Posted by: Michelle | September 24, 2010

Culinarying Along

I just finished the fifth week of my first semester in CLC’s Hospitality and Culinary Management program. I’m getting used to the routine, and instead of feeling like a middle-aged grandmother in a classroom full of kids (some of whom are 12 years younger than my oldest daughter!), I’m feeling more like one of the gang.

I started out with 13 semester hours, which comprised two five credit hour culinary courses, and a nutrition class. After the first week, and after looking over the syllabi for all the courses, I knew if I wasn’t in over my head immediately, I would be by mid-semester. So I promptly dropped the nutrition class, and I’m so glad I did. I’ll pick it up again probably next summer as my only class, because I can tell from the sheer amount of information that course contains that it’s a class I’ll want to give my full attention to.

My Culinary I and Patisserie I classes are fun, but the homework is way more than I would have expected with a culinary course. And as always, there’s math involved. Geez. You just can’t escape math. So between the homework, the reading, and the practical applications of the above, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.

My lovely new “food service shoes” gave me some very nasty heel blisters the first week I wore them, and they’re just now healing. Between those and the toenail I tore off over the weekend running into a fan in Sean’s room, I’m sure my feet are hating me right now.  I actually missed my Culinary I class and lab on Monday because it was excrutiating to even try and put on a shoe. But today my tootsies are feeling much better, thanks, and I”m sure now that the shoes are broken in and the toenail is growing back, my feet will no longer feel I’m trying to destroy them.

I’m enjoying both of my Chef instructors. One is much tougher than the other as far as what she expects from us, but that’s okay. I’d much rather have a class that challenges me than one that bores me to tears and doesn’t teach me anything new.

My only complaint is the fact that on Tuesdays, there are three lab sections in the kitchen. And although it’s a pretty amazing commercial-type space, three classes all cooking at the same time, trying to jockey for burners or ovens, is just too much. It may sound silly, but it emotionally exhausts me to have to do it. I’ve talked to a few classmates and they feel the same way — it’s a mentally taxing exercise.

But overall, I do have to say I’m loving it even more than I thought I would.  Even more surprising is the fact that, while I’m enjoying both classes, I think I’m liking the pastry class a bit more than the culinary one. Which is pretty amazing considering I’ve never been a fan of baking. We spent the last two days making danish, and I found that I felt really good about turning out some not half-bad rosettes, pockets, and twists. The whole process of turning the dough and creating the layers was really satisfying to me. 

And I must say that having a series of 18-year-old lab partners who accept me for who I am, and who I find a really cool and mature bunch, is a pretty neat perk.

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