Thursday, February 23, 2012

Micro Blog: Caroline Laski

Everyone Can Draw. Everyone Can Cook.

When I was in high school I took a drawing class at a local college. The class was taught by an elderly man with a keen eye for form and a passion for teaching. As I sat in a classroom full of people I had never met, unknowing of their skill levels, I began to wonder if taking the class was just going to be a series of humiliations based on my humble attempts. The best advice this old man gave to us, which is something I've never forgotten, is that "everyone can draw". Perhaps it sounds naive when you first hear it, but if you think about it, the message is clear.

I believe cooking can be compared to drawing. From my own experience, I began learning to cook in a tiny college apartment kitchen. At that time, I mostly cooked white rice topped with canned tuna mixed with mayonnaise (speaking of humble attempts!). Growing up, this was a simple and inexpensive dish my Mom invented in our kitchen. In college, I didn't really devote much thought, time, or effort to cooking; I was more focused on doing well in school, spending time with my boyfriend, and having fun.

Time went on and circumstances changed. I began watching The Food Network every day at lunch while I job searched. I can't exactly say why I made this my routine, but the food always looked delicious, and I was excited to learn something new from each episode. It inspired me to try cooking with a different approach.

One day, I just began experimenting. I made mistakes. I accidentally "caught" a falling knife and had to get stitches. I made dishes that my husband kindly ate, but I wouldn't touch with a two-foot pole. I kept trying, and with each attempt I learned and things became easier. I learned what I later found out was officially termed "mise en place" (prepping ahead of time and getting ingredients organized before cooking), and now I can't cook without doing it. Practice paid off, and soon I had the confidence not only to cook a real homemade meal for my in-laws, but also to host multiple-course dinner parties centered around my latest and greatest discoveries I'd been eager to share with friends. Coming to the realization that every book I was reading and everything I enjoyed doing and talking about centered around food finally convinced me to switch fields and set sail in the direction of my dreams.

The moral of this story is many people will tell you that they can't draw or cook, but I believe that everyone can. If I can start with a can of tuna, you can too.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Micro-blog: Jessica Vittoria

Ok……today is my birthday, ‘’Happy Birthday to me.’’ I’ve officially made the 25 mark ! A lot has happened since my last blog. I recently found and obtained a new job at a restaurant in downtown Raleigh called Battistella’s. It is a New Orleans based cuisine, and their food is amazing. I can’t express to you how much I love this job. I have only been there for about a month and I already have my name and a dessert on the menu. Some of the other desserts I prepare include bread pudding, chocolate chess pie, apple tarts, crème brulee, and several others. I have also learned a lot from my chefs at work, Chef Drew Hyams and Chef Brian Battistella (“What up Wilson”). They have both been in this industry for a long time and I enjoy learning from them. I don’t think I would have this awesome job if it wasn’t for The Chefs Academy. I am grateful to everyone at TCA for believing in me. I look forward to sharing what I have learned with many others, and being all I can be. I remember last term when I got to learn how to make crème brulee and I used a blowtorch. I was scared at first, but as usual Chef Stolfo was there to help me. I never thought I would have a job where I’d use one on a daily basis. I know I’ve only been in school for three terms now, but they have been the best three terms so far. I love being in school, and learning anything and everything I can from everyone that is willing to show me. I know I have what it takes to make it in this business. As Walt Disney once said, “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”(Walter E. Disney). At TCA I am pursuing mine!
With a passion for pastry,