What Culinary School Is Like


2.11.11 – Compre Practicals

Okay, before you panic and get grossed out.. this happened last year (October 2010). I just love how this picture reminds me of how Culinary School molded me into a better human being.

You see, I am just your average student. I am the fat kid that they bullied in grade school,the high school girl that was sent out of her Math Class cause she would rather talk to this boy than let her mind explode because of that algebra Formula (why find x anyway if you could ask y?) and the girl who shifted from Commerce to Culinary in College.

If I’m lazy, its either I get an average score or I flunk (mind you that I still manage to keep my distance from that red pen at the end of the term). I like being challenged. In high school I would often tell myself, I want to be in a school where I will be graded not only because of a paper I wrote. However, we don’t get everything that we want and need in an instant. Sometimes, life takes an alternate route for us to learn, and most of the time to prepare us for something great.

It took me 2 years to reach that beautiful road that God engineered for me. I’m sure He heard me say “I don’t want to be classmates with teens who are barely legal when I’m 25”.

Culinary School wasn’t easy. I hate the notion that we go to school and “just cook” so there’s really no education in there. First, WE COOK we don’t “just cook”. We cook with our soul, not only with our eyes but with our soul. We may serve you eggs during breakfast, but I’m sure we can serve you eggs cooked in different ways every day in a week. Second, Culinary is education — we don’t just get an education by the book, we get it first hand, in our palms..we are educated through experience, an experience that even your thickest book in Biology can’t even explain.

So just imagine my dismay when someone called me “Kusinera”. No judgment to kusineras, but hey! I am working my A off to earn that 4 letter word before my name (and I know it would take me probably a decade to be worthy of that). I am struggling to reach Level 10 and you call me a Kusinera? That instance really motivated me to finish this and prove to them that Culinary School is not just about opening your stove and heating a pan. Culinary is more than that.

When I entered Culinary School, all I can hear from the people around me was “You will surely get FAT, and COOK for us”. Amongst the two, there is only one that I managed to attain immediately..gaining weight and being fat lol. I remember, I couldn’t even touch raw chicken, that my friend Nikki had to get one for me from the crate, but after a few inhales and exhales, I finally stabbed that pinkish flesh and massacred it with my newly honed knife.

I don’t have beautiful hands, I admit. There are days that I would look like I am brutally harassed by my boyfriend due to cuts and burns. I did not mind at all though — okay fine…maybe I did..knife cuts are torture(I hate blood), and burns are evil. In Culinary school, we call those marks “battle scars”. My battle scars are my constant reminder of how I worked hard to be exactly where I want to be.

Most students would probably review with piles of papers on their desk while sipping a cup of coffee in Starbucks. In our school, we review by practicing in the kitchen, wishing that it’s not 100 degrees,hoping that we won’t run out of cold water to drink and longing to sit after standing up for 6 hours without having to even rest for 5 minutes. When we walk out of the kitchen, we would probably smell like walking meat or most of the time onion, and we usually look like we just jogged for an hour.

Everything will finally pay off when I see that 6 letter word beside my name on that bulletin board outside the Programs’ office. 8 dreadful levels then Compre. Ha! COMPRE. I’ve been so nervous about it since Level 5! Hearing stories about some students retaking the practicals for the 3rd time is quite nerve-racking already, but having to enroll yourself in Culinary School again and do the basics for the second time is excruciating. So imagine our fear when it is our time already. Nobody wants to get that F word beside their name, but all of us must wade through to get that 6 letter word..PASSED.

2.11.11 – Hello Compre!

We were given 2 cuisines that we might get that day — Asian and European. Both sets have different dishes that we have to cook at a certain amount of time.

After weeks of practicing, you are finally here. I couldn’t sleep the night before Compre, I’ve been telling myself for weeks that I want it to be over already, but I don’t know how. I am uncertain if I’ll pass or not, I don’t know if I practiced enough, all I know is I went to school that morning unprepared, despite the fact that I brought in 2 enormous boxes of things I might need and a bag of tools! I wanted to pick Asian, I prepared everything for Asian! But again, God lead me to an alternate route, he gave me European instead. I wanted to die the moment I saw the word “Spanakopita”! I was like “WTeFFF!” my plates are for Asian, I only made an action plan for Asian, I WANT ASIAN..”I’M SCREWED”. I just told myself that,God brought me to this situation cause he knows I CAN. I do not know how I got through it. All I know was, while I was cooking I’ve been telling myself that this is the moment that I prayed for, the feeling that I’ve always wanted, to feel….great. Being able to pass those 3 plates, having to enter the room with 6 Professional Chefs, standing there hoping to hear the word “pass” without minding if its low or not..definitely made me feel the thing that I’ve been praying for.

I went out of the deliberation room with the hugest smile ever! I did it. I PASSED. Yaaaay. (OMG I am still hyped just thinking about it). I made it through.Anyway, I immediately texted my parents, the 2 treasures that I wanted to be proud of me, the best support ever and the people who never failed to remind me that I am going to be great. I passed the most important exam in my 20 years of existence.

Daddy picked me up from school, upon entering the car he congratulated me with the sweetest Daddy smile ever. He told me that he nearly cried when he read my message (awww Daddy. I am so glad I made you happy) and to break the senti mood, he jokingly said, he saved the message cause it was in English :)) Well, my Dad saves all of my letters,even the simple notes such as “thank you Daddy”. He wanted to celebrate, but I opted to just go home and rest since I only slept for 3 hours. My Mom greeted me and congratulated me with her most “kikay” voice. I FELT LOVED, and I repeat, I am so glad that I made my parents happy. This is not only for me, this is for them as well.

Since it’s Friday, we went to church after dinner. We had lots of reasons to be grateful for that week.

I thanked God for rewarding me with something sbig. I wouldn’t have done it without Him. He was my main source of strength and hope.


R <3

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