Saturday, July 24, 2010

What Culinary School DIDN'T Teach Me

I've been out of school for a year and a half now, and still come across something every once in a while that I really can't believe I don't know how to make or do.  The really surprising part: They are COMMON things.  Don't get me wrong...Culinary school was amazing.  I'd love to be a "professional student" and go to Culinary school for the rest of my life.  BUT- I participated in the "Fast Track Program" which condensed the traditional two years of schooling into an action-packed, intense, 5-hours-a-day-of-nothing-but-cooking program that only lasted 9 months.  Therefore, they had to choose the best of the best, the most useful, most well-known recipes to teach us and had to weed out the "fluff."  For all of my readers who haven't gone to Culinary school, you should enjoy this.

1.  I know how to make homemade Chocolate Eclairs from scratch.......but I have no clue how to make Sugar Cookies.

2. I could make homemade Ice Creams and Sorbets all day with my hands tied behind my back.....but I would have to scour the internet for a Chocolate Cake recipe.

3.  I can make a loaf of Brioche or a Challah Braid with my eyes closed........but I have never made Cinnamon Rolls.

4.  I can make Duck Confit or Stuffed Quail for a crowd...........but this past Thanksgiving was my first real experience cooking a Turkey.

5.  I have no problem putting together Beef Wellingtons or Braised Short Ribs......but I'd scratch my head if you asked me to locate the Sirloin or Flank Steak on a cow.

6. I know how to make just about every sauce under the sun.......but I had to figure out for myself how to make Pesto.

7.  I was taught how to make Vichyssoise (a cold Potato Leek soup) and Borscht (a cold, Ukranian Beet soup)...............but I had to turn to  to learn how to make a Tomato Basil Soup.

8.  In school, I made tiny delicate Blinis topped with Smoked Salmon and Dill......but I've never made or even eaten a Crepe.

9.  I know how to MAKE Mozzarella cheese..........but until I messed up a batch of White Queso Dip on Cinco de Mayo, I had no idea that some cheeses simply don't melt.  At all. 

10. I could carve a Swan out of ice, butcher a whole Pig, fillet a 40 pound Salmon, or make an Ice Cream bowl out of egg whites..........but I still manage to mess up White Rice every time I try to cook it.

So there.  Do you feel better about yourself????  :)


The Chef Next Door


  1. i do and i don't at the same time! lol. what is your #6 recipe? it looks delish! you are so talented!

  2. It's Eggs Benedict Two Ways: one with Beef Tenderloin Medallions and one with crisped Pancetta Rounds. Smothered in a Tomato Basil Hollandaise. It is yuuuuummmmyyy!

  3. Love your post..I went through the Cuisine program and schools,these reminds me on how to cook..I recommend you also these site fore more info in cooking schools Culinary Arts Schools

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