A few months ago, I attended a media preview of the San Francisco Cooking School, a new school in the city offering professional culinary and pastry arts certificate programs, along with recreational cooking classes in a gorgeous work space.
I was excited to check out the new facility, perhaps cover a few of their interesting rec classes, but as I learned more about the school, their philososophy, the curriculum…a little seed that was planted long ago sprouted its first leaf.
A big differentiation between San Francisco Cooking School and other culinary schools is the strong network of Bay Area chefs and food professionals behind it. Deans include Daniel Patterson (chef/owner of Coi, Plum, and Plum Bar), Craig Stoll (chef/owner, Delfina Restaurant Group), and Bill Corbett (executive pastry chef, Absinthe). The board of advisors also reads like an all-star roster of an SF culinary Dream Team.
“We’ve talked over the past year with our chef colleagues about what they need from their cooks, and together created a rigorous, hands-on, contemporary curriculum that reflects our California food culture. We won’t be teaching outmoded subjects or recipes, nor will there be a chef toque in sight.”
– Jodi Liano, SFCS founder and instructor
Jodi promised that not only would students be learning and cooking in a fast-paced, hands-on environment, they would also be immersed into the culinary epicenter of San Francisco as their teaching campus with field trips to local purveyors and externship placements at some of the city’s hottest restaurants.
As the deans and instructors went through their spiel, in the back of my brain, all I kept thinking was: This is awesome! I want to do this!
I went home totally amped. Over the next week, the voice in my brain grew to a low roar… I. Want. To. Do. This. … until it became … OMG, Can I do this? I mean, I really want to do this. Honey, can I do this? Holy Sh*t. I’M DOING THIS!!!
Which brings me today: January 3, 2013.
My first day of cooking school
I felt like a kid again, first day jitters and all. I met my classmates – there are 12 of us total, all from different paths, all converging here to figure out where and how to channel our love of food into something more.
Don’t worry, I will still be posting regularly, and will keep you in the loop on everything I learn. We’re about to step up our game here, peoples. Get excited.
So far…Day 1 highlights:
- We got our knife kit today! Yes, it was basically like Christmas all over again. The kit contained a 10-inch Wusthof chef’s knife and a honing steel, along with some other goodies. The steel keeps your cutting edges aligned. There’s a molecular reasoning behind it all, but basically, it’s good practice to run your blade along the steel after you’ve been cutting for awhile. It also makes you look badass and totally legit, and it makes it sound like a ninja fight is about to go down.
- We put our very sharp knives to work and cut onions until everyone cried. That became a tasty French onion soup.
- Then, we moved on to carrots. So many carrots. So many hard, dense, carrots. We batoned, and julienned, brunoised them into shape. My nails are now orange and I’ve got the beginnings of a knife callus forming on the inside of my index finger. I’m taking that as a sign that I’m doing it right.
- I can’t wait for more!
New Year, new whites. And so my new adventure begins!
“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way.”
– Walt Disney