As promised, I plan to chronicle my six month journey at the International Culinary Center. To give you a little background, I enrolled in the professional culinary arts program which runs from January to June. If you follow my blog, you know I’m extremely passionate about pastry and desserts, but since I have celiac disease, it would have been hard for me to complete the professional pastry program if I couldn’t taste anything. With that said, I’ll continue to experiment in my apartment and share new gluten free desserts with y’all.
The program is broken down into four levels, ending with an externship (internship) where students apply their skills outside the classroom. My two instructors are Chef Veronica and Chef April who both have years of experience in many areas of the food industry.
Just like with anything new, I was definitely nervous on my first day…okay my first couple of days. I want to do really well and learn as much as I can, and need to remind myself that it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s what this level is all about; it’s about learning from my mistakes, absorbing as much as I can, and asking questions.
We jumped right into it on the first day. First off, knife skills and learning which knives are best for what you are working on. For me, practice makes perfect: doing something over and over and over is the only way I learn. Some people can read something or watch something and immediately absorb it. Not this girl, I need to be hands on and put in the time. But that’s okay because I’m always willing to put in the time for something I love. This week I’ve been cutting carrots, turnips and potatoes to help improve my skills.
This week we worked on a few different cooking techniques and recipes. My favorite was the goat cheese and beet salad. Definitely one of my top dishes to get at restaurants, it’s absolutely delicious. After we make our dishes, the chefs taste them and give us feedback.
I’m so thankful that my Mom and Dad introduced my sister and I to different types of cuisines when we were younger. From vegetables to meats to fish to spices, etc., we tried everything. This week, we talked about a variety vegetables, herbs and spices, and I have to say, I was pretty familiar with most of the vegetables. I also know the basic herbs and spices, but really want to learn which herbs work well together and which ones compliment certain proteins and vegetables.
Lastly, we had one full day dedicated to food safety. This topic is extremely important for any kitchen – even a home kitchen. We’ll be tested on ServSafe in a few weeks, so I’ll definitely be studying! There’s a lot of studying involved in culinary school including learning the french terms, the lessons, and recipes. You are expected to come to class having read that day’s lesson the night before and have written out your recipe cards. We are only there from 9:30am-3:00pm and want to get in as much as possible.
Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to leave them below or email me. Until next week friends!