Orientation: Excited & Nervous

…at the same dayum time.

Today, we got a chance to meet a lot of the staffamily (I just created my first word…you may want to start your vocabulary list now).  A majority of them have all gone through and graduated from one of the school’s programs, which I find to be very comforting and helpful. When you ask them a question, you KNOW they know what they’re talking about because they’ve been where you are.  Literally.  Nice way to start things off.

We received a welcome lecture from Chef Francois, founder of LAC. Through his thick French accent, he shared with us the reasons he started L’Academie back in 1973.  I love that he compared culinary school to the military (GO NAVY!) because I had been doing the same thing in the months prior to beginning here.  The Navy trains you for what you need to know, to do your job and do it exceptionally, as does LAC.  No general education courses or electives that you’ll never need.  No wasted time.  They start you from the fundamentals and work you up to becoming an authoritative voice in your profession.  This is exactly what I’d been looking for.

“We will teach you how to cook and how to BE.”  That was said by Chef in a very…stern tone.

Sounds simple enough.  However, I know it’s going to take a tremendous amount of dedication from both myself and my family.  That was made clear during my enrollment process.
Chef also made certain to emphasize the importance of “showing up”.  Punctuality, reliability, and cleanliness come first in a kitchen.  Because of this, he created “The President’s Award”, which is something I am definitely aiming for.  It means perfect attendance for the entire program and yes, that will be going on my resume. I’ve claimed it already.  Hmmmph.

Notebooks (which will become our own cookbooks) are of the utmost importance, too. I felt both, intimidated and up for the challenge, when I found out that he personally checks and grades all of the student recipe notebooks himself. (Momma must be on point!) He told us that he’d be back on Saturday to go over exact details on what he expects our notebooks to be.  Then he opened the floor to our daily instructor.

First of all, Chef Jake and his assistant (Voula) both rock!  Sitting in on a couple of his demos before registering is what got me so excited to start the program.  He makes it look like so much fun!  He seems to be very “by the book” when it comes to academic & and attendance rules but in the kitchen, his teachings allow you to still be “you”.

There are 13 students in my class, 7 males and 6 females. Everyone is from different parts of the U.S., some even from different parts of the world.  I’d be lying if I held out on the fact that all the females are black. C’mon now… A French cooking school…?  No, race does not change anything about the class…but I did feel an extra sense of oomph.  It’s amazing to be in the presence of 5 gorgeous females that I have so much in common with. And yes, we all get along.  “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

We all received an official tour of the school:

Here’s where we will be changing in to our uniforms, as we are not allowed to arrive to school in them. Think about it… From here on out, if we were not before, we will learn to become one full-sized, sanitized “being”.  Nobody wants food from a dirty cook.

The locker room, a place of change. (See how I did that? Lol) You pick an empty locker, put your name tag on it, add your padlock, and become one with it for the next 15 months or so. I can dig it.

The locker room, a place of change. (See how I did that? Lol)
You pick an empty locker, put your name tag on it, add your padlock, and become one with it for the next 15 months or so. I can dig it.

Here is the classroom for Phase 1.  This is where Chef Jake and Voula work their culinary magic. Notice the mirrors atop the electric burners.  No matter where we're sitting in the classroom, we're always able to see what's going on in the pots.  Awesomenes.   Why didn't I think of that?  Lol

Here is the classroom for Phase 1. This is where Chef Jake and Voula work their culinary magic.
Notice the mirrors atop the electric burners. No matter where we’re sitting in the classroom, we’re always able to see what’s going on in the pots. Awesomenes.
Why didn’t I think of that? Lol

Here is the kitchen where we recreate what we've learned, eat it, and scrub everything clean with toothbrushes.   Okay...maybe not with toothbrushes but we do get down and dirty with it before it's time to leave. Must be spotless.  SN:  We use gas stoves, which are my personal preference.  Partially because I like actually being able to SEE the heat I'm cooking with...  ...and partially because I'm a closet pyro.

Here is the kitchen where we recreate what we’ve learned, eat it, and scrub everything clean with toothbrushes.
Okay…maybe not with toothbrushes but we do get down and dirty with it before it’s time to leave. Must be spotless.
SN: We use gas stoves, which are my personal preference. Partially because I like actually being able to SEE the heat I’m cooking with… …and partially because I’m a closet pyro.

At the end of the tour, we were all brought in to the Phase 1 kitchen and given our school supplies. By the looks of all the faces, we were ALL excited to see our chef’s jackets with our names embedded on them AND…TO GET OUR KNIFE KITS!!!!!!!!!!!! #HOORAH!!!

If only you could have seen my smile...   It was my husband's idea to shorten my name.  Both, on this website and on my uniform.  Excellent idea.  He rocks!

If only you could have seen my smile…
It was my husband’s idea to shorten my name. Both, on this website and on my uniform. Excellent idea. He rocks!

Death to all my purses!  No more LV logos, Jimmy Choo, or Michael Kors for at least 15 months or so.  This bag is my latest and greatest accessory.

Death to all my purses! No more LV logos, Jimmy Choo, or Michael Kors for at least 15 months or so. This bag is my latest and greatest accessory.

Tell the truth.  My new bag is sharp, isn't it!!!?   *This is the part where you nod your head in agreement.*

Tell the truth. My new bag is sharp, isn’t it!!!?
*This is the part where you nod your head in agreement.*

The knife bag (I need to give her a name) has 3 separate zippered compartments so there is plenty of room for all this stuff.

The knife bag (I need to give her a name) has 3 separate zippered compartments so there is plenty of room for all this stuff.

Hol' up?  We read in this place?   Lol!  Just kidding.  In case you didn't know, culinary school is no joke.  You can't be "a little bit" dedicated.  It's either all or nothing (aka a lotta bit).  The good thing is, all of these books are a necessary necessity.  Very interesting reads if you're in to this sort of thing.

Hol’ up? We read in this place?
Lol! Just kidding. In case you didn’t know, culinary school is no joke. You can’t be “a little bit” dedicated. It’s either all or nothing (aka a lotta bit). The good thing is, all of these books are a necessary necessity. Very interesting reads if you’re in to this sort of thing.

Soooooooo looking forward to breaking in those knives!!!

Keep It Tasteful,
Keema

8 thoughts on “Orientation: Excited & Nervous

  1. Hey my favorite Chef!

    I am so loving this exciting new journey in your life!! No one can deny your skills in the kitchen. It so awesome that you’re able to learn new things about your craft, to master it, and to officially become what I’ve been calling you for the past three years: a chef. I am ridiculously happy for you. And I appreciate you sharing your journey with me.

    This was a great read. Felt like I was there with you. But uh, let me hold those LV bags since you can’t use them right now. So serious :-) Looking forward to more posts and even a few recipes to try.

    HOOYAH!

    • You know you rock, Shipmate! :-) Thank you for your continued support, and more importantly, your continued friendship. I didn’t realize it was a journey until people close to me kept pointing it out. LoL

      SN: Where all ya fancy symbols and thangs at now? Huh? Huh?

      ~Keep It Tasteful (K.I.T.)
      Keema

    • Thank you, Nishia! I’m excited to see what’s next, as well. LoL
      You are full of awesomeness. Thank you for your feedback.

      ~Keep It Tasteful (K.I.T.)
      Keema

  2. Takeema Johnson aka Bacon Bit!!

    I am SO very proud of you! You are embarking on a journey that was destined for you, from birth:) I cannot tell you, how my face lit up in reading your words…very enlightening, light hearted, and informational! I too, am looking forward to you receiving that “Presidential Award”!#hardworkpaysoff

    Luv you much!

    • One of my favorite nicknames. Lol
      Thank you, my friend. That is exactly what I am going for. To give you the enlightening, light hearted info…minus all the boring parts.

      SN: We’re still going to work on the grits. #KThanks! Lol

      ~Keep It Tasteful (K.I.T.)
      Keema

  3. Keema, it feels like I’m sitting in the classroom/ kitchen with you. I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to read more about your culinary journey. :-)

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