Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I Learned at Culinary School: One Month In



One month into her year-long program at the L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, past Sustainable Food for Thought member Janene Flanagan shares her freshly acquired kitchen wisdom:

NEVER use non-stick cookware.
Burns happen. Arms, Hands, Fingers. Get over it.
Be nice to your dishwashers. They are your friends.
Don't be scared, it's only cooking not brain surgery.
When in doubt, strain it.
Julia Child was brilliant.
Hollandaise can be too hot, too cold, too thick or too thin, know how to make it perfectly.
Things you think that are going to be hard aren't.
Things you think that are going to be easy are impossible.
Hydrate. Drink more water than you think you can bare.

Whisk faster.
You don't need measuring cups or spoons ever ever (when you're cooking).
You need measuring cups or spoons always always (when you're baking).
Don't forget to remove your nose ring. Ooops.
Most personalities on television have no idea how to cook "properly." Who knew?!
Use cream, not milk. Use stock, not water.
Make your own stock. It's 100 times better than store bought. So is salad dressing, and mayonnaise, and everything else for that matter. Make it.
Smile and pretend you know what your talking about when presenting menus.
Memorize your mother sauces. In fact memorize everything.
Breathe.
Salt and pepper are the most important seasonings. Invest in a pepper grinder and a salt pig.
Don't touch your face. Sneeze in your arm. Wear your hat. Keep your towel in your sights at all times or you might never see it again.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Keep telling yourself it can only get easier, even though you know its a total lie.

Salted butter is an absolute no no.
Your never too old to learn something new.
Taste everything.
Your Chef's Knife should be the most expensive tool in your kitchen. Pony up.
Keep your knives sharp. Have plenty of bandages on hand.
Learn French.
Etuvee, Mise en Place, Liaison, Panade, Nappe, Fraisage, Peler A Vif, Chiffonade.... know it yesterday because tomorrow there will be two dozen more in their place to know.

Pray.

Janene Flanagan pulled up her Portland roots in 2010 to venture into the wild eastern lands of Washington D.C. Prior to her move, she participated in Sustainable Food for Thought's Food Group and shared candidly her hesitations in the kitchen. Since then, she's settled with her husband Patrick into their East Coast season and has turned a fantastic new culinary leaf! We wish her all the best over the next eleven months of school...

4 comments:

Bethany said...

Janene, I love you to death! I'm so excited for you and so happy to hear that you're diving head first into this amazing adventure. Bravo, friend! And thanks for letting us read over your shoulder :)

Amber Blue Bird said...

well it sounds like you have learned a lot already. Eat everything is something that I could totally get on board with.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that means a lot coming from you. PS. There are moments in the kitchen when I have tried to channel my inner Foodie Bethany... I feel you there in spirit my friend. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous AKA Janene. For some reason google is giving me grief over my password???

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