Culinary School Here I Come (85) Reflection and Apricot Boulange; Tasty Dessert or Stripper?


Not that I’m dramatic or anything, but this is the last time I’ll have to wash these again. NOT! I’ve learned that you may have graduated but you are still needed there! What I’m more excited about is not having to scrub my shoes every Friday. That was a pain the ass! It has been a little bit of a relaxing week or so after graduation. I’ve been studying how to do home energy surveys so I haven’t had much time to decompress but I’m done with that now and have spend the past few days just chilling. I have lost some of my endurance and stamina but it’ll come back in a few weeks with a normal exercise schedule.

This is my final blog in this “Culinary School Here I Come” series. I’ve compiled 85 blogs as roughly 1000 words each so I’ve written 85,000 words about this experience called culinary school. I would love to turn this experience into a book….I’ve got the words. I have made some good friends, identified the problem students and am so thankful that this journey is over. But first, let me update you on what I’ve been doing for the past week or so.

One of the things that was put on the back burner with school was my back yard re-landscaping project. It has taken a year to get to 75% completion and I can now work on the last 25%. This will be my official vegetable garden. In the meantime, I’ve set a smaller area up and have been harvesting some awesome heirloom tomatoes, tons of basil, huge parsley and these eggplants.

I also started some sunflower seeds and got these results. If you look close, you can see a honey bee.

That one plant turned out to be a sunburst of sunflowers.

Another thing that I’m excited to spend more time with is my fish pond.

I love being able to simply go outside, pick some basil and tomatoes and make an amazing Heirloom Tomato & Strawberry Salad with Basil Chiffonade. It’s too hot out here to grow strawberries.

This was one of my favorite salads ever. I love using fruit in salads. My photos suck, however, in the fall I have enrolled in a photography class and I plan to buy a better camera so my blog photos should improve a lot. Looking forward to that. I’ve always wanted to take photography but a bummer that we’ve gone past the darkroom. That would have really been cool!

A few years ago, before my culinary and baking experience, I was too lazy to make a real pie so I just wrapped some fresh fruit up in pie dough and called it a day. I took one once to a party and this is how the interaction with the host went down:

tinfoil:  Hi Jackie, I brought you something for your party.

Jackie:  This looks wonderful.  What is it?

tinfoil:  hesitating and thinking fiercely   I’ve made you this, this, pausing….Boulange.

Jackie:  Boulange.  Why, thank you.

Fresh apricots, candied ginger and nutmeg are the highlights to this magnificently free formed boulange! Until today an apricot boulange was a dessert. I find out that there is a stripper by the name of Apricot Boulange…and she works the pole really good!

I made a small Amazon purchase a while back. These were books that I checked out of the library and found them to be rather interesting. I’m looking forward to hitting some classical sauces hard.

Okay, so here is where I digest the past two years of my life. In some ways it breezed by (in retrospect) but in some ways it took forever. I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to commit myself to this two year journey. I’m glad it’s over. It was fun but would I do it again? Ask me in a few months because I am burnt out right now. I’ve made some really good friends and knew some people that I would never hire to work in my restaurant. I’d probably employ 20% of the students that I interacted with. Not enough motivation and not enough skill.

Is a big, fancy culinary school, like CIA the best bet? It wasn’t for me. I’ll tell you why. Those schools are not cheap. They are upwards of $30k per year. The Maui Culinary Academy is at the University of Hawaii Maui College and they charge about $90/credit hour. All in all, the 2 years with supplies and books cost me roughly $6,000. But wait, I was able to scholarship my way through the whole experience. Can you say free? “If it’s free, it’s for me”, is my motto. Now consider this, most cooks leaving culinary school and entering the workforce will be making $10-14/hour. How quickly will that pay off those CIA student loans? Living on Maui, we have no options other than Maui Culinary Academy, however, you can be a big fish in a small pond or a really teeny tiny fish in and huge pond. I was a whale! Yes, the CIA credential may get you far but it’s actually the work experience after you complete culinary school that will get you farther. What would sound better on a resume, a 4.0 MCA graduate or a 2.8 CIA  graduate? Maybe if I were 20 years old, I’d have a different perspective…but I’m not. I’m not even looking for a job on a line somewhere. Private Cheffing is the way to go. My hours and my terms. Will I get anywhere? Not sure but if I can be as successful there as I was in school, no worries! Do I wish there were more interesting classes at MCA? Yes, but now I can supplement my education with things online. I’ve got the basics, not I’ll be fine tuning some more.

So, if you got the time, the cash and the stamina, give it a try. Even if you don’t want to do it as an occupation, think of the amazing dinner parties that you could throw. With that in mind, it’s time for tinfoilduck to sign out. It has been a blast and I thank you all for following. Stay posted for the new adventure of tinfoilduck.

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About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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7 Responses to Culinary School Here I Come (85) Reflection and Apricot Boulange; Tasty Dessert or Stripper?

  1. steveaw says:

    go get ’em duck! whatever u want next!

  2. pappybro says:

    Thanks for the “post-game” thoughts – please seriously consider doing a follow up in the Fall, when you’ve had time to digest things (pun intended).

  3. Micah Vargas says:

    I have also been looking into the World Endeavors internship program. I have no Culinary experience, except for cooking meals at home and always experimenting. I LOVE to cook, but have not been convinced that culinary school is worth the time and the money. From what I have heard from friends that are Chefs and restaurant owners (none of them have a Culinary degree) and they are very successful. I was just wondering if anyone knows if you need any experience to attend these internships? It sound very exciting and a good life experience too.

    • tinfoilduck says:

      Internship is good. It doesn’t matter what school you go to, the follow up training is the most important. Go for it……….!

    • tinfoilduck says:

      You don’t need to go to culinary school to get experience in the kitchen. It helps you get into the kitchen in a higher position, though. If you go to a community college, the cost will be much less than a private school. Through schooling, you will be exposed to chefs in your area and that will be a good way to get into the business. Good luck!

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