I want start off by saying thank you to everyone for your kind comments and words of encouragement in response to my post Screw You Bourdain; I’m Going to Culinary School. I was really inspired by some of the personal notes and emails I received from chefs and other culinary professionals sharing their own experiences joining the culinary world later in life. I even received a few job prospects!
This post might seem a little late, since I am going into my second week of classes at the Culinary, but I still wanted to share this post.
During my trip to the US this past November, I managed to visit not only the CIA Greystone campus for cooking demo, but also my future home campus in Hyde Park, New York; The original Culinary Institute of America. A few days before I left to return to Bulgaria, my parents and I drove from Brooklyn to upstate. I don’t recall having ever been near Hyde Park or Poughkeepsie, but the ride up was beautiful and refreshing. I had a hard time adjusting to driving on real highways, with drivers that obey the rules, (This comment is for my friends in Bulgaria) although there was a trucker wouldn’t let me merge and pushed me into the rumble strips, but I think that might be an innate trucker trait… who knows?
Needless to say, the campus was gorgeous! Despite the fact that I have bachelor’s degree from Hunter College, I had never been on a campus tour or visited a real campus. Hunter College is located at 68th and Lexington in New York City, so there wasn’t much room for a campus. It was a commuter school with a minuscule dorm (former Bellevue psych ward converted into student housing!), which I had the good fortune to live in from 1999 – 2000. It was so exciting to be able to see what a real campus looks like, especially knowing that in a few short weeks, I would be one of those students.
Our tour guide was a lovely Baking and Pastry student from Hawaii. During the tour, she would ask the group of us culinary questions, like who is Escoffier? or who is Catherine de’ Medici or What is the farm to table movement? All of which I knew and raised my hand enthusiastically to prove it. Yes, I am know it all nerd, but I was disappointed that no one else on the tour knew not one of answers. You are prospective culinary students. As we reach the pastry part of the tour, she asks if anyone knows what mignardises are? I was stumped and it pissed me off like you wouldn’t believe. The guide actually said “Ha, I stumped you!” So, I took a picture of the sign as a reminder and I will never forget that mignardises are bite-sized desserts usually served at the end of the meal. They are a type of petit four. I even asked a few of my foodie/ francophile friends if they had heard of it and they too were blank.