Rooted

I closed my locker, with its contents spread before my feet, and left the building carrying my knives and tools and a tall white hat under my arm. Our practical exam strung 110 lessons into six well executed dishes.  The smoldering kitchen, thick with muddled smells from our collective cooking, was awash with joy.  The…

In Saturated Hues

We drove along the interstate in the early morning, having returned late the night before from several days of work travel. This was my last weekend of class, and the anticipated relief mitigated my fatigue from tightly compacted commitments. One practical exam remains and my classroom studies will be complete. The sun shined brightly and…

Glitter

I wanted to share with you a delightfully upbeat post – one with some glitter or, at the very least, shine. I had hoped that the lead into my final round of classes had vibrance, lightness and clarity. And that the culmination of this experience derived from sadness would yield fervor and gratitude. And so…

Listen

The weekend was wet and unseasonably chilly, but the underlying scent of spring brought the promise of gleaming sun and warm breezes. Cherry Blossoms and Flowering Dogwoods contrasted the grey morning sky.  It was our last pastry class and the practical exam led us to the final module in the program. We pressed cool butter…

Ripple

I ate buttercream for breakfast and chocolate mousse for lunch. It was a deliciously self-indulgent meal plan. We made gelatin desserts with powders and plastic-like sheets blooming into thick rich textural wonders. Creams came together in silken ribbons and marshmallows melted slowly in our mouths. Buttercream was smudged on the cuffs of my sleeve and…

Invisible 

The kitchen smelled like a fanciful child’s dream with dancing unicorns and spinning cotton candy. Pinatas swung high in the air as butter bubbled and puppies pounced with each smear of cream.  Fermentation was the basis of our study and I was intrigued about how a simple mixture of flour and water could become a…

Latitude

I switched on the kitchen-aid mixer and creamed together butter and sugar. Its repetitive whirling song was a comforting melody recounting history. The juncture brought me to the earliest germ of this journey’s progression. Baking, in my childhood kitchen, and then again in my earliest professional endeavor, connects my past with forward motion. The taste…

Like Watercolor

After spending weeks studying European cuisine, we moved onto the heat of green and red curry and the cool taste of coconut milk.  We toasted masala blends and wrapped our hands around bamboo mats to curl rice, vegetables, and fish around shiny green nori tiles.  Our study of Asian food was broad and brief, but…

Passing By

While most people enjoyed wings and nachos, I sampled handmade fettuccini and mozzarella, swordfish rolled and stuffed with pine nuts and currants, poached sea bass with white wine, tomato and basil, caponata, and dozens of other southern Italian dishes. It wasn’t an ordinary menu for Super Bowl Sunday. The food was outstanding, so it is…

Layered

We finished our tour in France with Provence, Burgundy, and Lyonnais and then moved onto Italy. On my way home, my beef bourguignon was confiscated by TSA. The glazed pearl onions, sautéed mushrooms, and lardons decorated the container of stew like modern art. I parted with it begrudgingly. Many of the dishes of France were…

Little Hands

With the start of module three, came a new instructor, new team assignments and new stations. Having completed our lessons on fundamental techniques, we moved into an exploration of flavor learning the cuisines of countries around the world. We started with two regions in France, the foods varying based on the topography of the land,…

Weathered

Despite all that could have gone wrong this weekend, nothing did. Tiny white specks wafted leisurely at the car’s windshield as we drove to the airport. It was not until we had landed in New York that Richmond became slathered in depths of white snow. While en route to class in the morning, tiny floating…