Ever noticed how easy it is to avoid pursuing the obvious? I’ve noticed this in life on several levels… spiritually (who am I really), personally (acknowledging what best supports the body, e.g. weight training), and professionally (a life dedicated to culinary education, mine and others).
I act on all three, but having recently taken that latent but constant love for pastry to a new level, I’m now full throttle into the Baking and Pastry degree program at the Oregon Culinary Institute. Front of the house activities first. Oenology and Viticulture. Syllabus: “Soil, climate, vineyard operations, wine making and production and grape varietals.” Tasting notes. Food pairing. Service techniques. Student interpretation: Understanding the very complex process that results in That Which I Already Love. Dining Room Essentials. Syllabus: “… Customer service, phone etiquette and reservation systems, sales techniques, and service sequence and mechanics.” Student interpretation: Summoning the courage to effectively present the best a restaurant has to offer to strangers.
Ever thought of taking yourself completely out your comfort zone? I didn’t even know what my comfort zone was until I no longer had it to rely on. Stress? Yes. Adaptation? Certainly! An opportunity to laugh at life. No question.
So, why not document the whole learning experience? The stumbles, the aha’s!, the little successes. Baking and pastry classes are not yet in sight. Sage advice from one of our chef-instructors: Prepare only for what needs to happen tomorrow. Don’t cast about for things that might happen three months from now. This must be the Theory of Accumulated Knowledge, if such a thing exists.
I’m counting on it.