Friday, August 27, 2010

Week 1

Just completed my first full week of classes and it’s been a bit of a blur; tons of information and old-yet-new experiences thrown at me from all sides: syllabi and class projects; building layouts and professors’ personalities; eating lunch in the car and being surrounded by people half my age. It’s great!

It’s a little overwhelming but I think I’m starting to get a feel for the rhythm each class is taking on and how I’ll need to allot my time to get everything done. I did end up dropping my Psychology class in order to free up some time on Wednesdays and Fridays though. It felt like things were a bit too cluttered and I would be pressed for time since the culinary classes are going to require a substantial amount of commitment outside of normal class hours. No worries though, I’ll take it later down the road and enjoy it then.

Even though I’m just getting started with all this, I’ve already learned quite a bit. They taught several classical knife cuts this week, and I think I did pretty well with them. It’ll obviously take many, many hours of practice to get them all perfect but it should be fun. Next week we turn the stoves and ovens on and get to dive right into things even deeper…can’t wait.

I did do something a little crazy: I signed up to try out for their competition team. This is the team that trains hours and hours each week (in addition to their normal classes) in order to goto regional, state, and national level competitions to prove how good they are. They’ve made it to the national level competitions the last 6 years or so, and even won the national title in ’07. (I believe it was ’07 that they won…don’t quote me on the exact year though)

So even though I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing, I’ll be in the kitchen next Friday night cooking up a dessert dish for the culinary school chefs to critique(all of whom own or have owned their own restaurants, and some have competed at national/international levels for decades). It’s very daunting and I’m extremely nervous about the whole thing, but I figured what the hell. New Me has decided to walk this new path, might as well do it up right. No regrets. At the very least it’ll be a cool experience.

And if I somehow pull off the underdog thing and actually make it, what better way to become a good chef than by competing against the best students in the country.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Worries

Tomorrow I’ll be a full-time student again, for the first time in over 15 years. And I’m surprised at how calm I am about it.

The biggest things I’ve been thinking about are how hot I’m going to be in my culinary costume, and where to strategically park the car between class buildings to minimize walking and carrying of books. My books and kitchen supplies weigh in at 30lbs, so I’m trying to find ways to lighten the load by leaving some books in the car and switching them out between classes. On the AT having 30lbs on my back meant I was carrying enough food and supplies to survive for a week in the woods. Now it equates to a single day’s worth of books. Funny that.

The old me would have been a bundle of nerves about all this. Worrying about being the “old guy” in the class and what people would think. Anxious about doing something so different than what I’m used to doing. Nervous about failing and letting myself down.

But I’m not any of that anymore. I’m ready for this, and I’m excited about the possibilities of it all. I’m doing life differently this time around. I’m going to have fun and do something that I enjoy.

And hopefully I’ll get to eat some really good food along the way.