My Kitchen From Scratch

Culinary School Reflection Week 14 & 15

Posted on: April 15, 2012

Despite a gruelling final two weeks of the professional culinary program, I have made it to the end and I have graduated from my culinary course. 15 weeks went by so quickly and I remembered practising how to slice and dice by first cutting flour with a bench scraper. Now I not only could slice but I could also understand what it takes to produce delicious meals from a professional kitchen.

It was certainly not easy. In our final three days, we simulated an actual restaurant by serving our friends and family. The first two were lunches and the final day, a dinner. The challenge was to produce hot food in a short amount of time. While soups were fairly easy to keep hot, hot appetizers and mains were a bit more tricky as they often have multiple components. I felt that I was fine with garde manger and dessert but I was disappointed with my performance at the hot station at the final dinner. I fumbled when I had multiple orders, and I overcooked my pork tenderloin. I am so sorry that my guests had to eat dry pieces of tenderloin.

Needless to say I was distraught. Glad that the night was over but I felt I let myself down at the same time. As I left the kitchen, I quietly walked behind my classmate who was with her mum and her fiancee. Her mum was asking about her menu and her teammates and she looked noticeably proud. It was a beautiful moment as they left for their car together. It reminded me of myself as a child when I left school with my mum after a special event. That no matter what happened, somebody will still be proud of what I did. I cook because I was inspired by my friends and family and the memories that we created. And seeing that moment in front of me made it all worth it.

At the graduation two days ago, I was never prouder to march across the end of the line with my classmates, each of them with their own story and a different path in the future. One classmate struck me in particular. She works at hotels in the weekends and attends the culinary classes during the day. I also found out that she’s a single mother with a son and she has no family in Vancouver. While not the most graceful cook, she is probably the toughest of all because she kept trying and trying to be better while making ends meet. She comes to class with a positive attitude and did not shed a tear when things don’t work. If that’s not perseverance, I don’t know what is. It’s truly my pleasure to graduate with great people like her.

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Hi, my name is Kwokmun Lee. Learn more about me and my site here

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