Tag Archives: roasted

For Reals


One of the most challenging things I’ve encountered after day two is not the station set up (that’s called mise en place, by the way), or the colored buckets and cans I described yesterday. Rather it’s the recent high school graduates and early 20-somethings. Trying to have a conversation is sometimes just plain frustrating. By lunch I had to take a break and eat by myself.

Before the first session at 8:00AM I was chatting with a girl from Southern California that I had met the day before. I asked her if her parents went back down south. She said no, her dad was playing golf with Tiger Woods “like for reals.” I couldn’t give two shits about Tiger Woods, but she said for reals…plural. I know everyone under 50, including me, says ‘like’ like almost all the time, so I guess who am I to complain?

But it’s like the Real World went to culinary school. Guys hanging around girls sitting together and chatting them up. Girls with more decoration on their face than the wedding cakes being made across the way in the chocolate lab. Small bits of their face pierced. And so on…CRAP, am I sounding like an old fart?

I think it’ll get better next week when the three classes break up – two culinary and one pastry – and it’s small group classes. I’m so much better at meeting people in small groups anyway. I’ve never been a fan of freshman year orientation games.

The best part of lunch today was the stewed winter vegetables blanketing roasted salt cod. The cod was meh, but the vegetables were soft, stewy and full of flavors. Greens, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes – perhaps French or even Spanish seasoning?? I paired it with a basic, but lovely, green salad with a refreshing Green Goddess dressing.

Speaking of stewy veg, how about a French favorite with a new twist?


First Day of Culinary School

Roasted Broccoli Soup

It would actually be nice to only need six hours sleep a night, but I doubt I’m developing a new, more efficient pattern. My headache woke me up at a point in my dream where a guy was pulling a long, serrated knife from his cheek as I encouraged him to end his life. That followed a non-linear, chaotic gun battle on a beach. Two men pointed long riffles at me. I walked up and in cartoon-style bent the end of each barrel back at them. One quickly tried to get a shot off at me, but it left the barrel and hit a cuffed, beaten prisoner walking behind him.

I’m not sure if the analysis is I feel attacked after one day at culinary school, or that my brain wants me to annihilate my classmates, but nevertheless it was an emotional and mentally exhausting day. Crammed with an overwhelming amount of kitchen rules and regulations, I left weighed down by both books and details. Proper set up on your station. Red sanitation buckets, green compost bins. Neckerchief folding. Student IDs, lockers, parking permits. It’s all the usual stuff, but I just haven’t done it for eight years.

Lunch was pretty damn amazing though. A buffet spread of lovely seasoned dishes. Mine was piled high with crispy, blackened pencil-thin asparagus roasted with olive oil and lemon; spinach salad with fennel and roasted yellow beets; pan-seared salmon with “micro-arugula” and a seeded wheat bun drizzled with olive oil. My only disappointment in the meal was the olive oil labeled Colavita. Crappy Italian olive oil in Napa Valley – holy crap! CIA is so connected to UC Davis that I’m really surprised they aren’t aware of the Olive Oil Center. Only six olive oil companies came up when I Googled ‘olive oil produced in napa valley’ including, and I shit you not, St. Helena Olive Oil Co.! Maybe it’s a production or cost problem, or maybe I need to make some introductions.

Dinner at home was Roasted Broccoli Soup with sharp cheddar and crushed crackers. We had eaten it last week, and it was still tasty. I roasted the broccoli, onion and garlic, which both grounded and lifted the flavor without time-intensive stock-making. In a month it’ll probably be shit – actually I hope it will be.