I am back! I finally finished by classes and survived somehow. The last few weeks of school were quite busy between services and final exams but everything went smoothly. The program is not over yet, the next step consists of two stages; banquet and restaurant. And so begins my real evaluation of my year in culinary school.
During my last few weeks in school I got the chance to work with very fine ingredients and used many challenging techniques, so I was feeling very skilled and pleased with my accomplishments. This came to a relatively abrupt end as I started my first stage. For a bit of background, I am working at a local Montreal caterer. My first day on the job was pretty basic, I was given some vegetables to chop, peel, and sort. I was being assessed by my superior and thought I did fine. Over the next few days my tasks variation became even more limited. On day two I made a mise en place for chicken kabobs, and proceeded to assemble them throughout the entire day. Day three consisted of squeezing liquid out of blanched cabbage, followed by packing things away in the fridge. By day four I was really hoping for some more excitment, but I was instructed to assemble mini egg rolls. I did so for the whole, entire day! This bring me to today, and unfortunately my tasks list was equally as brutal. I had to peel and shape regular carrots, to appear like little carrots. This seems quite ridiculous in my opinion, because the do sell those carrots at the market. I guess they are slightly more expensive and I suppose my boss is trying to cut costs by having free labour do it. My plan tomorrow is to try and discuss broadening my list of duties. I once hoped to work in catering but I am starting to reconsider, as a result of the intense monotony.
I am starting to sound quite cynical about this whole experience but I am still trying to remain hopeful. I have another week left to try and truly experience the up side of a catering business. I intend to make the best of it. This past week has also enabled me to really appreciate all I have learnt at St. Pius. I am able to identify every technique used in the kitchen as well as every single safety and hygiene violation being committed at my stage. I will not get into precise detail, but there seems to be issue with one employee and cleaning is hands after handling raw poultry, in addition to a poorly kept refrigerator.
I am awaiting with excitment the day my teacher appears at the job to see how my stage is progressing. I hope he is able to see what I see. But in the meantime, I hope tomorrow I get to cook something!