Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts – Week 1 In Review

Good morning!

So on Friday I was walking around in a t-shirt enjoying 20+ degree weather in Austin, all while my friends and family back home in Saskatchewan endured a crazy snowstorm and intense cold.  Mike did the math – there were 60 degrees difference between us today.  Hard to fathom, eh?

All crazy weather happenings aside, what I’m really here to talk about is my first week of school at the Natural Epicurean.  I’ll keep it fairly brief since I don’t really have much for pictures (we’ve just done preliminary food stuff).

Our class is small and intimate, totaling eight people in our group, and we’ve got a pretty even 50% ratio with men/women, and vegans/non-vegans.  I couldn’t be happier with how that worked out – it’s good to have an even variety so I’m not the lone vegan in the room, or that there isn’t one lonely omni.  Plus, we’ll have the opportunity to learn multiple techniques (vegan and non-vegan), which I think will round out the learning experience quite well.

Right off the bat, I really appreciate the two main instructors in the initial segment – both have traditional culinary backgrounds and were trained at classic French-style schools, branching off in different areas of expertise.  One of them owns a vegan bakery, and she’ll be teaching us the baking class (can’t wait!).  I like learning a more classical approach to vegetarian cooking (although later on it will be far from classical, what with the macrobiotics, raw and ayurvedic classes).

Pictured is the kitchen (though it looks a little different now, I think this is an older picture) – it’s a nice, intimate workspace with all the fixins.  I love that there are big windows and a door leading to outside so close – it means that it’s easy to grab a breath of fresh air during a five minute break.  Plus it’s nice to be able to see outside.  I spent six years working in a basement, so it’s extra-awesome because of that!

Another perk is the student fridge for bringing lunches, and we’re allowed to use the school’s equipment to prepare the food. So if I needed to heat something up, or pan-fry a veggie burger (or whatever), I can.

This week we focused on preliminaries like knife skills, learning about different herbs, spices and seasonings, and briefly touched on broth-making (whee!).  We also spent Wednesday taking a food safety course and writing an exam, which is less fun than playing with food but definitely necessary.

Practicing my knife skills

All in all it’s been a great week – it definitely flew by in a hurry.  I’m excited to get more and more in depth with certain techniques (like baking!), and making stocks sauces next week should be super fun.  I’ll be sure to take plenty of pictures!

  • Nikki

    Warm weather sounds wonderful. So does school! Looking forward to food-making pictures 🙂

  • Hannah

    Aaaahahah! Pacman! Gold!

    I love your talk of the weather; on my iPhone I have the weather set to Toronto, Sioux Lookout, and Canberra. Last week, scrolling through, I saw -6, -25 and (+)40. INSANE.

  • Allysia

    Thanks Nikki, and it's totally wonderful!

  • Allysia

    Isn't that craziness? And why on earth do you have Canberra? I don't even know where that is, lol.

  • Jolene – EverydayFoodie

    You picked a great time to move away – the snow has been CRAZY! There really is no where left to put it. I shovel it up on to the pile and it slides right back down – grrrr! That is a nice looking kitchen!!! You are going to have so much fun!

  • Allysia

    Yeah, I've heard it's been awful, apparently Mike's parking spot has become a snow bank.

  • xvavaveganx

    Hahaha love the knife cuts! Too cute!! The kitchen looks gorgeous! I'd love to be able to cook in there. Enjoy the warm weather and I'm so glad your first week has gone well!

  • Joey

    Pacman FTW! Vegan baking class – yes please! Can't wait for more updates, particularly on the baking. Did I mention the baking sounds good?!

  • Allysia

    Thanks Sarah, and yeah it's pretty swank. 🙂

  • Allysia

    I know! Baking baking baking, right?

  • foodfeud

    Can't wait to see some of the stuff once you really get going. Although pac-man cut carrots aren't bad, though maybe not what you want to be paying to go to school for. Great looking kitchen.

  • Allysia

    Lol, that was just a random tangent I went on!

  • Maggie Muggins

    Wow, that’s one nice kitchen to learn in. Ha, ha, love the pac-man. I haven’t managed to cut any fingers off yet, but a knife skills class is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m always baffled by people who can chop stuff super fast and in the perfect size. Can’t wait to hear about the baking classes! What bakery owner is it?

  • Allysia

    It's called "Happy Vegan Bakery". And yeah, I'm light years away from being able to chop things in equal sizes, let alone fast! So it's been fun practicing.

  • Sevine Samadi

    Hello I know this post is really old but I just came across it as I was researching reviews on the natural epicurean academy. I plan go there next year and would love to hear about your experience there? What your doing today? Looking forward to your advise. Thank you.