The day has come and class P1182 is standing in uniform at our benches in Kitchen 9, which is where we will assemble for our practical lesson each Tuesday. I am excited, a little nervous and very happy to be exactly where I am standing.
We number 16 and I am not surprised to note that I am the lone (dreaded) ‘mature age’ student of the group…..with most of them around the age of my children, somewhere between 21 – 27. Quite a few are already working in the industry, some of them embarking on an apprenticeship within good restaurants and pub kitchens. I am the only student who has a (long) career in a totally different field, and who at the age of 57 dares to set out on a new path. We are told we will become a family over the next 2 years, supporting each other through our studies and work within the kitchen …..as this was shared with the class I think quietly to myself, “I guess that’ll make me the mum then” … a thought which rings true when later in the morning I assist several with the tying of their neck cravats. 😄
Day 1 is mostly about the rules of the kitchen, what is expected and why things are done they way they are. Chef moves with ease through the lesson outline, covering all the elements and bringing everyone together. The highlight of the class was starting on our knife skills to practice precision cuts. This allows us to learn which knife we use for what, i.e., ‘the right tool or the right job’ and the importance of mis en place. We cover how to finely chop parsley, make a bouquet garni, cut mirepoix and the first few precision cuts; Jardiniere, Macedoine & Paysanne.
Finally, another take home lesson for me…. buy some band aids, ensure the small knives are stored handle out in my tool kit, keep my chefs knife tip under control and practice, practice, practice.
Bon Appetit & happy cooking!