The first two weeks of my Culinary Arts Program at The Institute of Culinary Education have flown by and I can honestly say that I couldn’t have dreamed of a more amazing and eye-opening experience. I have been exposed to an array of techniques and preparations that I never even knew existed, and best of all, I’ve gotten to actually experience them by doing them.
I’ve filleted a fish, shucked an oyster, killed a lobster, and fabricated a variety of beef, veal, pork and lamb sections – all for the very first time. I entered the program with no formal culinary experience, so half the time I find myself having to curb my wild enthusiasm and verbal exclamations to so many new sights.
We began our lessons on fabrication by filleting fish and then graduated slowly to today’s final fabrication, a hotel rack of lamb (image #12). Lessons along the way included fabricating and trussing a beef tenderloin (image #7), fabricating veal kidneys (image #9), Frenched pork chops (image #10) and even fabricating a rabbit to create a boneless rabbit saddle (image #11).
I completed each of these lessons having never so much as previously cut a steak from a larger piece of beef. I dove headfirst into each experience, as there isn’t time or need to be fearful of fabricating proteins, especially with the level of step-by-step instruction we receive. I did however underestimate just how physically taxing the whole fabrication process can be. But the exhaustion gives way to a rush of adrenaline as each new lesson is introduced. It’s only been two weeks and I can already tell that I’ve transferred my learned habits from school into my kitchen at home. I can only imagine what an arsenal of knowledge and skills I will be armed with six months from now.
For more information and a behind the scenes look at life as a culinary school student, visit DICED: The Official Blog of the Institute of Culinary Education.