Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week two and California Weekend

So its already been a week and some change since I started culinary school. I'm proud to say that I'm actually really starting to enjoy it now. I'm getting into a routine, waking up, eating, getting dressed, making sure I have everything and out the door. Still having classroom lectures, but now we're starting to get into lab (kitchen) stuff, like cutting and knife work, it is getting very interesting now. Not to mention a whole lot of fun. I'm starting to interact with the other students and learn everybody's name, get to know them. Getting used to people staring at me in my uniform, as I walk through the store or the mall, coming up and asking me stuff. Sometimes I like the attention, but not always. At school, before we enter C10, I always watch the other students across the hall in the kitchen cooking. And they're starting to notice me!
Everyday! Watching them. Some smile and wave, others pretend I'm not there...I just tap on the glass then. I'm meeting a lot of people outside of my own class too. Just sitting outside the school in between classes, or waiting to be picked up. People actually come up and sit down next to me and start talking, giving me helpful tips and a heads up about what I should expect in my other classes like Foundations II and III. I'm really starting to like it. Today was the first day of labs and we practiced our knife work. Chiffonade, Brunoise, and Julienne. Basics. Very frustrating the first time around, I must say. But, it was my first time so, give myself a high five for trying.

On another note, this past weekend we made a rather, random last minute trip to California. It was so random I dont know how we pulled it off. I love California. It's awesome. The food is spectacular. The whole state is. We drove on the coast and went to Long Beach with my Cambodian friend for some Cambodian food guessed it, Cambodia Town. I've never seen so many Cambodians in one spot. Jewelry places and banks, all crammed onto one street that runs maybe, three blocks, if that. We stopped off, got out and walked around, buying cambodian vegetables and drinks. I just HAD to try a durian boba. Anyone who doesnt know what durian is...its an EXTREMELY SMELLY FRUIT! I'm serious. It smells like a hot, wet dog rolled around in garbage...a month ago. Like, piss from a mule been ruminating on asparagus for two weeks. Absolutely grotesque. But it tastes pretty good. I mean, I liked it at the beginning. Not at the end. And dont even think about burping! It goes up into your nose and you smell it for days. It was slightly sweet, because of the eighty pounds of sugar they added, but you could still taste that it was durian. Then at the KNOW it's durian! But I would totally do it again.

We also stopped off at this one restaurant, La Lune for lunch. A rather, oddly placed cambodian joint. If your a fan of fried intestines and being ignored for thirty minutes, then this a place you should check out. We ordered ginger chicken, vegetable fried rice and some chicken soup with pineapple. The ginger chicken wasnt too bad. Kind of greasy. The soup was pretty good too. Now, my brother is a vegetarian (nobody knows why) so he wanted the vegetable fried rice. The man (seven hours later after ordering) brings us a plate of stir-fried vegetables, and some plain sticky rice. The idea was for Jonathon to stir fry the rice in with the vegetables himself. Lol. Ohh silly cambodians! No tip for you. Seriously. He was so rude, Jonathon kept his tip and we went around the corner and got something else. Something better. I'm not sure the name of the vegetable, but it was a curry with beef and lemongrass and of course I ate it with rice. Soooo good!

Hoping to walk it all off, we just got back into the car and made our way to San Diego to go to a kitchen supply store to get something for my knives, but sadly, they dont open on a monday. So we, once again, went and got yet MORE food, at this one Jamaican restaurant we always go to on market street. They have the best curried goat I've ever had outside of Jamaica. Amazing! So between the all you can eat breakfast at the hotel, which I'm proud to say I completely tore up, random eating in the car, and all this other food I'm force feeding myself, I must have gained like ten pounds! Ten delicious, mouth watering pounds!

I'm not eating for two weeks now.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Day Of Culinary School!

Well, the day finally came, my very first day of culinary school! I thought I would be super nervous, being in the company of accomplished chefs and teachers and students who might know more than me! Scary thought, mind you! But no, I was totally cool. Walked into class, empty handed, as I did not know what books to bring, so I brought them all, except math and english, and just left them in the car, in case I needed them. I calmly walked up to the chef in-charge, Chef K and asked if I would be needing any books today, because I saw all my fellow classmates with books. She shook her head no, I breathed a sweet sigh of relief, and took my seat, four rows back. The shoes I'm suppose to wear havent come in yet, so, needless to say, if I didnt feel different before, I do now, since I showed up with blue shoes and everyone was wearing black! But that's just a side note I thought I'd throw in there. I knew I would have nothing to worry about, as my schedule said the first couple days would all be lecture classes, and I would start my labs next week, when I get my knives. First up, 'Food safety and sanitation'. Basically how to stay clean in the kitchen. Second runner up, 'Culinary Foundations'. Basic culinary stuff, measurements, recipes, blah blah blahh. My teacher, Chef K, makes everything seem so cool. Almost like its not a big deal if your late for class, if your hungry, or just need to pee. Anyways, after my first class ended at nine, I just stood outside in the freezing cold for a bit. Watched some of my nicotine deprived acquaintances scramble to find the only smoking area on campus. A few came up to me and introduced themselves, which was nice. I guess I should meet these people, since I'll be seeing them everyday. As I made my way downstairs to C10 for my next class, Culinary Foundations, I stopped for a second while the class before cleared the room, and stared stalkishly at the students who were already working the kitchen, as if they were on display in a Macy's window. They all looked like they knew what they doing, as if it was already engraved in their minds. They all looked brilliant, gliding across the kitchen floor, pots and pans in hand, almost as if doing a sacred kitchen dance. I got such an urge to take a picture.

So I took a seat in C10, the basement. Soo cold! I sat there on a stool, dressed only in a plain white tshirt under my chef jacket, pants, hiked up past my ankles because I was wearing the wrong shoes, feeling as if I'm going to pass out at any moment from the freezing cold, waiting for class to start. When it finally did start, I zoned out a couple times, drifting off thinking about lunch and what I wanted. Lee Lee's fried rice. I listened to the history of the Chefs hat and something about taxing salt. Checked my phone, no service. Thankfully I only wanted to know the time. 11:07am the first time I checked. I turned around and scanned the crowd for anything interesting happening behind me. Then I had to write some stuff down. Stuff that I can find on my portal. I heard Chef K talk about assignments and due dates. 20 points and 50 points, I think. Heard a couple interesting stories about car theft and past students who worked at the French Laundry. I got to help a couple people learn how to tie a tie. None were ironed, so it was kind of hard to keep everything down pat, but they managed. Class ended early at 11:30. I had a few things to get signed, running back and forth from building to building, passing students further along than I, chattering about the dishes they made and upcoming assignments. I went and took my food handlers test two weeks ago, so I wouldnt need to get it in class, so I made my way around campus to deliver that to who ever gets it and make sure that was the one I need because apparently there are two and I wasnt sure of which one I had. So I met up with my rep and we spoke with some people and they assured me that that was the correct one and that I did not need to go take a ninety question test. WOOHOO! Thank goodness! When I heard the test had ninety questions and I had to pass with at least a seventy-five, my palms began to sweat like I was being interrogated by the CIA for stealing orange juice from a convenience store. Just glazed over with horror. What the heck? Ninety questions?! About what?! Cant I watch a video or something? I mean dang. So you can imagine the overwhelming joy I felt when I heard that I was not required to take another ridiculously long test. So after that whole ordeal, I just stood in the lobby, admiring the sugar and chocolate work and pictures and plates Chefs got as awards. You dont get a trophy! You get a plate! Well hey, it is culinary school. I would think a plate would be appropriate. I spoke with one of my new fellow culinarians about random things and just killed time, staying warm, waiting for my mom to pick me up. I'm not sure why she was so late, but she eventually came. Anyways, as I type this, I'm doing some homework. Some due tomorrow, others due later in the month. Trying to read my atrocious handwriting.

I really do need to pry myself away from facebook and urbandictionary. Seriously.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First blog!

Woohoo! Now I'm officially a true culinary blogger! Oh wow. I cant wait to get started, posting all my food porn pictures and writing about them! Lol. Practice my presentations...making food at least look edible! Lol Anyways lets get straight to the blogging part, today was the day I FINALLY got my chef uniforms (for Le Cordon Bleu). After showing up at orientation soo late that it was over with! Lol Thats okay because I got everything anyways, complete with the Le Cordon Bleu 'blue ribbon' on the right side! Sooo exciting! I tried one on, didnt want to take it off! Feels so right! I knew which ever career I went with, I'd be wearing a white jacket! As I tried it on, I heard the voice of Will Smith from Men In Black say "Put this on"..What is it? ..."The last suit you'll ever wear.."Lol The pants are kind of tight but I guess that will remind me not to eat so much during class. Haha. YEAH RIGHT! Its funny how when I tell people I'm in Culinary School they all say the same thing, "I can be your guinea pig!?"Haha I find that soo funny that everyone says that to me. I dont know, it must just be me or something cause nobody else thinks its funny, everyone is serious! Lol

So yeah back to my the end, I took a butt load of pictures of myself (duh), looked over some of my books, I have to take math and english..ugh! Only six weeks though. Just when I'll start to hate it, it will be over with! I was told I would get my knife set today too, but apparenly I wont get that until one week after school starts. They have to let all the students get a food handlers permit first. Which I already hold in my this very moment! So the chef said it will be an easy A then, which is TOTALLY okay with me of course. Oh I also got my schedule which was, unusually difficult to read. I had to ask three different people to explain it to me so I'm not late for class. In the end, though, Lloyd (a student whom I'll be speaking with a lot) told me exactly what was happening. So for the next six weeks my schedule will be the same, I have no clue what that entails but I'll figure it as the weeks roll into each other.

So since I'm going to be a chef, one question I do get asked a lot is.."So Jillian, whats for dinner tonight?" Lol I'll have you know, I hardly cook real food (which seems to be a problem now cause all I want is cake lol) But tonight we had dinner! Me and my mom, leftovers from last night when I had a massive craving for chicken curry and boiled green banana. Sounds simple right? Thats cause it is lol. To some, it might sound odd..chicken curry and green banana?? Yeahh..good stuff people! Just unripened bananas, boiled in salt water with the skin on (just make some slits in the sides) for like ten minutes, then peel the skin away, boil 5 more minutes and tada! So easy a caveman can do it!

Anyways, I hear my phone vibrating and my mom calling me so I'm signing off for now.

Cheers everyone.