Nearing the End of Fundamentals
Subtitle: Don't touch my shit!
A rather unplanned post, but it has to be done.
Hello again everyone! I haven't written in a while because I've been so busy with class and work. I haven't forgotten though, I promise.
So, where to start? I guess I can say that I've sort of acclimated to the teaching style and classes here. I like my chef instructor a lot. She tells you what you need to know in a way you understand, and she actively wants you to ask questions. So far, I've made stocks, sauces, soups, learned about eggs and breakfast cooking, vegetables, starches, and am now in proteins and cooking methods. I've made chicken chardonnay, pan seared trout, pan fried chicken, steak au poivre, beef burgundy, chicken pot au feu, roasted chicken with pan gravy, and tomorrow evening I will be cooking poached chicken with tarragon cream sauce. I am learning a lot already, and am enjoying the class even though it is challenging at times, not just with the cooking.
I think here is where I should elaborate more on the teaching and learning atmosphere. It is very different than classroom learning. In a classroom, you deal more with people's thoughts and voice rather than their actions. In this type of setting (re: culinary school in a kitchen), you deal with their actions. The number of things that have happened that have mentally made me facepalm and/or stare curiously with a tilted head for more than a few seconds is astounding. My class began as a robust 25. After 9 weeks, we barely have 11. Keep in mind now, I've been in class every single day. I don't know what that says, but I think it says something. Either this is a token class with a lot of drop outs, or I am fucking iron man in here because I don't see what the big deal is. Anyway, as I was saying. The things people do...
Students have left their knife kits (whole and pieces) behind in the kitchen.
Students have taken other students utensils (which is why I have engraved every god damn piece of my knife kit)
Students have eaten what they are not supposed to (up to and including the demonstration dishes that the chef instructor has created as a model)
Students have shown up to class whenever they want (not really such a big deal because this happens in normal classroom settings, but when you add in the fact that it doesn't matter why you miss class. If you miss class, you lose all class participation points for that day. If you show up late or leave early, you lose points for that day. Students will do this several times over the course of 11 weeks. Oh, by the way, if you miss 7 days, you automatically fail.)
Students (from other higher level classes) have walked into our fundamentals class, tasted our food (in front of our chef instructor) and critiqued it (in front of our chef instructor) and then been corrected (by our chef instructor) and didn't see a problem with it.
And finally, students from my own class have come over to my own pot/pan on the stove with food cooking in it and stirred/tossed/disturbed in some way without even talking to me first.
I was ripshit pissed. I was too stunned to even say anything at the moment because I was pretty aghast at the fact that this fucktard actually walked over to my stove and touched my shit. Don't touch my shit. Don't touch it. See my shit, don't touch it. It's mine. My shit. Don't touch it. Yeah, mine. What was even more surreal about the situation is that my chef instructor saw the whole thing which was great because she addressed it at the end of class. Your food, you touch it only, which applied to everyone.
I swear, if it happens again, I'm going to lose it and bitch whoever it is out. Unless you are a sanctioned individual (i.e. on my team, the chef instructor, or otherwise allowed by me or the chef instructor to touch my food), DO NOT TOUCH MY SHIT! If it is messed up, I want to hear it from my chef instructor that I did this wrong. If you mess with it, how am I going to know what is and is not happening with my food. Don't touch it. It's my food. I'm cooking it. I'm accruing debt to come to class. I'm getting the A (yes, I have an A at this very moment). I'm getting critiqued on it, and I'm going to have to have a final practical on it. Don't. Touch. My. Shit.
It really reminds me of the saying "if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he'll eat for the rest of his life." I turn that into the student version. If you do a students work, he'll get an A, but if you show him how to do his work, he'll get as many A's as he needs. Since fucktard is not a chef instructor, he needs to not be showing me how to do shit. Unless he has (and really this goes for anyone trying to tell me anything in this kitchen) the letters C-H-E-F in front of his name and are employed by my university, he can fuck off.
Other than that, I'm having loads of fun. I'm looking at food in a new way. I found lamb shanks tonight, and I'm excited about cooking them. I have lovely ideas for them. Mmmmm.
Again, I hope you enjoy the blog. Post comments and/or questions!