Monday, September 28, 2009

Hey y'all. This post is going to be a bit short, because I'm absolutely exhausted from class, but I wanted to give you a quick update. I'm in the middle of my Fundamentals class, where we learn basic technique and line work. Basically, it means that we practice our knife cuts, cooking procedures, and speed, all while creating meals for the dining room. It's a pretty intense class, but I really like it. I was chef of the day the other day, which means I get to basically run the kitchen, and that was really interesting, and the chef complimented me. (: He asked me if I did any culinary classes in high school, and was impressed when I said I hadn't, so I felt pretty good about myself.

Get this. For our final lab practical exam we have to make a perfect omelette (French, NOT American, there's a big difference), over easy eggs, tournet a potato, and julienne, brunoise and batonnet a carrot. If you don't know what those are, please look them up, because they're too hard to explain. They are "simple" knife cuts though. "Simple" is in quotations beacause they are actually a huge pain. They have to be perfectly symmetrical and even. Therefore, very frustrating. So, I've cooked about 15 omelettes so far at home (my friends have eaten a LOT of eggs) and I plan on working on my knife cuts and over easy eggs this week, before my final on Thursday.

This post is winding up to be longer than I thought. I wanted to give you a little description of the main people I've been hanging out with here. Probably my two best friends here are Marina and Jess. Marina is one of my roommates. We share both a room and a love for musical theater, which is awesome. We had a huge dance party the other day to Thoroughly Modern Millie and she has a Hairspray poster which makes me really happy. She's from Maryland and is a Baking and Pastry student. My other really good friend is Jess. She's from New Jersey and is a Yankees fan...which causes some contention but we deal with it. She's also in Baking and Pastry, but we have class at the same time and get out at the same time so we hang out a lot, go to the beach, go shopping, etc. She's a lot of fun and a really really good friend. She's not my roommate but she's basically always over. Some of my other close friends are Mike from Tampa who I met at orientation, Zenia one of my other roommates, Gisell who lives next door, etc. I'm meeting a lot of really great people.

I'll give some more updates soon hopefully! This week will be pretty stressful, but hopefully really great. Au Revoir!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My heart it grows, I think it shows.

So, I'm going to brag a little bit. On Thursday we had our practical exam for my Purchasing and Product ID class that I wrote about before. You know, the one where we had to identify 200 items? Well, there were actually 203...and it was awesome. I missed about 34, which sounds kind of bad, but....drumroll please.....I got the best score in the class! I mean, it was really difficult. Do you know what annatto seeds look like? Taro root? Fenugreek? I don't think so. Needless to say, most people failed actually. I got an 86, buuuut, he scaled the scores because all of them were so bad. If you don't know what scaling is, it's when the highest grade is brought up to 100, and the amount that the top scorer missed is added to everyone else's score. Therefore, I got a 100 and everyone else got 14 points added to their score! I was extremely happy.

Today was our last day of that class, thank God, and we took our final, which I was really worried about, but I think I actually did really well. It involved a lot of math, which isn't my strong point, but I studied and HOPE that I succeeded. (: Tomorrow I start Fundamentals, which basically means I'm learning how to chop and make simple things. Kind of elementary, but at least I get to cook! I can't wait!

This weekend was awesome. Just basically hung out with awesome people, went to the beach some more, went to South Beach Friday night. On Thursday we went out for my friend's birthday to a little Cuban restaurant down the street that is absolutely amazing. He's 100 percent Cuban and says that the food there is better than his "Abuela's," or grandma's. Now THAT'S a compliment. I can't say that I've had any food down here better than yours yet Grandma! I can't wait for you and Pa to get down here so I can visit you all the time for some home cooked meals and quality time at the cluuuuub. Thanks also to Peggy who sent me an awesome Red Sox hat. I have an extreme amount of Boston pride down here because there are so few of us. I've worn that hat many many times so far. You all are so supportive! Feel free to call me anytime if you want to know more. It gets hard to update this a lot and answer all your questions via the blog, so if you have a question, give me a call!

Lots of love, hope it's not too cold up there. (:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Time means nothing.

Sorry for not posting in a few days, this week has been pretty crazy. I had a huge paper/project due yesterday that I literally sat and worked on for 4 hours without taking a break. I felt like a real student and was actually really proud that I was able to motivate myself to work so hard without procrastinating. Tomorrow I have a test that I'm actually excited for? We have to identify about 200 items in the kitchen ranging from fenugreek to lotus root. My job at Stop and Shop might come in handy for this one. I'm kind of looking at it like a Top Chef challenge, and think I'll do really well. Purchasing and Product ID ends on Monday, then I actually get to start cooking. Yay!

Don't get me wrong, I'm having an unbelievable time here. Meeting lots of different people, working hard, etc. Except I have to say that there are a few things I've learned I HATE about Florida. For instance:

1) The humidity. I always feel like I'm covered in a thin layer of water. The weather's beautiful for the most part, but testy and always humid, always.

2) The drivers. They're crazy! I swear people in Florida don't know how to drive correctly.

3) The speeeed. Every salesperson, and person in general, is so slow and methodical about everything. Coming from MA, I know how to move quickly! Yet everyone down here moves like molasses...except when they're driving.

These things clearly bother me, but the awesome things about Florida cancel them out. For instance, besides the obvious:

1) JAMBA JUICE. I swear I could live on it. Pure delicious smoothies that we just don't have up north.

2) The clear WARM water. I went to the beach for about an hour and a half today, and the water was like bathwater. Nothing like the frigid rocky seas of Cape Cod. I love the Cape with a passion, but if we could switch out its ocean water and sand for what we have down here, that'd be awesome.

3) The speeeeed. I know I said I hated this. Yet, it's actually kind of nice sometimes, especially with salespeople. They call me "Miss Kelly" and give me friendly smiles. If I'm in a rush it's just annoying, but sometimes I like it, it makes me feel respected.

I really have to go to bed now because of my awesome test in the morning! I promise I'll write more though. There's so much to say! Bon nuit!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm on my feet, I'm on the floor, I'm good to go.

So two big updates!

1) I GOT MY CAR! It fiiiiiinally arrived, I was bouncing up and down when it pulled in. It's so nice to have the freedom to drive around now. I really missed my little bug. The only annoying thing is that we got my car cleaned and washed before we shipped it, but it got really dirty on the outside in the shipping process, so I think I'm going to go down the street and get it washed again. There's this really weird car wash that doubles as a restaurant? So my friends and I are going to try it out.

2) I started classes! I'm on a lab schedule right now, which means I have a culinary class from 7-1 for nine days. Each lab is nine days, I take a final, then move onto another one. It's frustrating to have to get up so early, but I'm out of class by 1 unless I have a my stupid freshman seminar class (which is pretty pointless) on Tuesdays or my sanitation class (which I haven't had yet) on Mondays. So I have all my afternoons free pretty much!

My first lab is Purchasing and Production Identification, which is about as boring as it sounds. We basically fill the requisite orders for all the other labs (grocery shop in the storeroom) for two hours, then listen to the chef lecture about can sizes and cost sheets for the rest of the day. He gives us really only one break to go to the bathroom in a total of six hours, and he's pretty strict. So it's not the most enjoyable class ever, but I'm still having fun and enjoying myself.

I had to submit a menu today for a restaurant as part of my final project for the class, where we'll break down our menues and figure out what ingriedients we need and how much they'll cost and what not. I did a Cape Cod themed restaurant idea, with lobster, clam chowder, etc. Stuff I miss from home!

Aside from classes, life is really good. I'm making a lot of really cool friends and working really hard because I'm so passionate about what I'm doing. It feels awesome putting on my chef coat everyday. Miss you all! Feel free to send me stuff if you have my address, I finally figured out how to open my mailbox :)

Beaucoup d'amour! (:

Monday, September 7, 2009

What could make me feel this way?

So is it ironic that today is Labor Day, and they woke us up at 7AM to make us do involuntary service projects? Labor on Labor Day doesn't seem right to me....but oh well.

Apparently we were all required to do various service projects today. This morning we signed up for where we wanted to go, then each proceeded with our fellow servers to our service sites. I decided to work at an assisted living home, because I really like hanging out with older people, it was air conditioned, and I didn't have to clean up trash.

When we got there we had to sit around and wait for a wicked long time until all the residents woke up and the activities director got there. The whole project wasn't really planned involved a lot of waiting and down time, which was semi nice because I got to sort of half sleep? But also frustrating because I wanted to move and do stuff. FINALLY, residents started showing up, and the bonding begun.

I ended up coloring most of the time with two of my friends and a few residents. A bunch of the residents didn't speak English, so it was hard to communicate, but it was still interesting. We met a bunch of characters: a little old Russian woman who spoke NO english but was obsessed with our drawings and examined them like a critic, a little old lady who apparently used to be in movies and sing in Hollywood? (She gave us beautiful renditions of Unforgettable and her specialty, When You're Smiling), another old woman who would NOT stop talking and made no sense but was still hilarious, and other various characters. We colored for a while, then had an epic dance party, where the residents stared at us dancing to Jackson 5, NSync, The Temptations, and other various upbeat songs, while smiling and clapping their hands.

I really really didn't want to do this service today because I haven't gotten much sleep, but it actually turned out to be an awesome experience. I felt like we were actually making a difference just by bringing a smile to the residents' faces and engaging in activities with them. A bunch of friends and I are planning on going back and perhaps putting on some kind of show for them. Should be exciting.

Good mood, good day. All is well. I got to do some meaningful service, hang out with my friends and get off campus to walk around the mall, and talk to my sister who I haven't spoken to since before I left. :) AND my car might be coming tonight! Yahoo!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'll keep you in my focus, with love and affection.

So, I just said goodbye to the parents. It was extremely weird, and exactly how someone who knows our family would expect. Mom was teary eyed, Dad was jokey and loving, classic Kelly personas. After eating a delicious meal at a little Cuban restaurant, we bid adieu. I'm really really gonna miss them. They've been married for 24 years tomorrow. 18 of those were spent raising me, and I'm so grateful. They're pretty awesome.

Aaaaaanyways, my car situation has become increasingly weirder and weirder. Apparently the driver of the truck carrying my car's brother died yesterday in a car crash? Sooooo instead of driving my car to Miami with ALL my stuff in it, he's been greiving and making funeral arrangements...It's a pretty ridiculous situation. So, I have absolutely no idea when my car will be here. Hopefully in the next few days.

In the meantime I've met some pretty awesome people who've lent me uniform items, sheets and towels. I miss my stuff though! I spent about 2 hours making a sicknasty bulletin board covered with pictures of my friends, and I really want it. Also, my friend made me an awesome college survival kit that is currently MIA with my car. So it's a little frustrating, but I'm adapting! As my dad said at dinner tonight, "It's like if you went into the kitchen...and you didn't have a pot! You have to adapt." Good analogy Dad...but yes, I'm making due without my "pot."

I'm pretty proud of myself that I've been blogging a lot lately. For the few faithful followers I have, (Peggy and Bonnie, Gram and Pa!) I can't promise that I'll be this efficient in the future. I went to an orientation for my classes today and they're gonna be pretty intense, so I may not have a ton of time during the week. BUT, I got my knife kit....and it's freaking awesome. It was like Christmas morning getting that thing.

The pictures I posted are of my dorm, except it's not completely decorated yet. I have borrowed sheets and won't have the rest of my stuff until my car gets here, so once I finish decorating I'll put more up! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Welcome to Miami.

So, all moved in.

...except for the fact that I have no sheets, towels, uniform, OR car, since the company we used to ship my car with all my stuff inside has been extremely incompetant and the car, which was supposed to be here at 9AM, is STILL not here. Soooo, I will be dirty and uncomfortable tonight...but oh well. I'm just happy to be in my dorm. Even though the day was EXTREMELY stressful and annoying.

After a Target shopping spree, my fantastic parents unpacked and moved in all my new stuff while I spend 2 hours on the phone with Dell tech support, fixing the wireless on my laptop. It's also a tad lonely here now because none of my roommates are sleeping here tonight and most of my friends live in a different dorm and aren't allowed to visit until Tuesday. Therefore, I'm blogging!

There's some sort of "foam party" tonight at nine. Elusive name, right? First I thought it had something to do with shaving cream...then I thought maybe it was a big room and all the walls were coated with foam pads and we'd run around and bounce off them? But no, I was reassured that it was a room filled with soapy foamlike is that fun? Apparently it's a really big event, you need yellow wristbands to get in beacuse some upperclassmen try to sneak I think I'll check it out.

I'm gonna go make some friends now! More later. A bientot!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fly away to what you want to make.

I'm the first of my kind.

I'm the only person in the 25+ years my tiny little private all girls high school has been around to graduate and go to culinary school. I'm not saying my class wasn't varied, interesting, or diverse. One girl went to study philosophy at Amherst, another continued onto Tisch at NYU to become an actress, another is studying education at St. Anselm's. Yet, no one has ever entered the world of food. And what a strange, small, specialized little world it is. Applying to schools was extremely tough. No one knew how to help me. Not my parents, my college counselor, my friends. Therefore, I was pretty much alone. Yet, I made it through senior year and am headed off to Johnson and Wales University in Miami on Friday, majoring in culinary arts and restaurant management, following my dream of becoming a chef and owning a restaurant one day.

When I told people where I was going to school I got an ENDLESS amount of questions. Why go into the food industry? You live in Massachusetts, why choose the Miami campus over the Providence one? Don't you know how difficult the industry you're entering is? Do you think you'll be able to handle it? The questions were always the same. And my answers were always the same. I know EXACTLY what I'm getting myself into. Classes at 7AM, going into a profession where I'll be working long arduous hours and holidays, strict uniforms, etc. I chose Miami because I need to get out of New England. After going to school in a class of sixteen girls for 7 years, I needed to explore, expand my horizons, and meet different varied people of different backgrounds and lifestyles. I also preferred the Miami campus because of the weather (obviously) and the fact that the culinary students were integrated with the rest of the school, as opposed to living on a different campus.

Really, the reason why I'm majoring in what I'm majoring in, going where I'm going, living where I'm living is to do what I've been wanting to do since I was eleven in the best way how. I have an unbelievable passion for food. I believe cooking is one of the most beautiful, spectacular art forms. I always knew I wanted to go into something creative, yet I never could really succeed in art class. When I found cooking, it just kind of clicked. I could make something beautiful, AND satisfy other people in the process. Food is an art that appeals to all the senses: the smell of caramelizing onions, the taste of a fresh piece of melon, the sound of butter sizzling on a pan, the feel of tart dough in your hands, the sight of a perfect finished dish. I've found so much happiness in food, and I hope to continue working with it as long as I can.

I'm starting this blog in order to update my family, friends, and anyone who wants to read about my adventures in culinary school. It's sure to be an interesting journey. I can't promise that I'll be faithful and write on a scheduled basis, but I'll try my hardest! Bon Appetit!