Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The word is...overwhelmed?

A little over a week ago, I uprooted myself from comfy old Kingston, and headed to Stratford, Ontario, to attend Stratford Chefs School. The decision to go to culinary school was not easy- there are loads of pros and cons, and every chef, cook and dishwasher has an opinion one way or the other (and this is not a group of people that is reticent!). Once the decision was made, however, the choice of school was easy- SCS is, simply put, among the best cooking schools in North America. It is tiny in comparison to some of the big name American schools: think fewer than 80 students across both levels, compared to the nearly 3000 at the Culinary Institute of America, but it is mighty, and its curriculum packs a wallop, let me tell you.

I have an incredible course load- I am in practical cookery 4 hours per day (except for Thursdays, when I am in practical pastry for 4 hours); theory-wise, I have Food Costing (math), Gastronomy (food history), Food Style (art, design and concept), Nutrition, Writing, Wine, Commodities, Kitchen Management, and a surprisingly intense aerobics and movement class called Body Moves, which I swear to you, is going to transform me into a beautiful, graceful butterfly.

Oh yeah, and one of the school's restaurants, the Old Prune, is open during the school year, but is staffed by a rotating schedule of second year student chefs, who execute and expedite a nightly four-course menu. The dishwashers, servers and buspeople? First year students, i.e: me. Serving actual haute cuisine to actual paying customers. Granted, these customers are generally aware that they are participating in a learning experience and so are somewhat more forgiving than they might otherwise be, but it has been some time since I've been out of a kitchen, and the tidy hair and tucked-in dress shirt is so disconcerting. I'm not on dinner service every night- just once or twice a week, which is plenty, thank you very much!

All of this is in the interest of giving us a well-rounded education in the culinary arts.

And now, back to my Commodities reading. Please stay tuned for reports on my Michelin-starred chef-instructor, the ultra-cute town I'm living in, and my beyond creepy accommodations.

I miss you.


  1. Wow - that sounds really intense, but fun! I'd like to hear more about the creepy accommodations...

  2. Certainly sounds like its exhilarating. Glad you are enjoying it.

    Creepy as in Halloween or the Bates Motel?