First Day of Culinary School or is it Basic Training?
October 17, 2011
I wake up 5:45 AM: got to get ready for the first day at The Chef's Academy. Shower...check...shave...check…brush teeth...check.... deodorant...check...fingernails cut and clean...check. Put my freshly starched and pressed The Chef's Academy uniform with pants and chef's coat on. Wow, look at that crease in the sleeves and pant legs! Black Croc's cleaned and polished, black socks, fold and iron the neckerchief and put it on, tie it just like a necktie, got my skullcap and apron. Books?...check…chef's knife kit?...check..Wow, it's like déjà vu, why does this all seem eerily familiar? Uniform, hat, black shoes/boots and a weapon(s)?
6:55 AM: start the drive to school and I’m nervous.
7:05AM: arrive at TCA, meet some of the new and old students, everyone is looking sharp and new. Everything is hectic and scattered right now, everyone is wondering, "Do I have everything I am supposed to? Where do we go or who do we talk to?"
7:30 AM: first class: Strategies for Success with Mary Margaret McCamic. Everyone introduces themselves and it seems everyone is from all over and very diverse: New York, Ohio, California, NC, SC, VA, Canada even? Again this all seems so familiar. The class is very enlightening and helps you to believe in yourself and to succeed in reaching all of your life's goals and dreams.
9:40 AM: get out of class head to Kitchen Basics after everyone fumbles with their lockers and does a last minute check on everything from books to uniform, to appearance to ...weapons...err I mean knife kit.
9:50 AM: get to kitchen class and we meet Chef Rusty Nichols and Chef Paul. Wow these guys look like us except their uniforms are slightly different, they have a designation or rank on their coats and a BIG Chef's hat? Déjà vu again. Chef Rusty introduces himself and tells us all to line up for inspection, wow we are all toeing the line. Chef is inspecting us all, déjà vu? I got it, this is what it felt like going into the Army, brand new Privates with a Drill Sergeant/Drill Instructor BUT we are all soldiers in a Chef's Academy uniform (like BDU's which protect us), our weapon is a set of knives instead of an M16, our battlefield will be the kitchen. Chef inspects us all, "Hey first and only warning son, clean shaved tomorrow! Black socks and plain white t-shirt only Miss! Those shoes are not acceptable for the kitchen!" Wow Chef Rusty (First Sergeant head of Kilo Company/Kitchen Company) and Chef Paul (Platoon Sergeant) are like Drill Sergeants but respectful to the students/soldiers, and even Chef Wilson (He would have to be Commanding Officer/CO for the Company) and Chef Bane (General of 2nd Kitchen Battalion) inspect, greet and welcome us to Basic...err I mean The Chef's Academy.
Wow, it really is like being in the military again and in basic training. I have my Platoon with 32 total soldiers in training. My squad of Private Tyler, Private Chris, Private Jerry and Corporal Vince (he served sometime in the field already in another branch). There is such a camaraderie with everyone in class, everyone is from different backgrounds BUT, we are all here for the same reason… to graduate and become chef's or restaurant/business owners in the restaurant industry. We have all each other’s backs and help one another just like a military soldier, instead of going into battle, we go into the kitchen, work fast and efficiently. Team work is key and work with our knives(weapons) and all the kitchen equipment, battle through the elements , constantly learning so we can provide a service to our country or should I say to our customers. We started with 32 and it seems a few went AWOL but the remaining few, the Proud will become The Chef's Academy graduates and follow our dreams in the culinary field! It feels great to be a part of this school and part of an Army/Kitchen Brigade. Hopefully someday become a General (aka Executive Chef), just got to get through Basic training, then go to battle starting from dishwasher all the way through the stations as station chef, sous chef and work my way up to fulfill my dreams of cooking and making people happy with food. Let me end this LONG blog with this...
"As a proud member of the American Culinary Federation, I pledge to share my professional knowledge and skill with all culinarians. I will place honor, fairness, cooperation and consideration first when dealing with my colleagues. I will keep all comments professional and respectful when dealing with my colleagues. I will protect all members from the use of unfair means, unnecessary risks and unethical behavior when used against them for another's personal gain. I will support the success, growth, and future of my colleagues and this great federation."
*Adopted by the ACF at Board of Governors August, 2010
Signing off Out.. Hooooah!
Private/Culinary Student Terry Kim Rusch and One Day... General/Chef Terry Kim Rusch
The Chef's Academy North Carolina