I moved to Asheville exactly one year ago to start culinary school. For years, I had experimented with cooking, developed a strong palette, devoured culinary knowledge, and worked on my knife skills. But, I didn’t feel like I had enough understanding of how the industry works or even a strong grasp of many of the terms used. I needed a stronger base in classical cuisine and it was obvious that my next step had to be culinary school.
Never one to shy away from a challenge or an adventure, I set the bar high for myself and put in everything I had. I could never have imagined the amount of effort I have had to exert nor how easily and fully I have given my life to this task.
I have never been as busy as I am now. I work in a kitchen full-time and attend culinary school full-time. I am always exhausted. I never have time for myself. I am often alone. My body feels broken. I stand for 10-12 hours a day. I’m almost never free and when I do have a moment, all I want to do is stay at home and be boring with my amazing husband.
And, I love every minute of it. I have become so much more of a culinary beast than I ever thought I would. I work for a chef who believes in my skills and abilities. I have invited more responsibility so I can learn more about the managerial skills necessary to succeed in this industry. I have maintained a 4.0 at school and (hopefully) impressed upon my teachers how hungry I am for knowledge.
I have learned to approach food and cooking from different angles: from cost control to sanitation and safety, from the chemical reactions of different heat applications to the precision of knife cuts.
I must confess: I have not been as good as I had hoped at photographing my knife skill progress. One knife cut I have managed to document is mushroom fluting.
The fluted mushroom is considered one of the more difficult cuts to master and when most first attempt it, they find that their fingers can’t make sense of it.
My first fluted mushroom. Awful.
Still pretty bad.
…but with a little practice, I eventually produced something sort of refined looking.
They tasted excellent pan seared with trout.
BE WARNED: Some may find some of the following photos disturbing.
Speaking of cutting, I cut off the tip of my thumb two weeks before this past semester began.
It healed remarkably well, and is now almost undetectable.
There are a few people without whom I might not survive this whole experience. You know who you are. Thank you.