Things I learned in culinary school

July 23rd, 2008, by Francesca

Time to start distilling some culinary wisdom from my first three months in school. Here I pass onto you a few of my discoveries.

  • Whole wheat dinner rolls freeze and reheat extremely well.
  • So do Danish and croissants.
  • I can freeze food even after it's been licked by Pipie. If I don't have antibodies by now, I shouldn't be living with cats anyway.
  • Beignets are not bignè.


  • I hate the American measuring system even more than I thought I did. If NASA scientits couldn't get conversions right, why should I bother? BTW, may I interest Mr. Gore to propose a 6-month conversion-to-metric plan in addition to his other inconvenient proposal?
  • Laminated dough does not, repeat NOT, like LA summer weather in a baking kitchen with 32 people, several deck ovens, convection ovens, stoves and proofing boxes, and broken air conditioning.
  • You can go in the walk-in refrigerator and scream without anyone in class hearing you.
  • After a few hours in a hot kitchen trying to roll laminated dough while your butter is oozing every which way, screaming in the walk-in can be a Very Good Thing (TM).
  • I don't like rye bread.
  • There are always at least three ways to do anything.
  • There are three ways to incorporate a butter block into a dough (or a beurrage into a détrempe). En pointe and clover leaf work best if you are in a hurry, but if you need to relieve tension, go for the rolling pin method (the proper term escapes me) and whack the hell out of your butter block.

whacking butter into submission

  • Some people have never heard of Battlestar Galactica.
  • Most students and many instructors smoke.
  • Half the people at school have visible tattoos.
  • Dental floss is your friend. My non-cinnamon rolls had the best cuts in class, cuz everyone else used butcher's twine to cut theirs. I knew all the flossing would do me good in the end.
  • Read the recipe.
  • Read the recipe again.
  • Read the "3oz eggs" does not mean 3 eggs.

4 Responses to “Things I learned in culinary school”

  1. Cilla Ann Says:
    Inquiring minds want to know, did Pipie get a piece of the croissant? I must go cook lunch your photos are making me to hungry.
  2. Jessica Says:
    Beignets or bignè, those look delicious. And I know what you mean about the measuring system - everything is a bear to convert.
  3. MaryjoO Says:
    I still like the walk in refrigerator scream best. Can I come over and try it? I really needed it this week LOL (plus starting with a new shoulder specialist, ouch!)
  4. Lydia Says:
    Isn't our measuring system silly? President Jimmy Carter tried to get people to change back in the late 1970s, but people just ignored it and it never stuck. I wish I had a walk-in refrigerator to have a good scream in. I could use some really good scream therapy these days.

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