Looks can be deceiving. Just ask the people who know me. They got a real chuckle when the photo of me in a Culinary Institute of Arts apron and chef’s hat, known as a toque, first appeared on my Facebook page a few months ago. My friends and family know that I’m more likely to open a box of Lean Cuisine than to prepare haute cuisine.
For gourmet meals, I usually rely on my husband who has a passion for cooking. I am passionate about eating.
So why the prestigious cooking attire?
A few years ago, an editor asked me to write a restaurant review. Apparently he liked the article, because I received additional food-related assignments. Then another publication asked me to be a mystery critic. To be fair to the restaurants, I believed I needed to know more about flavors and food preparation. When an opportunity to attend a food writers’ class at San Antonio’s Culinary Institute of America location came along, I jumped at the chance. In all honesty, I was initially thinking about a story on the prestigious culinary school, but I got much more.
I realized just how much commitment and work that it takes to be a chef. Those who don the professional attire are taking responsibility to prepare the best dishes they can for their patrons. Chefs are artists just like writers, photographers, painters and other creative types. After all, they are creating masterpieces — only their finished works won’t hang in museums but will be consumed quickly. For them, tomorrow brings a whole new palette.
My day at the CIA-San Antonio did not transform me into a gourmet cook, but it did teach me that to write about food I needed to understand just how much patience, dedication, training, and practice it takes to become a maestro in the kitchen.
For more information about CIA San Antonio, visit ciachef.edu/sanantonio.
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