culinary school chronicles

Remember when I went to culinary school?

I don’t really remember, that’s why I made this page. At twenty five, my memory is already starting to fail me and I’m not sure that’s a good sign.

For instance, did I really spend fifteen months of my life trapped in a classroom kitchen sweating over oxtails, rabbit loins, genoise sponge cakes and pulled sugar? I endured the screaming, the throwing, the setting things on fire and the victorious cake smashing, and in the end, came out stronger.

And no, I did not go to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. I went to the LCB school in Florida. I started out in the basic culinary program and then after three months of filleting frogs, I made the switch to the Baking and Pastry program…and the rest is history. I never went to be a chef—nope, I went to do exactly what I’m doing, which is writing about food. I went to culinary school so I could really know and understand the subject that I wanted to write about. I wanted to know everything about food and to do that, I put my time in the slammer. And my money. And now I shall live for eternity in the purgatory of student debt.

But at least I know I can break down a whole chicken in two minutes flat…..and I make really good buttermilk biscuits even though it was the one thing I royally screwed up on my final practical exam, when I forgot the baking powder and then ran crying to the bathroom.

The following posts are just a selection of the ones I wrote while in school. That’s when I started this blog, you know. One day after Meat Fabrication class I came back to my tiny Orlando apartment and said to myself, THIS BLOODY BEEF CHEEK MUST BE SHARED ON THE INTERNET. I actually was a vegetarian at the time…..it did not end well.

The rest is history. Reader beware.

Final Baking and Pastry Practical Part I

Final Baking and Pastry Practical Part II

Final Baking and Pastry Practical Part III

Final Baking and Pastry Practical Part IV

Final Baking and Pastry Practical Part V

Final Baking and Pastry Practical Part VI

Final Baking and Pastry Practical Part VII (bahaha this might be the best post ever. For obvious reasons.)

Final Baking and Pastry Practical Part IIX

Embarrassing Video Number One

Setting Food on Fire

The Great Cookie Monster Cookie

Once, I Made a Chocolate Box

Working with Sugar

My First Day as a Pastry Chef

My First Wedding Cake

Meat Fabrication Final

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

eatmovelove August 7, 2010 at 4:48 am

Ah debt. But at least it was for something you love Jenna! And wanted! I am $130,000 in debt – and after somethng I hate…and want to desperately pursue writing, but, alas need to continue with my former path to get anywhere with that debt :( .
That picture is priceless too!

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Angela (ohsheglows) August 7, 2010 at 10:42 am

That sounds like an intense 15 month experience. I had no idea you didn’t go into it to be a chef. Everything always works out in the end, anyways! I am glad to see you doing what you love, because clearly what you are doing now is something you have fun with.
What was it like being a vegetarian in culinary school? I imagine that would be hard. I looked for some vegan culinary schools because I want training, but didn’t find ANY! lol.

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) August 7, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I didn’t start reading ELR until you were in baking and pastry school. I never knew about the buttermilk biscuit screw up. If only they tasted the ones you made last week, huh? That would show ‘em who’s boss!

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Heather (Heather's Dish) August 10, 2010 at 8:40 am

i am so jealous…i would die of happiness if i could get myself to live in the purgatory of student loans and go to culinary school!

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Katie August 11, 2010 at 9:06 am

So when DID you go to Paris though? You always talk about living in Paris for awhile…just wondering.

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jenna August 11, 2010 at 9:19 am

I studied abroad in Paris in 2007

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eatmovelove August 20, 2010 at 9:40 am

I Love It!!! You ARE a Writer Jenna. I think we all have something to write in some way, just time and patience…and being happy for others and not jealous! :)
This is so great – is this the title of your book for 2012 as well?
Do you prefer to write non-fiction in the future as well???

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jenna August 20, 2010 at 9:41 am

No, that’s not the title to my book. And in the future, I’ll probably do fiction!

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XTINA August 20, 2010 at 9:40 am

cute post! love the stories and good idea for a funday friday!

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jenna August 20, 2010 at 9:42 am

thanks, XTINA. Funky, funday Friday!

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Lu August 20, 2010 at 9:42 am

from one english major to another – nice job. i think your writing is lively and interesting in general and this sort of reflective story is, too. i think it’s definitely more “writerly” than your regular organized stream of conscience. i can definitely see the construction. the humor doesn’t happen as authentically in your regular accounting because of the construction of character.

i don’t know, dude. i love reading your blog because i can hear your voice, whether it’s instructional or you being goofy somewhere eating pizza with manny. the realism is important to these kinds of blogs. BUT the crafting you’re doing here is good too; both kinds of writing inform the other it would seem. i would read your blog either way – and why not do both? props to you for trying on a new hat. xoxo

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Robin August 20, 2010 at 9:43 am

Love it! Keep it coming!

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Jasmine @ Eat Move Write August 20, 2010 at 9:44 am

OMG I love this. I like the way you wrote it. Being a writer myself, I can tell you’ve been writing a book for a while. I swear I talk in “book speak” after a day of hard book writing.

I’ve been wondering if the title of your book is going to be “The Culinary School Chronicles”?…

Have a great day Jenna. SoCal is having a mega heat wave. Hopefully, you guys aren’t getting it too bad. It’s torture.

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Katie August 20, 2010 at 9:47 am

I think fridays full of writing like this is extremely fun! Part of the reason I like reading blogs is living vicariously through what other people get to do. As much as I love the recipes, and I don’t want those to leave, I’m always interested in the story you write for each one. So getting to read stuff like this is awesome!

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Kt. August 20, 2010 at 9:48 am

Jenna, you write as if I’m watching the movie…you have really grown this past year and your writing is superb, keep it up…As a Mom to two grown children we love when you find your passion and excel….

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Raya @ Raya Runs August 20, 2010 at 9:48 am

LOVE.

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Madison August 20, 2010 at 9:53 am

Fantastic!

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lisbeth | spoontang August 25, 2014 at 8:30 am

as a student juuuuuuust about to start culinary school herself, i tore through all of your blog posts. your voice is excellent and i loved everything, especially the truly bloody bits. thank you

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