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Hang on students! Now that you've got the basic skills of food safety and stock preparation under your belt, it's time to dig a little deeper. Have a good look around the kitchen because you're about to become very familiar with everything in it. That kitchen equipment is your friend, which is why it's so important to learn how to look after it. Everything you learn is going to have long-term implications. For example, imagine owning your own fine dining establishment. If you have to fork out wads of cash for kitchen equipment repairs, or appliance replacement, your profits are going to quickly dwindle.
Don't be discouraged though. At this stage of your learning experience, you're going to really get a taste of the big picture. This is where you move into one specific kitchen department. You could find yourself in the fish, meat, or pastry department. Maybe you'll get into the catering piece. Make sure to look after yourself and keep your energy up, because your culinary arts education is going to quickly shift into overdrive. For example, students of the French Culinary Institute quickly move into a variety of subjects early into the second level of their training. They get into menu design, ingredient choice, nutrition, pairing tastes and colors, using raw and cooked foods, etc.
The next time you're in a restaurant, pay attention to how many meals are built around pasta, rice, and grains. A lot! That's why culinary arts students start right from square one learning about all of these things. For students of the French Culinary Institute, it's an intense, sometimes emotional, and deeply satisfying ride.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|