Monday, January 19, 2009

Not so Gourmet

So I started volunteering for a chef a little over a year ago. Chef Jim Light was teaching gourmet cooking classes at the Kimball showroom in Salt Lake City. Kimball recently decided to remodel, I don't have the whole story, but they talked it over with Jim and decided to remodel into a new Viking cooking school kitchen. It's a space that still functions as a showroom, but has five fully functional industrial gas ranges, convection ovens, a high-speed convection oven, a steam/convect oven, several large fridges and freezers, a few induction-style hotplates, and lots of fun Viking accessories. Somehow Jim got in contact with the Viking people and they've organized a cooking school out of the showroom. It's going to be a pretty great thing! I'm really excited about it. Jim has invited those of us who were his culinary assistants to assist in the new cooking school. There was a meeting in Salt Lake last week as sort of an introduction to the whole school thing. There was a cooking school guru lady from Viking cooking school headquarters there to give us the rundown.

Now, I met several of Jim's volunteers when he was doing his own thing, and several of them were experienced in the kithen, but didn't seem to have all that much formal training, as it were. I guess that's mostly what I was expecting when I showed up. Or at least a little bit of that. I mean, I know that the curriculum was being vastly expanded, and that Jim would need more staff to help teach, but I guess it hadn't really computed. So I show up and sit down at the table. There were about a dozen or so people. We start the training and after awhile someone suggests that we all introduce ourselves. People start giving their names and experience. One lady trained at the CIA and has taught at a cooking school for years, one guy has cooked in some pretty good restauraunts for 16 years, one guy had to leave in the middle to go do what I'm pretty sure was a cooking spot for a local news channel, and so on and so forth. I'd say I was a little intimidated. I know my way around my kitchen, but I haven't had any formal training at all, other than what I've obsrved from helping with Jim's classes.

So there was a snack break, with sandwich makings with some great sourdough bread, meat, and cheese platters. There was also some brie, but I couldn't remember whether or not you were supposed to eat the rind or not. So I waited until I saw someone else eat some before I did. Not that I mind looking like an idiot from time to time, but I do try to avoid it where possible. Turns out you do eat the rind, or as Wikipedia informed me when I looked it up later, "The white mouldy rind is edible, and is not intended to be separated from the cheese during consumption." It doesn't sound very appetizing, but is actual quite tasty. So I did end up getting to eat lots of cheezy goodness and keep up the appearance of non-idiocy as well.

Well, that is until I decided to munch on some purple grapes. I sure do love those purple grapes. They go well with cheese. Anyways, I was listening attentively to the Viking chef lady (that description brings a pretty funny picture to mind, btw) calmly popping grapes into my mouth, when one slipped right out of my fingers and down the front of my shirt. Not that my shirt had anywhere close to a low neckline, so I must have hit it at just the right angle. As it turns out, the grape was rather chilly and ended up nestling in an area that was rather warm. And I wasn't in a position to remove said chilly grape from it's warm resting place. There were people seated both to either side of me and across the table from me. I couldn't exactly commence a fishing expidition down the front of my shirt in the midst of a bunch of professionals, now could I? After about an hour or so I was able to angle my body in such a way so as to discreetly pull the grape out. It was, by now, a very warm grape. After a bit I was able to discreetly place it on my plate. After that there weren't any further distractions and I was able to pay attention to the rest of the meeting.

So even though I may be a little bit intimitdated by my whole lack of experience thing, I'm really excited to have this opportunity! I'm looking forward to learning all I can!


  1. So very cool- I am jealous. I've never tasted brie that I liked

  2. Your mother with a Master of Science degree from UNT says not to use Wikipedia as a reliable source. If we had quoted it in college we were informed we would be kicked out of the program immediately...and they weren't kidding. The reason is anyone can go in and change any information anytime so you never know if what you get is reliable. The creators of the site are working on that problem but pleeeease don't think it is a reliable source, ever! Can't wait until you come cook for us;)