Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Journey - Your Journey

I was asked my opinion of one time cooking classes versus the expense of going to a culinary school?

Culinary schools are expensive.  Learning about the culinary world is fascinating and it opens many avenues for people to explore.  Its about the why's of cooking that a culinary education teaches.  My last chef instructor said it best, "The hispanics who never went to a culinary school who cook in restaurants will cook circles around a culinary graduate.  But, they don't know the why's about the tasks they do. They are shown the task and they repeat it."  Grilling a pork chop is easy, understanding how to use that pork to make Thai cuisine is not.

Cooking classes are fun.  Learning how to make a sauce or how to make bread are fun things to learn.  And, at $75 a pop, not too expensive.  However, they don't build on a foundation.  You are shown how to do a task and you repeat what you are taught, much like the untrained hispanic cooks in restaurants.  My journey in culinary started there, in cooking classes.  No pun intended, it was a layer in the onion that exposed me to wanting to learn  more.  I wanted more of the "why's" answered.

A great book to read to get this perspective is "Medium Raw" by Anthony Bourdain.  One of the chapters, "So you wanna be a Chef", explores just this question.  (note, I had my title of chef wannaB long before I read this book).  It gives great examples and insights about this and many more culinary tidbits.

So my opinion about cooking classes is; take them.  If that's what you want, take the classes.  But ask questions.  Just don't keep nodding to what your told to do.  Talk to the chef instructors after class.  Get the why's!  Get their insight on this seemingly simple question.

I hope Your Journey will be as fun as My Journey.

1 comment:

Denise said...

Watching you cook, Tom, made me think of this quote by Harriet Van Horne, "Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." You have made us think about this more and more with your blog. Thanks for being a culinary inspiration. I had "Medium Raw" sent to my 'foodie' son for his birthday! Thanks for the knowledge and food TIDBITS.