My first class was Cooking Theory with Chef Emma Cutler. This particular day (and every day following that for the next six weeks) involved me waking up at 4:45 to leave for the insurance company NECI provides meals for. Upon our arrival at National Life, we were told to arrive to class by 5:30 in order to sanitize, organize, and stock our stations with all appropriate tools. Next, we did a brigade check. Chef Emma told us the importance of a clean, starched, and ironed brigade, and then motivated us further by telling us we would have to leave class without this. Only then, did we start cooking.
Prior to culinary school, I was acclimated to the idea of a talking about syllabus, going over class procedure, and the like. We were in a six-hour class, and today there would be no "getting used to things." Instead, we started prepping mirepoix for a stock (cut number one). This was my first surprise, but certainly not my last. We had to clean off the meat from chicken bones (cut number two). And at this point, I was getting so overwhelmed that I started tearing up. Thankfully, I was too busy to pay attention to my surge of emotion as I was running around the kitchen trying to find a hotel pan.
After reflection, I felt extremely exhausted but also enlightened beyond belief. The concentration of knowledge in such a brief period of time made my head spin. It was amazing to be in the presence of a Chef who knew so much. And however crazed I felt, I knew after that day what this school would bring me: a wealth of invaluable knowledge.