image courtesy of pixgood.com
To continue on from my last post on whether you should or shouldn't attend culinary school, I'd like to point out that the main audience for the post was for budding cooks who might want to continue expanding their food knowledge in school to become chefs.
For the folks who are only interested in taking a few courses to expand their knowledge or skills, don't let what I'm writing frighten you away from culinary school. There are classes that are designed specifically for you. It will not be stress inducing and can be a lot of fun.
Now this next sentence might hurt some of you ambitious types out there. Culinary school is not the place where you become a Food Network star, or any food star. Banish that thought immediately from your mind. Unless you are extraordinarily gifted, that will not happen. I repeat, it will not happen. Ask yourself why you would go to school? The answer is to learn right? That is exactly what will happen when you attend culinary school. Stardom may, may come after you've put in the time and honed your skills.
You will be taught all the fundamentals of the kitchen. You will memorize the differences between fricassée and concassé. You will be shown many, many techniques to make you efficient and competent in the kitchen. And you will need all of those skills in a real professional kitchen. Believe me.
Do not, I repeat, do not waste your time daydreaming that culinary school will allow you to develop your own recipes. This is not the place where you get to showcase your creativity. This is the place to learn. Does that bore you? Then don't waste your money and strike out on your own.
Read about the various curriculums and reputation of the school before you think about attending. It's important that you get to know and understand what you're getting yourself into, and to find out if it's going to be a good fit for you. Culinary school has become expensive, so get the most bang for your buck by attending the school that works best for you.
Check out the picture below of chef school. Carefully. Do you see the students, all wearing their pristine chefs whites, watching chef with notes in hand. Maybe you have seen other pics where the students are surrounding chef while he or she explains what's being made? That will be you. And your chef clothes better be clean, or out of the lab you go. That will happen without hesitation.
image courtesy of popsugar.com
Once you've finished watching chef create the dish, you will go back to your station, and you will re-create that same dish, and be graded on it. It's not easy at all, and my God the pressure can be intense, especially if you screw up and have to start over again. That will happen, so do your best to keep it together and forge on.
Note that I've mentioned the words 'intense pressure', because it can be. It will be like that in school, and it will definitely be like that once you head out into the world of food. If you get through culinary school, trust me, you'll get through anything. Not to mention you'll have the little bit of extra confidence knowing that you really can make just about anything. You'll view how recipes are created differently. You'll adjust the way that you think about cooking and how you cook. As sappy as this may sound, the lessons you learn will always be a part of you and it will help you in your career.
Hopefully, all this information didn't frighten or bore you. If it did, then do not go to culinary school. If it still appeals, then I wish you the very best of luck. It's going to be tough but that's life and you'll be fine. Just remember,when you go to school, have an open mind, a good set of knives and plenty of spare towels!