1. Friends make everything better. They’re there when you burn spray when you burn yourself, to taste your sauce and tell you it needs acid, and are just as tired as I am at 6 am. Solidarity, people, solidarity.
2. Repeat after me: “Yes, Chef.” “No Chef.” “Thank you, Chef.” Cooking for large groups of people started in the military, hence the military-ish feel in some of my classes. It doesn’t bother me one bit. I enjoy the professionalism.
3. Remember to bring your Tide-To-Go pen or a bleach pen. You will get food on your bright, white coat. It’s inevitable, I promise you. I ended up with tumeric on the back of my left shoulder. How is that possible?
4. Invest in some good quality lotion. My hands are destroyed from hot soapy water and strong sanitizer. I was not destine for soft hands picking this profession.
5. French phrases might pop up in everyday conversation. “I’m just making a mornay sauce,” I said to my friends when I was making mac n’ cheese. You know, béchamel with cheese added in?
6. Sense. Of. Urgency. If there is one single thing to keep in it is that phrase. One of my chef’s told me that when he interned at the French Laundry, there was a clock on one of their walls that said “Sense of Urgency” underneath it. And there was a stainless steel table against the wall that my chef had polished until 2 in the morning.
7. I was dumping water out of a steam kettle onto the floor and water splashed all over my shoes and got my socks wet. I wasn’t even phased. You learn to accept things like this and that they will happen to you. Culinary school’s not the place to get worried about getting dirty.
8. There are no pot holders in culinary kitchens, or at least not enough to go around. Get used to burning yourself, or using your side towel to pull things out of the oven, off the stove etc.
9. Every other activity I do seems slow after cooking and preparing food in school. I constantly think I should be doing something else, multitasking in some way that will maximize my time in an efficient manner.
10. I have become a speed walker. You don’t have time to stroll around in a kitchen. “Get from point A to Point B quickly.” as Chef Corey told us in orientation.
Be well and happy eating!!!