed into square molds, and finally fried.
The candied tomatoes were not available yet either but they were tomates that were destemmed, boiled in water, peeled, cut in half, deseeded, cooked in the oven, seasoned, and then an escargot butter was added and they were shaped into balls to be breaded and fried.

Not gonna lie, when he said escargot I began to back out of the whole 'try everything' motto, I'm not anticipating that one....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

French Demos: Day 1

Imagine walking into a classroom full of students you don't know at all. After a few minutes have passed in awkwardness, the chef in charge starts demanding students to take off their jackets and/or hats and remove any non-approved beverage containers from the tables. He then goes on to briefly introduce the visiting French chefs and then the demonstration begins. Your eyes are met by those of two french men dressed in their whites along with one properly dressed woman standing on the side. As the minutes pass you come to understand her purpose in the demos. You see, these two men...the chefs visiting from France, they don't speak any English. She is there solely to translate. After introducing themselves (and of course waiting for the woman to translate), they begin to talk about what they will be making today in our first demo. A slide is placed up for all to see, the first words not even in English. Looking at the required paperwork for the day, I realize it is my responsibility to copy down the recipes given and write down some things I learned during the course of the demo this particular day. As I begin to print what words I can actually read and make out, the paper begins to move down and I hastily quicken my writing speed. All too soon I realize I am in for a crazy two and a half hours. I scribble what I can decipher and only then do I begin to actually listen to the French chefs (or the translator in this case) and watch to see what they are really doing. Turns out they're showing us how to make three things. #1 is a pear, cheese, bacon pastry. #2 is a vanilla creme mousse dessert. #3 is homemade marshmallow. After I have finally managed to write down all the recipes along with some interesting facts learned, I settle down and finally am open to the knowledge these chefs have chosen to impart on us all. The lesson was fascinating, albeit long and tiring as well. At the end we were fortunate enough to be able to sample the pastry and I have to say, it was pretty good, considering I had never tried cheese like that before. It was some cheese hard to find here but easily accessible in France, along the lines of bleu cheese I believe. I've decided I'm going to try (my best) to taste everything possible and not refuse something just because I've never had it or think I don't like it. Now is the time for my taste buds to flourish!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's beginning!

I have officially attended every class I will be going through the course of this long and time-consuming semester. Let me tell you a little bit about my classes.

1). Food Preparation I Lecture is a class learning the WHY aspect of cooking. I think it will be a useful class yet the lab aspect of it seems pretty intense. We have 2 hours after we pick a recipe to fully prepare, garnish, and serve a product to our professor and fellow students. We will be evaluated on the process of production, following the proper sanitation procedures, and serving the product at adequate temperatures, with proper plate temps as well ... and garnishing. Whew! That'll be fun!
2). Sanitation and Safety Lecture is learning all about how to avoid cross contamination, cooking/storing foods properly to meet standards/laws, and all the negative results that could occur if proper measures are not taken. I'm anticipating a lot of big words which will most assuredly go right over my head the instead they leave Chef Carey's lips. That's one way to put a group of college students to sleep at 8 am. The lab for this class is actually serving the gourmet meals during special events. No pressure right!? WRONG! At the end of this month we are serving at three meals for some large french gourmet thing. I honestly don't know- but there's nothing like being thrust into the hustle and bustle of it all, serving the pros of the industry!
3). Intro to Hospitality Services was exactly what I was NOT expecting. It's going to be FUN! We don't meet in a classroom and we do not have tests or quizzes. Instead, every class meeting we gather in the lounge and arrange our transportation to random restaurants/hotels/businesses throughout the area and get tours of how things are done. We have to do a write up after each one, but nothing more than two paragraphs.
4). And lastly we have Nutrition. This class to me (at least right now), sounds like a culinary "health" class, if you will. Doing some stuff with the food pyramid and all that jazz. It's crazy, but it prepares us for potential personal chef positions where we have to prepare specially for our employer.

So yes, those are my classes. I'm sure each one will provide its own headaches, trials, and victories as the semester rolls on.
As I leave you now, I impart onto you some wisdom from my mere 48 hours of being a culinary student.
-the menu is the dirtiest item in a restaurant
-gloves must be worn when the product is "as is." Meaning that it will not be going through further cooking, refrigeration, etc.
-good wines are often noted as being "skunky"....? Yeah...
-there is a website you can go in your state and check out any restaurants inspection history and detailed reports. Very very interesting!
-attendance and promptness are absolutely vital! There are absolutely no make-up labs, homework, tests, NADA! Basically if you are not there, you're out of luck.