The final week of wine for the Cook Street 180 class was this past week. Soon another group of students will be let loose on the Culinary Scene. As I have done in the past, I would like to do a quick summary of each student.
Richard joined our program at the last moment and he strongly expressed his desire to apply his creative side towards the culinary arts. Many who enter this field believe learning how to cook is going to be easy. Then the first quiz comes along and they realize there is a fair amount of study and memorization involved. Richard got into trouble quickly and struggled. We helped him out and he really turned the situation around for a while. Richard has natural artistic talent and he went to school for graphic design. He is another big consumer of energy drinks (as you can see in this picture) and is one of those daredevil motorcycle riders that do back and front tire wheelies. He is also a big Hendrix and Reggae fan. At the end of the program he watched the Decoding Ferran Adria video and that seemed to energize him. He says he wants to move to Spain and learn from the vanguard chefs. He is also from NYC and longs to return to the big city to cook. I hope he understands there are no shortcuts in this craft regardless of where you decide to go.
Patricia is from Argentina and married an American. Her family would routinely take her to Europe as a child and would plan their trips around which restaurants to eat at. What a great student. Very excited about finally making this career decision, she put her heart and soul into the course. I was amazed at how good her knife skills were considering she had not had any professional training. Since Spanish is her native language, she would occasionally come up with some very funny translations. Like once she asked me if she should add pepper balls to the bouquet garni. I called her PB after that. I strongly encourage her to write to some top restaurants in Spain and try to do a stage there. The fact that she is such a good student and fluent in Spanish makes her an excellent candidate. I wish her only the best on her path.
I remember his interview clearly. I was looking over his application and noticed that he went to Mesa college in Grand Junction. The crazy thing is that I have a very good friend and former roomate whose name is Craig Dodson. My friend was also a chemistry professor at Mesa college. I couldn’t believe that two people which such similar names would come into my life with this weird connection. Of course neither of them knows of the other’s existence, but strange nonetheless. Craig was an eager student and keen on learning the craft. He is very dependable and a good team player. He should do great wherever he ends up.
Mallorey is a force to be reckoned with. Good team player and hard worker. From what I hear she can play as hard as she works (“never met a whiskey she didn’t like”). She overcame some food issues during the program and to her credit tried just about everything. She would always tell everyone had badly she had done on the weekly quiz only to find that she got a 98. She is in love with her Iphone and uses it whenever she can. She downloads all the cool apps. She is seriously considering moving to France with her boyfriend who is a professional rugby player (she says “never go out with a guy you can beat up”) and work in different restaurants while he finds a rugby team to join. Should be quite an adventure. Hey Mal can you bring me back a rondeau from France while you’re there?
The picture says it all.. His nickname in pastry was Jaffar. Intense would be a mild word to describe Jeremy, but after you get past the in your face eyes and the incessant questions that occur because its Jeremy, then you find out that he is a caring person and passionate about food. High energy people who have a hard time focusing thrive in the chaotic world of fine cuisine and as such Jeremy has a bright future ahead of him. He knows what perfection looks like and in his own way he’ll get there more than most. I found out today at the graduation that he is going into business with a friend and opening a late night pizza joint on Larimer square.
Brittani started the program with me on Hot Line rotation and she quickly sliced a good chunk of her finger off. It was a hard day for her and she probably certainly questioned her decision to go to culinary school. She came back with a well bandaged finger and a determination to continue with the program. There are several traits that set Brittani apart: one she has very interesting facial expressions that she is unable to apparently control and the other is that is she is perpetually tethered to her water bottle as in this picture. She spent a good amount of time travelling across France and Italy. She is a an outstanding student and has a bright future ahead.
Jennifer is also an outstanding student and a good cook. She has a strong connection to New Zealand and plans to return to live in the near future. She is well traveled and managed to spend time living with the Masi family at their winery in Verona. One day she brought us a bottle of Amarone and shared it with us. We both share a high sense of order (anal). She quickly got her knives engraved and taped with her unique color. Nothing but good things to say about Jennifer and she has the right demeanor to work in the kitchen environment. Go conquer the kiwi restaurant world I say.
Jessica has a demure demeanor and always performed well on any written work. I would prod her to get out of her comfort zone and try to get past what was written in the recipe. Occasionally she would do it and the results were always good. She is extremely dependable and will perform excellently once she has developed a level of comfort with a task. She has a great future ahead of her once she gets comfortable with her new environment. I hear she is considering the ACF apprenticeship program. Could be just the right ticket.
Michael was also somewhat quiet. He is from a Sicilian background so could relate to our Italian coursework. Michael did well even though he struggled at times. He will also hit his stride when he gets comfortable in his new environment.
Matt is the kind of guy that quickly gets under peoples skin. He is very erudite as a result of his preppy education. When we interviewed him, it was clear he had spent time in higher education. He is quicker to critique than to compliment. He is one those students who does not live up to his potential. I always wonder what it might take to motivate someone to reach their true potential, but then again I have not reached mine yet. He lent me the book Bottom Feeder and it was quite a revelation to the world of seafood. I have read several books on the bad agriculture practices that occur on earth, but what goes on in the ocean is even more concerning, because no one is out there policing the waters.
I think Lucy is my favorite overall in this group. Super bright compounded with a stellar attitude. She can’t help but go far, because she will work hard every step along the way. It is always a pleasure to teach a student who excels at both the academic and practical sides of our program. This is no easy feat.
Chanon was a solid student as well. She has all it takes to succeed in this industry. Good attitude, a desire to continue learning and a good work ethic. She is laying low post graduation until she returns from the european portion of the program.
Congratulations to all of you. You were a pleasure to teach and I wish you the best in your culinary future.