My Christmas vacation is about to finish, tomorrow I’m going back to school for the last month of our studies before the internship. I didn’t spend a lot of time writing about my reflections since the first month of the course. Well it’s about time. I’m not sure now it’s the best time to reflect about the passing months as I’m a bit out of my element with two weeks off school. But it is a good time to get some perspective while I’m out of the daily routine.
I’m thinking a lot about the months that have gone by and what I learned. In a way I have gained so much knowledge in a short time. Looking back at the meal I made to my friends before I left to Paris made me giggle a bit to how unprofessional the dishes tuned out to look. On the other hand I don’t feel confident enough: all these different things we cooked, we only cooked once. Am I able to repeat it all? We’ll see about that on the upcoming practical exam. Fish was one of the elements I do feel very confident with: we had worked so many times with fish that I do feel pretty good about it. Unfortunately meat is one of the weak points. I know we have some more cooking days left with meat but I’m skeptic it’s gonna be enough, meat is so much more wide and diverse, will I learn how to do justice with any piece of meat?
Looking back at the past few months I can remember days which were so hectic and crazy, burning myself, trying to turn potatoes as fast as possible, doing 4 things at the same time, burning my pearl onions more than twice. I also remember feeling the opposite some of the times I hadn’t have enough things to do. Some desperation here and there. I encountered some mental difficulties as well when I was very angry or upset and had to deal with it, trying not to let it effect my work.
I have got mixed emotions about my upcoming stage in a restaurant. I made a decision lately preferring a small restaurant with a small kitchen and staff over a bigger more well known one. Some would say I took the hardest option available as a stage and I’m aware of that. The reason is that I feel I need a challenge, I need something really demanding right now and most of all, I need to be able to learn as much as possible. I want to get out of the stage after 6 month, feeling accomplished, and that it was worth it. The other side of it is that I’m also scared. With all the responsibilities on my shoulders, anything can go wrong. Would it be too hard to handle? Will I mentally break or hold on? Will I be fast enough? Will I be able to not be too direct and rude? And the most scary though is: will the chef be pleased with me?
Many more thought are floating to the surface now that the course is about to end. Is cooking the right thing for me? Is it my passion? What exactly am I about to do when I come back home? What is the most exciting and interesting thing for me, what makes me happy? I’m not sure yet. I only know that sticking my hand in the guts of a chicken makes me feel good and not disgusted; whisking mayonnaise is both surprising and satisfying; cutting vegetables can be hypnotizing; putting few elements of a dish together to make a whole dish makes me feel like everything is just the way it should be. And tasting, mixing things, different flavors, colors, textures, everything’s melting together in my mouth tickling my brain like a symphony. It’s not bad at all.