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.
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!