This Is Life:

This is life! These are words we often hear. Words we hear in various contexts. It’s got one meaning yet millions of applications. Most recently, these are the words I think of when I think of how my first week officially preparing for the competition (MCACTE) has been. As I type this, I am tired, but it’s what has me exhausted that leaves me satisfied when I close my eyes. To explain, I tell you like I told my brother. He asked how things have been going. In response I said something like, “It’s going well. Kinda reminds me sometimes of school (Culinary Institute of America). All I do is food here. Yeah, there are distractions, but those distractions mostly surround food!” The privilege to focus on little more than what I know I’m here for is almost unbelievable.

Seriously, I wake up. I thank God for waking me with the passion and pursuit of all things food. I have my breakfast. I try my best to talk to you all. Study up on some techniques and ingredients. Suit up. Knives? Check. Notebook? Check. Pens? Check. Menus? Check. Do I really feel like going to … work today? Check! Most nights, well mornings (0200) I’ve returned to my room lifeless, crashing before I can make it from the door to my pillow. I wake up in the morning to assess the damage and do it all over again.

I feel like I’m rambling but to make sure we’re clear. I’m on an all expenses paid mission to practice cooking, perhaps even learn cooking, to taste things, create things, to ultimately master a dish until it becomes second nature that when it comes time for competition, its just a matter of going through the motions, flawlessly, perfected by the love for the craft.

Our first day training, we checked the foundations and then threw quite a bit on top of it.

BatonetIMG_4434

Julienne

Small Dice

Tournet

Concasse

Sachet

Stock

Broth

Balontine

We learned how to fabricate lions, tigers, and bears. Okay, not really. But we covered a lot of ground, especially for one night.

Chief Edwards- so far, our lead culinary instructor- is a man of intrigue, with an expressed love for cooking, who from my deductions, is crazy about food. The man loves to cook and has allowed that love to drive him through the ranks rather than allowing a Naval career dictate his interaction with food. He speaks with evidence of having come from culinary circles that I was becoming

IMG_4449
Chief Edwards demonstrating knife cuts.

familiar with prior to joining the Navy. He’s possibly even formed some of these circles. He’s even staged in the kitchen of Thomas Keller! It is refreshing to be rejoined to a group of people that speak the same language as me, and if they don’t, they sure are willing to learn how. We are all here for the same purpose and seldom need be reminded.

 

This is less a literary piece of art, and more a clearing of my mind in efforts to keep you all in the loop and maintain my gratitude. A more detailed and literal telling will probably follow. What is life? Learn your purpose. Find your passion. Find your inspiration. Be inspired to allow your passion to fuel your growth- and always on purpose! I have heard it said, “If you do what you love, you will never work another day in your life.”

Talk to you soon!

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