Mod 2 Done! Now for Mod 3, with more food and less drama!
Posted June 2, 2009on:
I haven’t been blogging much lately. I haven’t felt the need to write out my observations about mod 2, my classmates or my instructor basically because as this mod progressed I wouldn’t have had many nice things to say. So now that it’s finished, I will reflect upon more of the good things from this mod and try to just only touch on the bad things. I know I really should just not say anything, if I don’t have anything nice to say, but unfortunately, I’m not that polite. I will however, try to be as objective as possible, now that I’m no longer in the moment.
Mod 2 was all about different cooking methods, sauteing, grilling, roasting, braising, stewing, poaching, etc. And I did have the chance to learn how to approach these techniques in the ways they would be approached in a professional kitchen. Some of the food was really good and there were times when we did manage to work well as a group. And our practical exam was not as difficult as we were led to believe. I actually managed to do rather well!
Our chef instructor was very approachable on an individual basis. She was knowledgeable and definitely focused on the real world aspects of the restaurant business.
While our chef instructor was very approachable and knowledgabeable, she did have other issues. The first and most obvious was her lack of classroom management. Unfortunately, since I was a teacher, I did view a lot of her actions in the classroom through those lenses. She would often yell and scream at us as if we were children. She would also often swear. I know these behaviors are the reality in the culinary industry and honestly, I don’t generally have a problem with them. However, I do find them unprofessional and out of place in a classroom, even if the classroom is a kitchen. She would also make regular marijuana references in class, assuming that everyone in the class was a regular user.
And probably the most confusing thing of all, she was inconsistent in the way she judged our food. A steak that looked like a medium done steak to me, was medium well for someone else. And a rare steak was different also for different people. We were not encouraged to use our instant read thermometers, which would give us all a better gauge, even if they were not often used in a real-world kitchen
Aside from the issues with the instructor, we also had a lot of issues as a class. It was during this mod where different cliques formed. The classroom felt like high school again with the popular kids in one clique and everyone else in others. It was interesting and sad to see how a class of 16 adults managed to fall into the same dynamics most people fall prey to in high school. It was also frustrating to see how the instructor would play into those different cliques and clearly pick her favorites in the class.
After the instructor and the cliques, there was the food. One thing the instructor was really good at was telling us which recipes were good or not. However, she would also often and obviously make up “better” recipes on the fly. These “better” recipes weren’t bad, however, they didn’t usually taste like what we thought they were supposed to be. For example, we were given a barbecue sauce recipe in our class books, which she said was not good, so she gave us a different one, one that she made up. (She did later admit that she made it up.) The sauce was not bad, but I can’t say that it really did taste like barbecue sauce. Maybe I’m too used to the bottled stuff? I don’t know. It was just odd.
This week we start mod 3, advanced cooking techniques and international cuisines. I am excited to see the new things we’ll learn. I am also excited to have an instructor that I know is not only a great chef but also a great teacher. Bring on Mod 3!!