Friday, May 8, 2009

background nonsense about me

Usually Friday is a good day since it gives us a break and lets us catch up on sleep (which is nice since we have class around 6:30am everyday) But when I am at the happiest place on earth, it's kind of bittersweet that it's friday already. I just realized I don't write much on these blogs so I'm going to go more into background if you don't already know my life story. 

All my life I loved being in the kitchen and even though I would watch hours of the food channel and know tons of seemingly worthless information about ingredients and cooking methods, I never dreamed I could be this lucky. I had the progression of wanting to be a lawyer, and a judge, and more reasonable careers such as those, but now, I can't even imagine it. Willingly getting up at 5am, I am excited to go to class to learn butcher knots or which type of potato is best for frying, or even the different underlying flavors in cheeses. I went to college, got my business degree just in case, but for once in my life I feel that I'm actually in the right place. 

So now I go to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America.. not the other one) and am loving every minute of it. The two year program will end in an Associates Degree in Occupational Studies, and more importantly, has already exposed me to the best of the best when it comes to chefs and facilities to learn in. Of course none of this would have been possible without my parents, who absolutely support me as long as I am happy and strive to be the best, which I do every single day. They raised my sisters and I to work hard and gave us every possible opportunity to do so, putting themselves second every day after us. Along with a few other select people, I wouldn't be who I am without them.

The program here is broken down into 'blocks,' as a progressive learning year, which builds up our skills, 3 weeks at a time. We had a 6 week block to begin with, to learn the basics such as culinary math, food safety, gastronomy, writing, and product knowledge. Starting school here is incredibly intimidating, but the strict business casual dress code everyday, no "unnatural hair colors," and neckerchiefs with our chefs uniform bring the air of professionalism to the campus that I am proud to be a part of. Product knowledge was incredibly informative and allowed us to know how to ID and select produce for best quality and condition from the purveyor. Gastronomy covered a wide array of topics and I also sat in on another class which taught me about sensory evaluation, the history of cuisine, and flavor profiles of cooking in different cultures. We didn't get into any kitchens within the first 6 weeks, which was a good way to introduce us to life here at the CIA. Here are some pictures of our gorgeous campus:

Roth Hall, the main building with classrooms and kitchens

Colavita Italian Center
 Anton Plaza

We are now in C block, one week in meat ID & fabrication, one week in seafood ID & fabrication, and finally into Skills 1, where we begin learning kitchen skills. Its been 4 days of meat and I never thought I'd love it this much. Before the first day I was very nervous about being good enough, but it seems the passion I put into it and wanting to be the best has its own rewards. Everyday I learn tons of new information and have more and more ideas about what my future holds (anything I want) and know that the CIA is training me and allowing me the network of professors and chefs that I couldn't have found anywhere else. For a few weeks before enrolling here, I was absolutely convinced I was moving to Paris. I mean it's Paris! I visited Le Cordon Bleu (the other top ranked culinary school in the world) and knew I would get a good education there. But one visit to the CIA and everything changed. It was absolutely the hardest decision I had to make for several reasons. I know I made the right choice, and everyday here just proves it more and more.

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