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My experiences at JWU RI, week one

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
My class is American Regional Cuisine. This trimester, I have a series of cooking classes, also called labs, that each last 9 days. I have one lab a day that goes from 1:30 to 7:30. So anyway, in this particular class, we make full meals with many courses, and we feed the class that is taking the dining room service class. I believe there are 21 of us; 4 girls and 17 guys. Everyone is very helpful to each other and I don't sense any competition. Because we are not all making the same thing, I think that lessens the amount of competition.
The first day, Monday, was just orientation. We got an overview of what we would be learning about and we got a tour of the kitchen. It is very nice, but cramped at times, and some of the burners don't work at times. But there is always enough burners for everyone anyway. The second day, Tuesday, we practiced knife cuts. I made julienne, mirepoix, brunoise and some rough chops. I also tried some tourneed (sp?) carrots but they came out pretty poorly.
After class Tuesday we were all assigned dishes to make Wednesday. I was assigned to a hot wilted spinach salad. I checked out the recipe and it seemed pretty straight forward. We also had a lot of reading to do about the history of cooking and different methods of cooking.
Today I made my salad, and it came out alright, except I mixed the spinach and the dressing a little too early and it came out a little too wilted. A nice guy in my class tore up some raw spinach at the last minute and added it to my salad so it was a little fresher tasting. I tried some after we were done serving, and I don't think it came out too badly.
We each have a knife kit and three heavy books. We also have uniform inspection every morning, and so far, I have turned out okay. It will be a pain if I ever get turned away to neaten up because my dorm is a 15 minute walk!
If we do get turned away to fix something we have to be back in half an hour. 2 latenesses equal an absence and you are allowed 2 absences for this particular class. Each chef is a little different in his/her policies for lateness, absence, and uniforms.
Tomorrow we are making the same meal that we made today. Some of the other dishes in the menu today included Wisconsin cheddar cheese soup, Manhattan clam chowder, roast turkey, cranberry relish, a New England boil that included cabbage and corned beef, and some kind of shrimp dish. I look forward to making my salad tomorrow so I can fix the timing, and also so I can learn how to prepare the spinach a little faster.
Everyone here is so nice so far. I like my room mates and my hall mates. I feel stressed out at the end of the day, but it isn't bad. I haven't gotten yelled at yet. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
post #2 of 21

Wow! Thanks KateW

Thanks KateW. Sounds like a working kitchen with the sporadic burners :D. By the way...what three heavy books do you have and what was your reading assignment??

Thanks again for taking time to share with us. :cool:

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #3 of 21
You must be living in the dorm that used to be a hotel, right? If I recall correctly, the student dining room is in the lowest level and it's near the water. Aside from one of the dining rooms downtown, it's got the best food.

Is the knife kit still the big plastic box of F. Dick knives, or have they changed?

BTW, first-try tournee's, almost without exception, turn out poorly.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #4 of 21
dear kate,
congratulations on making it through the first week! it was the hardest for me, as i had absolutely no clue as to what i was doing. i was pretty lucky i guess as i seem to remember having a skills class first where they taught you how to use the knives and various other toys in your kit.
and greg, you mean they don't have the roll-up case with the dexter-russell set any more? :) i guess i must be dating myself with that question. i think i still have some of those beauties cluttering up a drawer somewhere. ahhh, the white sani-safe handles, the wonderful edge you could achieve.....
it'll get easier kate.
kat
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yep, we have the big plastic case of F. Dick knives. I wish it were a roll-up thing :(
My books are Culinary Service, which we haven't used yet, Culinary Fundamentals, and Culinary Recipies, where we get all our recipes for each day.
Our reading assignment was a few pages in various chapters about the history of food and cooking, different cooking methods, and sanitation.
Well I have to go read some more right now!
Edit: yes, I am living in the dorm that used to be a hotel, and I hear it has the better food. It's nice but also a little bit of a pain to be that far away from the campus.
By the way, I haven't made it through the first week yet ;) We have class today and tomorrow. Normally I would have class Mon.-Thurs. but since we didn't really have a class Monday, we have to go on Friday. It works out that way sometimes with holidays also.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I was disappointed that I did not exactly get to cook my salad again. I did all the prep work, and had lots more help than the day before, which was great. Then when serving time came I was told I'd be going to the dining room to be served and someone else would be mixing my salad and serving it. Bummer.
But things moved a lot smoother yesterday than the day before.
Everything that was served to me was delicious but I am unclear as to whether it was the food my class had made, or if it was someone else's. If it was our food, the salad was done all wrong! It was not hot, it was not wilted.
Yesterday we had a quiz I probably bombed on. I drew a blank on the meaning of HACCP and TDZ. Chef told us the quiz would be on cooking terms, so that is what I focussed on the most during my studying. I know HACCP and TDZ are important and I'm rather embarrassed that I failed to remember them.
Today I am making spinach souffles. (cringe) I will never want to see spinach again.
post #7 of 21

School Daze

First of all let me say that I love to cook. I love to work as a cook. I am really happy being a key player in making an establishment tick!

Everyone is so afraid of the Chef and her temper that no one wants to ask her any questions. As a matter of fact...I am too scared of her to complain on this forum!

:D
Kali
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Kali
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post #8 of 21
Hello

I am in the exact same class at JWU Miami, doing the exact same things.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
My souffles turned out alright, but they collapsed (of course). They were fine when they came out of the oven but fell a minute later.
Everyone said they liked them and I tried one, and I am not familiar with souffles so i wasn't sure how they are supposed to taste, but they seemed decent to me.
I had someone helping me make them and its a good thing because they were barely ready on time.
That's cool that you go to school at the Miami campus. I was going to do that but I decided against it because it was far from home and hot all the time.
I got an 84 on my first quiz, but I missed the quiz yesterday because I was having major troubles printing out my paper. Now I know to get it done the night before, even though my class isn't until 1:30. It may seem like enough time to get it done in the morning, but it quite obviously wasn't. I was only about 15 minutes late for class, but unfortunately missed the quiz. Quizzes are only 10% of the grade, and we still have a few quizzes to go so i figured missing that was better than missing the only paper we have due for the class.
I feel a little intimidated in class because most of the people there have worked in food before and I haven't. They have a lot of knowledge that I don't. However, everything I've cooked so far has turned out fine and I think I just need to stop worrying about everyone else and just concentrate on my own goals.
post #10 of 21
We have not had any quizzes, but we have to do a term paper, in addition to daily reading asignments. I unfortenally didn't get to make the souffles, I made the smoked pork and the fried okra, both of witch turned out wonderful.
post #11 of 21

Play by play from two locales!!!

Oh, boy, duelling students! No, not really, but it will be really interesting to see you two compare notes. For those of us who went to other schools, or none, and for those who went to J & W. Type on, please. :D
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #12 of 21
In Provindence do you have to wear your uniforms for meal service?
post #13 of 21
Ah, the good old days.... As a grad of J & W '83 I remember those awful uniform checks being blessed (or Cursed) w/ a thick beard I made the mistake of only shaving in the morning(I had evening classes) The chef made me shave in class w/ cold water and a dull razor Cut my face to ****. If I only knew the lawyers then that I know know..Hehehe anyway taught me a good lession though.
Have fun and give it your all. After all you'll only get out of it what you put in it.
Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
For the cooking labs, we wear school issued black dress shoes, black and white checked pants, chef coat, toque, dark blue neckerchief and silver slide, apron and side towel, and white socks, and a nametag. For the dining room classes where we are serving people, we wear black pants, black shoes, white socks I think, white button down shirt and a greyish vest, and nametag. I am pretty sure that's how it works, from what I have observed.
We get inspected before class, but I have seen some serious wrinkles get by in this particular class. Each chef is different in how he/she wants the details to look.
post #15 of 21
Sounds like you are getting dressed for battle! :D
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
I guess it can be looked at in that way, especially when the blood starts flying! I haven't cut myself yet, but I know it's just a matter of time. I think I heard somewhere that if you never hurt yourself, you're doing something wrong...
Another culinary saying I have heard is that there are three kinds of chefs, those with alcohol problems, those with drug problems and those who don't know what they're doing. I don't think I agree with that!
One thing I like about this school is that you're not forced to eat anything. We make all the food and then we either eat in the kitchen if we are plating that night, or we get served in the dining room by the dining room students. It's the same food either way, but even if you are being served in the dining room, you have a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts. However, they are not often vegetarian, or healthy ;)
Well I am trying to think of things to type so I can put off ironing but I really have to do it now. Until next time!
post #17 of 21
dear kate,
at least they give you a slide for the neckerchief. we used to have to tie them like a tie and end up choking ourselves. and i can't repeat what i was told by my storeroom instructor as to what chefs were! totally politically incorrect these days. burke looked me straight in the eye the first day of class and said chefs are one of three things blank, drunks or perverts and you seem to fit two of those categories. i mean how did he know? ;) he'd probably be totally unable to say those things 20+ years later, but i found it kind of amusing.
it sounds like you're doing ok with school, and keep up the journal when you can. how do you like providence? have you made it to federal hill yet? lot of good italian restaurants there.
kat
post #18 of 21
Used to be a saying about French chefs. They either drink too much, womanize too much, or smoke too much, any combination of the three, or all three at once! :D

Kuan
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Is federal hill that little Italian neighborhood? I went up there with my mom a few days before school started and was completely enchanted. There is a lovely little fountain and patio-type place in one corner that I fell in love with and a huge market filled with every kind of meat, cheese and Italian-style vegetable that took my breath away.
We ate at a restaurant I wasn't head over heels for though. I forget the name already, but they seated us under the stairs (it was partially mom's fault; she asked for a booth), and our waitress didn't know what was in the antipasto. Also the staff seemed totally unprofessional; we could hear them singing Britney Spears in the kitchen. However, the food was good! I had a linguini with clam sauce that came with 8 littlenecks in the shells on top of the pasta and a yummy broth.
Well ANYWAY, I am doing more laundry and then I have to read.
post #20 of 21
Kate, please don't be so hard on others about what you perceive to be their lack of professionalism. You'll find that kitchens in the "real world" do not always adhere to all the standards we're taught in school. Learn those standards well, and always try to follow them yourself. But the absolute WORST thing a new culinary grad can say in a kitchen is: "That's not how we did it in school." Okay, lecture over.

Although, yes, the waitress should have known. :rolleyes:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Actually, my opinion had nothing to do what what I learned in school since I attended this restaurant before I had even started school. I just thought the behavior and attitude of the staff did not quite fit the atmosphere of the restaurant. If I were in a Denny's it might have seemed appropriate, but here, it did not. Excuse me if I am wrong.
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