Thursday, September 03, 2009

Countdown to cooking school - 25 days

My appetite for cooking classes is growing, my patience is on simmer, and my anticipation is akin to that before being seated for a sumptuous meal.

The amuse bouche: I have completed enrollment for the California Culinary Academy, including a mouth-watering tour of kitchen classrooms.

The hors d'œuvre: New student orientation will be Sept. 19, at which I will receive my class schedule and meet fellow students.

The entrée: Nine months of classes and externship will begin Sept. 28.

The good folks at the Academy ask each enrolling student to apply for a scholarship and write an essay in support of the application. The exercise initially seemed unnecessary to me; I don't anticipate winning a scholarship over others who likely have greater financial need. Nevertheless, the school's enrollment process requires completion of the essay.

Having done so, I found that it focused my vision for enrolling in and studying at culinary school. Here's an edited excerpt of what I wrote:

Studying for a culinary arts certificate will enhance, refine and fulfill my passion for the kitchen and for cooking and eating healthy and well. With that knowledge, I plan to build a career linked to food, using my newly obtained culinary skills to help meet the great need for skilled culinary artisans at the local level. My idea is to emphasize eating well and healthy.

In addition, my writing and publishing background will allow me to spread the gospel of good and healthy eating beyond those I can touch in person. I foresee writing regularly about food for leading area and national publications, as well as continuing this blog as a daily journal of my culinary school experiences and beyond.

Obtaining a culinary arts certificate will honor my late mother, Ofelia Islas Chihak, who taught me to cook and encouraged me in every endeavor I undertook. She was an excellent cook of Mexican Sonoran cuisine, learned on her mother’s wood-burning stove on a borderlands ranch outside of Nogales, Arizona. She taught my brother, my sister and me to cook, partly through osmosis and partly through direct instruction. She did not consider herself a creator of fancy food, but she used wholesome, fresh ingredients and cooked creatively with what was available and what she knew.

Study at the Academy is a mid-life transition that will allow me to combine my previous vocation as a writer and editor with my avocation for cooking, fulfilling my culinary passion.

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