Culinary School: Done!

IMG_5965 I’m done with culinary school. I’ve taken my last final, deep cleaned the baking and pastry kitchen, gathered all the signatures necessary for my graduation, and worn my school-issued chef pants, jacket, hat and apron for the last time. IMG_2343 IMG_3908 My actual graduation ceremony isn’t until June, but I’ve completed all of my classes so I’m considering my culinary school journey finished, even if I don’t have the expensive piece of paper yet. photo 3 I’ve taken a long, winding road to get to where I am today. Nothing has been easy and half the time I haven’t even known what I’ve wanted to do. I’m still figuring things out, but I have a much clearer picture than I ever have before. photo 4 I was a week away from my 23rd birthday when I started culinary school. My friends and family had always suggested culinary, even when I was studying exercise and sports science. I’d always argued that I’m “not cut-throat enough for culinary school” and kind of brushed it off. photo 3   photo 4 I’ve been baking ever since I can remember. I have vivid memories of a friend and I making cookies in the kitchen, eating most of the dough with a spoon before it even made it to the oven. When my friends and I started our Friday Night Dinners 4 1/2 years ago, I was making dessert 99% of the time. IMG_5503 When I started culinary school a year and a half ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I was thrown into two accelerated classes, getting through a nutrition class and an intro to culinary lecture class in 5 short weeks. There were 15 people in my cohort when I started and I’m the only one from that group finishing the program I enrolled in. IMG_4933 Over the last year and a half I’ve learned a lot, improved both my cooking and baking skills significantly, met some great people, and got to work with and learn from some great Portland chefs (including a James Beard award winner). I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone, redefined a new comfort zone, made boxes out of chocolate and baskets out of bread. Tackled cuisines of the world, costed out recipes, and made plans for a restaurant that was so much work, I’m rethinking every thought I’ve had to open my own place. IMG_3944   IMG_4503 I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents. They were the ones who pushed me to get information and tour the school to see if it was something I was interested in. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to call them my parents. Thanks to Taylor for coming with me on the tour, watching my face light up as I heard all about it and your cheerleading. Thanks to Dustin for giving the best tour possible, answering all of our questions and helping me through the application process. To Mary, Annie and the rest of our crew scattered around the West (best) coast, thanks for your support, sweet words, and encouragement. To anyone I’ve ever made eat one of my random creations — THANK YOU! IMG_5935 I’m so happy to have been able to share this journey with you and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’ll be posting new recipes more regularly and I’m so excited for everything coming up 🙂 IMG_5754

Culinary School: Final Quarter

I’m procrastinating.

I shouldn’t be, but I am. And I’m very good at it.

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This is my last quarter of culinary school and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the quarter that kicks my butt. I’m only taking two classes, which is totally manageable, but one of the classes is my capstone which is a lot of work. We have 10 weeks to come up with a pretty comprehensive business plan for a restaurant we want to own.

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This includes a concept, location, mission statement, business philosophy, menu, recipes, costed recipes, a floor plan, food & beverage purchasing options, hiring processes, job postings and more things than I can even think of off the top of my head.

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On top of that we have a book that goes along with our class and we’re supposed to answer the chapter review questions. I don’t think I’ve answered chapter review questions for a class since high school and I’m not really sure how answering these is going to help me but I’m just going with it.

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At least I have my breads class. There are 16 people in my class which is way too many when we’re making 4-6 breads a day. The good news is my group is pretty much the best group in the class. We get there at 6:30, start the bread-making process (which can take a long time), and walk out the door with bags full of bread at 12:00. {Sidenote: we make a lot of bread…if you’re in the Portland area and ever want some, let me know!}

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Everyday we make what we call a Parisian Daily Bread (because we make it everyday, get it?) 🙂 We also have three or four other breads we make that change each day. I like making bread at home, but because I don’t have all the fancy equipment like a proof box, I don’t do it very often. It’s nice having all the the tools we need at school to make really good bread.

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My dog is obsessed with bread and when I come through the door when I get home she is far more excited to sniff out the bag of bread than greet me. It’s a little heartbreaking. I then have to lock the bread up in a room so she doesn’t eat it all.

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I had plans to share a recipe with you all this week, but the person I made it for has decided he doesn’t want me to share my recipe with anyone so I won’t. But keep your eyes peeled for something fantastic this time next week!

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Truffles Everywhere!

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You guys.

Chocolate might be my favourite ingredient. Ever. 

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I’m seriously having so much fun in my chocolates class this quarter. It makes getting up at 5am totally worth it.

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This probably sounds weird, but I’m not a huge chocolate girl. Don’t get me wrong, chocolate is delicious but I’ve been known to keep chocolate, uneaten, for a long, long time. My best friend is a certified chocaholic and she thinks I’m crazy. Which may or may not be true, but that’s not the point. Basically, chocolate bars sit unopened until she comes around.

Our friendship is beautiful.

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Back to this chocolates class though. We literally play with chocolate for 5 hours a day, two times a week. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. We’ve spent the last two weeks making truffles and it’s been so great! Hand-dipped truffles, molded truffles, truffles filled with every kind of ganache you can think of. I’ve been in truffle heaven for the last two weeks and I don’t want to leave.

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I’ve also been taking a World Cuisine class. It’s fun, but definitely not as fun as playing with chocolate. There are only 5 people in this class, compared to the 14 people in my chocolates class. The first week we focused on Greek food and last week we did some Middle Eastern food. It’s been fun learning about the different foods in various cuisines and how some of the foods are grown/where they come from.

I’m pretty sure this is going to be an awesome quarter and I’m so excited to learn all I can over the next 8 weeks!

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