almost ‘same time last year’

This is a repost from September 2008. I’m preparing to attend another CIA bootcamp, and I wanted to take a walk down memory lane.

CIA day 1

repost…previously named ‘butter & sugar’

First of three alarms sounded at 4:30AM EST. By 4:45AM (that’s 3:45 CST!) it was time to get up. My first day at the Culinary Institute of America was to begin with orientation at 6:00AM – Baking Bootcamp. My thought was…some real chef’s/bakers have to do this every day, and perhaps even earlier! When I arrived on campus at about 5:45AM, students were dressed in their uniforms and walking to class. PS: the sun had not yet risen

Orientation, a parking pass, a big bag of goodies including the textbook, workbook, and two uniforms and we are off to breakfast. French Toast was delicious. The fruit plate could have been photographed for a magazine. The kitchens were buzzing with culinary students working their way through the required classes.

Class lecture begins at 7:00AM – the creaming method, and some of Chef’s own personal suggestions for mixing methods & recipe variations. Chef Hans Welker is originally from Germany. He’s a wonderful instructor and has a great sense of humor. He has a little trouble understanding me and I have a little trouble understanding him…

8:15AM – dress in white chef jacket, black shepherd’s check pants, apron, side towel, and hat. Begin scaling, mixing, and ultimately baking. My team baked a blueberry/strawberry Streusel loaf. 15 students divided into 7 groups all trying to become familiar with the kitchen, the utensils, and the ingredients…all at one time…at best…chaos. Tomorrow should be better; at least we will know where the flour and scales are stored!

11:00AM – lunch prepared and served by the real culinary students…it was delicious and beautifully plated.

12:00 Noon – class resumes. Mix the cookies – Russian Tea Cookies. Chef taught us how to make a ‘perfect’ roll of cookie dough to refrigerate/freeze (a great technique using parchment paper and a sheet pan).

Great news..we don’t have to wash our own dishes!

Discussion time, review of the day’s baking, tour of the campus, a trip through the bookstore and library. Now it’s time to dress and return to campus for diner at 6:30PM. Dinner tonight at campus restaurant, American Bounty.

The photos cannot capture the essence of this campus. The smell of the herbs as I walk through the Italian Restaurant’s herb garden, and the aroma of the on campus restaurants preparing for dinner meals is just aahhhhh……

9:30PM-three course dinner complete; everything was wonderful; all the food was plated beautifully.

Alarm is set for 4:55AM

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