Thanks to my readers for welcoming me back! I’m glad you’re interested in hearing my tales of surviving Culinary School!
One of my friends/readers asked whether I thought my -er, ahem- apparent age was what caused my instructors to be initially somewhat dismissive.
Good question! While I’m sure my age had something to do with it, it was probably more the fact that I flounced in, bejeweled, carrying a giant Louis Vuitton bag, having virtually no idea what Culinary School actually entailed. I vaguely knew that cooking was somehow involved…
I think I was temporarily deranged by grief. I’m glad I was even admitted. However, I do believe I wasn’t expected to last more than a few weeks.
Again, this wasn’t primarily because of my age. The dropout rate for Culinary School is astonishingly high. Our summer class of close to forty, which was already small because we were summer starters, was down to twelve by the semester’s end.
This wasn’t college like I remembered it. The attendance requirements were non-negotiable. You showed up for every class session on time, prepared, dressed in a clean uniform, and ready to work. If you didn’t satisfactorily complete online homework assignments beforehand, you weren’t permitted to attend class. Two absences and you were out. People dropped like flies.
My age and job experience ended up helping me. I’m used to showing up on time and working insane hours under less than favorable conditions. I must confess that I actually like it.
But let’s go back to the uniform for a minute. Chef’s whites – the only garment less flattering than a bee suit!
I may look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy most of the time, but the uniform is comfortable and functional. The deep pockets of my Chef’s pants have even replaced my big Louis purse!
Well, I’ve gone on and on, and could go one even longer, but I’ll save some for later. Instead, I’ll share one of the first recipes we prepared in class: Honey Poppy Seed Vinaigrette. It’s fantastic on both fruit and greens, and it’s made with honey!
Honey Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 pinch salt, to taste
Briskly whisk all ingredients or shake in a small jar with a tightly fitting lid.