Category Archives: Culinary School

Pondering

…which sounds much better than “too tired and depressed to write a cohesive or even coherent post”.

My writing has stalled. I put off a lot of what I wanted to say because I have a huge backlog of cake competition photos to sort through, organize, and post. I wanted to wait until I was completely caught up on that before talking about anything else, but then life, hockey, cat-sitting, and my soul-sucking job keep getting in the way.

And if it wasn’t one of those things, there’s cleaning up cat pee or foaming prozac-flavored cat drool. Seriously, if you let the prozac dissolve in your cat’s mouth instead of getting it straight down their throats–they will sit there, foaming at the mouth, while staring at you until you start to feel guilty about drugging them because you’re tired of all the territorial pissing in the hallway. Nemo has the whole “I’m suffering because of youuuuuuuuuuuu……” look down while the ONE time we dosed-up Molly–she went bat-shit insane and tried to rip us both apart.

So cake show photos will have to wait until whenever I get around to them.

Hockey won’t be in the way much longer as the Texas Stars decided to SUCK this year and didn’t make the playoffs. In fact, we came in dead last in our division. I’m not saying that I no longer love my players. In fact, we just renewed our season tickets for the next season. What I AM saying is that while I don’t know if it’s the players, the coach, or a combination of the two– they’d better suck a little less next year.

That’s all I’m asking for… just a little less suckage.

Work is mind-numbing. I’d go on about that, but I’m done thinking about it for the day.

What really triggered this rambling mess was hearing from one of my classmates from culinary school today. He’s moved back to Austin and is planning on going back to get his Patisserie and Baking certification. I’m so freaking jealous. We both took the culinary side of things because neither of us quite realized what we really wanted to do when we started (I had an feeling that baking was the way I wanted to go, but the baking-only program didn’t include the courses needed for the associates degree or the cost control classes that can make or break a successful business).

Since graduation, we’ve both done everything we could to figure out things on our own. The difference between the two of us is that he’s still cooking and baking for a living, and I’m dilly-dallying. To be blunt about it – I feel like a complete failure.

I know that it’s stupid to feel that way, but right now I can’t think about anything else.

…and I just noticed that the cat I’ve been cuddling with while typing this has a large wet dingle-berry hanging off his scraggily drugged-up ass. This is gonna be fun.

Day 13

Was disappointed to find out that I received a 96 on my Nutrition exam. I really thought I had it all correct. But thanks to getting all the bonus questions on all of the tests – I still have a 103.3 quiz average in that class.

Today we took a tour of one of the kitchens and learned about the hardware, or all the large equipment. The fryer, grill, oven, salamander, etc. We also learned about all the cleaning of the equipment that goes on too. I’m sure looking forward to that part (insert sarcasm here). I guess that means it’s a good thing that I’ll be getting a lot of practice doing it… and I’m not talking about just wiping it down, we also get to learn how to break ‘em down and scrub every little piece.

We’re supposed to be getting our uniforms tomorrow, so we got the lecture on the do’s and don’ts of the unforms for our next year here. There was only one moment of panic when we thought we had to have all the pants hemmed up by Friday, but it turns out he meant by the beginning of CA 101 next month. There was also another lecture about how our attitudes would determine how well we do when classes really start to get tough. It was more like a “duh” thing for me, but maybe that’s because I’ve seen it in action for years now… although there are some places where you can still get by without giving a crap. After standing around in a hot humid kitchen this afternoon being told that a lot of us wouldn’t make it – I really began to realize that this is where the true challenge begins. Lecture-type classes have always been easy for me, but now I’ll have to prove myself mulitple times every single day…. cool.

Ok, it’s later in the day and I’ve just found out that part of the reason I was so miserable in that hot steamy kitchen is that I’m running a fever. I feel like I’m ready to pass out from the heat and the temperature of the house is at 75 degrees. This really sucks. In fact, it’s the suckiest suck suck that ever sucked. Instead of getting some rest, I now have to prep the house for the weekly D&D game. Ugh. Maybe tomorrow I can get some rest after class.

An Introduction to a Snarkygurl

Terrified, excited and scared to death. That’s the description of what I’m feeling right now. After 11 years as a Technical Writer and even longer working in the high tech industry, I’m ready to ditch it all and change careers. The thought of finding another job creating unread user manuals and documentation was more than I could handle. So I’ve decided to become a Chef. Yes, I’ll be making less money, and I’ll be going back into debt… but for once someone will actually USE something I’ve created. There are many other reason for this decision, but first and foremost is that I will be doing something I’ve always loved to do.

What worries me the most is the cost–$40K–for a degree in the Le Cordon Bleu program at the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. I have a house and bills to deal with and working only part-time will barely cover that. But I’m going into debt anyway knowing that I won’t be looking back when I’m retired and wondering why I wasted so much of my life doing work that I hated (I may be good at it – but being a technical writer in the semiconductor field just SUCKS).

I did a lot of research on culinary schools and careers, and then went and visited a few here in Austin. Someone at TCA took the time to give me a tour of the school, introduced me to some of the instructors, and sat me down and showed how all the classes were structured and what I would be learning in each one. I left knowing that I had to get into that school somehow… maybe it was the atmosphere or maybe it was just the sight of all those gleaming student kitchens. I’m a sucker for a big beautiful kitchen. Yes, attending a LCB program is expensive, but it’ll give me the contacts and networking opportunities that I wouldn’t have with another local school. And I need that boost since I’m starting out in this career later than most people (and it doesn’t hurt that it also comes with an Associates of Applied Science). My husband is freaking out about the cost, but even he agrees that this specific school is the best choice for me at this time. It’s funny, now that I’ve set all of this in motion, my friends and family are asking me why it took so long for me to decide to become a chef. Ummm, if they all knew this was the job for me–why didn’t someone mention it 18 years ago? Or was this something I had to figure out on my own?

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I started on this path from the begining instead of wandering all over the place trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Part of it bothers me because I’ve wasted so many years. If I had known that culinary training was an option, my career choices would have been different. And I definitely would have started at a cheaper school – Austin Community College has a pretty good program – or maybe I would have gone to Johnson and Wales on the East Coast. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that you COULD go to school for it…. man, I must have been a stupid kid. But on the other hand–it might have also been wasted on me at that time. Now I know that I have to put everything I have into my education, and I also have the drive, ambition and single-mindedness that I was lacking in college.

Tomorrow morning is Orientation at TCA and I’ll finally get to meet my classmates and instructors. We were given a recipe to try and discuss there, and it was…. um, interesting. I’ll talk about it tomorrow after I find out if it was a test or just crappy instructions.