Friday, March 7, 2008

Who says you can't take it with you?

by The Foodist

I invited The Foodist to guest blog here after reading his blog and learning that he was a student at The Culinary Institute of America. I thought it would be interesting to me and my readers to hear from someone as he made his way along what is certainly one of the more unique paths in the world of post secondary education. Well, The Foodist is done with The CIA and is off to begin what I am sure will be a great career. Goodbye Foodist, and thanks for all your contributions, you will be missed.
-Bob dG

So after countless hours, tests, hellish evenings, and sluggish mornings I now join the ranks of hundreds of others as a Alumni of the Culinary Institute of America. So how does it feel?

Does indifferent count?

I'm happy to be done, glad to be getting on, but at the same time there's a big piece of me that wishes it wasn't so. Not because I feel an overwhelming connection to the school or the people there, but because I feel like there's still much I can learn from the place.

There's a part of me that feels like I squandered the time I had. I could have spent it buried in the library, skulking around the kitchens watching, and picking teachers and instructor's brains. Then again when I say it like that, it just doesn't sound like fun to me.

Lets face it, I'm a cook. I love reading and learning as much as the next motivated guy, but sitting behind a desk for another 2 years just isn't me. You'd catch me on the roof with a French knife if it came to that.

But really I feel I could have used a little more time to learn or read over, a lot of that stuff is coming with me. Course Guides, menus, recipe packets. Hell, if it got printed on paper and was required to bring to class it's in a notebook and on my bookshelf. That was one of the best aspects about the school: going "Paperless" and working with an online database of course material, you can download it and take it with you when you go.

In the end, it's going to be the experience that carries me through. In my, albeit short, experience in this world I've come to realize it's not so much the information you are given, but the experience of having learned it that stays with you. You can tell me till your face turns blue how to make the perfect Hollandaise sauce, but until I do it with my own two hands it will never come out right for me. School was much the same way, now that I've done it training sessions, employee meetings, seminars; they'll all be a drop in the bucket compared to the last few years.

And though I am gone from that place, with another student every 3 weeks to push things along, the place is never really gone from you. There will be some that will roll their eyes when they speak of where they came from, some will boast with pride, others will mention it as if it was a second thought. The truth of it is its still in all of them, and they took it with them too.


ruhlman said...

trust this comes from the foodist. unless bob's been hiding something from us. congrats and best wishes!

The Foodist said...

Woops forgot to tag it!

Thanks Michael, the next few years should be interesting and fun!

Crazy Raven Productions said...

Congratulations! And, as far as the experience goes... I think all of those things are true about any major at any school. Most of the best stuff I learned in college I learned from hanging out with teachers after/between classes and chatting, or working at the school magazine. (I was a communications major.) The stuff in class was valuable, don't get me wrong, but I still have all of my textbooks, and I really value that time talking about the finer points of making a technical manual valuable before running off to my next class.

Best of luck to you using that new degree! I know you're already on your way to awesome things and have been before graduation, with your preserved meats and collaborations with the cheesemakers. I hope some of what you learned comes in handy.

boberica said...

Many congratulations, and best wishes. It's relieving to know that you are facing the field with an open mind, even though, being a recent graduate, you know everything. Remember, taste everything always, and cook good food! bob