still standing

well friends, i survived week 1! even though it felt like month 1…i didn’t think it was possible for 4 days to feel so long.

class starts at 7am–which means be sitting in your seat by 6:45 in your perfectly ironed uniform.  exhibit a: not ironed.

also incorrect: use of makeup and lack of awesome beanie-style hat.

this means i’m out the door at 6:30 and up at 5:45 to shower, eat, iron, and do some final reviewing for the quizzes we have

lecture from 7-8:30 on what we’re going to be doing that day. “break” means sprint to the bathroom before there’s a huge line then rush back to get started on the next 4 hours: production.

day 1: whole wheat rolls. ingredients all carefully measured on an old-school balance scale.

note: fresh yeast is not an appetizing smell at 8am. the final product? YES.

day 2: biscuits, baguettes, banana bread. mix croissant dough

yea i couldn't wait.

day 3: laminate (fold lots and lots of expensive european butter into) croissant dough, cinnamon rolls

not pictured: dunking my hand into a giant tub of icing and drizzling on top.

day 4: form and bake croissants, make pie crusts, and MORE wheat rolls

i didn’t get a picture of my pie crust, but let me tell you, i KILLED it (thanks mom!). we’re baking the bad boys off tomorrow, so i’ll be sure to get a picture then.

the class of  30ish is divided into groups of 3 or 4 students that we make all the products with.  usually we make one large batch of dough (we measure butter in pounds, people) and divide it for everyone to form their own rolls or whatnot.  We taste the final products and the leftovers are either given to dining room classes or donated (yea social conscience!).

i’m in a group with three 18-year-olds. they are all very nice. they are all still teenagers. it’s a little bit like goldilocks and the three bears: one talks wayyyy too much, one does wayyyy too little, and the third falls nicely in the middle. Poppa Bear and Momma Bear have the hots for each other. they think i don’t know.

at the end of day 3 (after also working 2 late nights in the restaurant), I asked Baby Bear, who had not moved from our work table in atleast 90 minutes, to find and measure some liquid. Eons later, she returns and asks how much we need. Look at the recipe, we’re doing half, figure it out. She fake-glances at it and says “I can’t do math.” I look at her, look at the recipe, and say very slowly, “Half of ten is five. We need 5 ounces.” She looks at me like “finally” and I snap. “This is not going to fly. You need a calculator or work on your times tables or something. There’s no excuse for this.”

Poppa Bear and Momma Bear stop in their tracks for a second and I feel terrible. I apologize (but really people HALF OF TEN) and we finish up our day.  The next day, she definitely moved a little bit faster. And I helped her fix her pie crust and she was very proud of herself.

In other news, in lecture we were discussing how cheap maple syrup is actually flavored high fructose corn syrup and some other biddy shouts out “did you know aunt gemima was a real PERSON? she just died….she was REAL.”  A guy about my age mutters, “yea, she’s buried right next to mrs. butterworth.”

here. we. go.


I’ve been thinking about this post for quite some time now (hilarious, right, because I post so frequently as it is) because this makes it REAL.

After a number of major life changes in the past six months, I’m taking on one more: in less than a month, I’m moving to North Carolina to attend Johnson and Wales University and pursue a degree in Culinary Arts. Yep–I’m going to culinary school! 

Did I just wake up yesterday, decide to move 300 miles from everyone and everything I know to throw down tons of money to learn to chop carrots faster? Not quite.  This is the result of years of dreaming, lots of research and financial planning, and countless conversations with people who have been through it.

It’s exciting and terrifying and a completely different feeling than when I went away to college. Instead of running hair-on-fire from high school, I’m leaving a city that I love and amazing friends that have become family. I’m worrying about health insurance and utility bills instead of dorm rooms and dining halls.  Turns out, I’m a grown-up.

And then I think about standing on my feet in a hot kitchen for 7+ hours a day learning about food–butchering meat, simmering stocks, designing menus–and I get SO excited.

So what do I want to do when I’m done?  How long will I be there? What’s it going to be like? Can you come visit? Will I keep blogging? Hold your horses–we’ll get to all of it.

What do I want to do? 

I want to make food better.  I want to do recipe development-create new and delicious healthy dishes for cookbooks, magazines, or tv shows. I want to make school food better–show kids (and parents) that cheeseburgers 4 times a week when they’re 7 is setting them up for a lifetime of food struggles. Oh, and that vegetables are delicious when they’re not boiled into mush.

How long?

One year–I’m doing an accelerated program called Garnish Your Degree (haha) designed for students who already have a bachelors. You can read more here.

What’s it going to be like?

Classes are 4 days a week, 7-8 hours a day. Two labs (like Foundations or French Cookery) and one more traditional class (like Food Costs or Nutrition) per quarter.  Three quarters of classes + 1 quarter of full-time internship and I’m done!

Do I accept visitors?

Yes! I have a spare bedroom aching to be used.

Will I keep blogging?

YES! I’m hoping to use DTMS as a space to document all my schooling adventures. I don’t know a soul in NC, so I fully anticipate I’ll become a blog/social media addict.

Wait–what about Manfriend?

There’s no way I’d be here without his encouragement and support. He was the one that made it possible to have my dream become reality.

He’s also not so secretly looking forward to the amped up dinners he’ll be feasting on after this is all over.

So that’s the scoop! Manfriend, Mad Dog, and I are making the big move together, so I highly recommend following me on twitter  (@kleighmc) if you’d like to bear witness all the cross-country antics.