One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein…….
A poster of this quote hung in my room all through junior and high school. Whenever I faced a challenge or a question, I could not answer, I would look at this quote and think “nothing is impossible if you can think it”. And with that, I would set my mind to finding some creative way to solve my issue. While I was not always right, I always found a solution.
This week I entered the Teaching Kitchen at school and found myself faced with a set of challenges, both external and internal, as I began my foray into our Skills One course. Skills One is part of a core set of cooking fundamental courses designed to drive home the basics of cooking methodology, form and technique. This is a polite way of saying that we spend the hours a day doing knife drills that would make a grown man cry. Brunoise, dice, mince, alumette, & concasse are all terms that I thought I knew before walking into class, but in the last three days I have come to know intimately. I have the nicks, scratches, cuts and sore wrists to prove I have been on the front lines battling a mountain of vegetables.
I have been improving steadily but then I started at the bottom of the class, so I had no place to go but up! However, as I completed my knife tray today, the above quote sprang into my head. I don’t know why, but the quote lodged in my head for the remainder of class as I completed my onion soup and cleaned. It stayed with me on my ride home and as I stood in the shower trying to get the knots out of my shoulder. And then it hit me…….
I have done nothing to stoke my imagination in school. It has been facts for the last 2 months straight. I have done nothing to fuel the creative side of me that drove me to apply to culinary school. It’s one of the major reasons why I have been so unhappy with my experiences so far at the CIA. I am not stoking the creative flame….and it’s dying. So I need to find some creative outlet in school if I am really going to be the best chef I can be. I will never be a fantastic knife technician or probably the best cook for that matter, but I can set a table like no one’s business and dress a plate that would make Martha Stewart slap her momma (metaphorically speaking of course…). I need to be creative and right now, the lack of it in my life is eating at me, sapping my energy and really putting a damper on my time here at school.
I came to school to learn but I also came to think, daydream and imagine. It’s about time the CIA gives me the room to be me. And if they can’t….well, I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Until then, I have the week off from school. I am going to recharge my mind, body and soul. A little trip to SoCal and maybe a home project or two…..it’s gonna me nice!
Graphic courtesy of Qwickstep.com