About Cooking School

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by pastachef, Sep 30, 2001.

  1. pastachef

    pastachef

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    If each of you professional chefs could teach me one thing that seems the most important thing to learn about from your experience at cooking school, what would it be?
     
  2. coolj

    coolj

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    Well, some of the most important things I learned at cooking school were, first of all to be open minded, and that everybody brings something to the table by being able to learn from each other. My Prof told us that he wasn't there to teach us, he was there to help us learn. One thing that was kind of unnerving was when I was in my apprenticeship technically training, and we were told to act professional, because we to set an example for the first year students. Yeah, try getting 13 guys under the age of 25 to act professional in a college setting.
     
  3. greg

    greg

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    I learned three very important things. First, graduating culinary school would not make an instant chef of me. Second, I learned the importance of being prepared (mise en place). Third, and probably the most important, I learned how much I didn't know and how important it is to strive after that knowledge constantly.
     
  4. wagamama

    wagamama

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    Hi again P-CH!
    I think,that one of the most important things it's,to really love and respect your career,in all the ways.Also i agree with Coolj, you must be "open mind",You'll always be an aprentice,cos every day you will be learning something new.Never think you have the truth.
    Thank you!
    We keep in touch.
     
  5. pastachef

    pastachef

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    CoolJ, Greg, Wagamama, I really like your answers. Thank you. But what is the first thing they teach you? Is is about sanitation and food safety and temperatures, or do you start out cooking? The whole thing is just so interesting to me :)
     
  6. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Dear pastachef,
    My First class at J&W in 1980 was "Motor Skills"

    How to use a knife,and learn all the classic cuts,Bruniose,batonet,mince,dice ETC.

    I loved Culinary school...But I think I really learned to cook for real,in the real world.

    CoolJ and Greg make excellent points.
    Work hard,be confident and be humble.

    cc
     
  7. pastachef

    pastachef

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    Thank you, Cape Chef. I guess I really want to know more about what I've missed out on. I'm too close to retirement age to go to cooking school, and I've worked for eight years cooking for the sorority house and loved it, but in the last year or so I really fell in love with cooking. I've been cooking for ten years now, and am learning a lot from this site and the cooking channel. I can see that no matter how much a person knows, we are barely scratching the surface. At least I am barely scratching the surface. I've really been working hard at learning all that I can on my own, but I long for what I've missed. I would think that graduating from a good cooking school gives a person confidence? I need to visit some professional kitchens to see what they do.
     
  8. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Dear pastachef,

    Your contributions to cheftalk have endeared many of us to you.Don't feel like you've "Missed" something,rather you have grown and helped all of us become better.

    I am so happy that you care so much about the culinary field...more importantly is your hard work and support of the proffesion.

    cc
     
  9. anneke

    anneke

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    Pastachef, I really admire you and the work that you do. I bet you could teach us all a thing or two! ;)

    Sounds to me like you're looking for what they actually teach you in school. Let me give you an overview of my 1st year.

    We started with sanitation, of course. For our techniques class, we started with stocks (essential and too often overlooked. I still see lots of "chefs" who can't make a proper stock to save their hide!). We learned the basic vegetable cuts, how to make consommé, breakfast menues (esp. French omelette), stuffed crêpes, and all kinds of different potato preparations. We moved on to sauce making, the mother sauces and a few derivatives, grilling, roasting, braising meats, Chicken Kiev, Cordon Bleu, Navarin of lamb, curries, Boeuf Bourguignonne. We also learned short crust and quiche making. I'm skipping a lot, but those are some of the main themes.

    We also had a Food Theory class that went alonside it. We are introduced to wet/dry heat cooking, convection, broiling, pan-frying vs sautéing, etc etc. We looked at the various ingredients in the 5 basic food groups from a theoretical and practical standpoint.

    In the 2nd semester, we also did some basic baking (disaster!). In our techniques class we also started making more elaborate preparations such as chaud-froid, forcemeat, patés, scallops and mussels, Asian-inspired hors d'oeuvre, sweetbreads, fish, game, mousses, timbales, etc.

    Third semester, we do entirely garde-manger. Can you believe we did devilled eggs today? I'm so embarassed.... :rolleyes: . They insist that we must learn this...

    Anyway, I could go on and on. If you'd like more info, just email me.

    A.
     
  10. pastachef

    pastachef

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    Dear CC and Anneke, thank you so very much for your kind words. You really are getting into the things in this conversation now that make my heart race with excitement. The fancy things you can do with knives, and knowing which are which. I did read about them here at Cheftalk. I loved it. Sauces are what I find most exciting, and how with one basic sauce you can make it grow and change entirely. I am loving all of this information. It's a glimpse into a world that I will always long for. But I must say that I am always coming away from these boards with a pocket full of dreams, even at my age. So maybe the hope and the striving to learn will keep me young. Thank you all :)

    [ October 03, 2001: Message edited by: Pastachef ]

    [ October 03, 2001: Message edited by: Pastachef ]