Monday, January 27, 2014

Kitchen Confidential

There's a couple of weeks left before classes actually start so I decided to pick up a book for some advanced research hahaha if you can call it that. Anyways, the book is "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain. First off, let me say that I love the guy, his shows are funny and informative at the same time. I mean, I had an idea of how dark and seedy the culinary world was but then, hey, it was the 80s (or was it earlier? I forget hahaha)

The book itself would discourage any chef-wannabe who thinks that being a Chef is all glitz and glamor and preparing one dish at a time for a panel of judges or a table for two. Oh yes, you'll get to a point in your career where you'll be preparing less and less and getting paid more and more, but that's years down the road.

“Cooking is a craft, I like to think, and a good cook is a craftsman—not an artist"

With that thought, I think back to all the people who I've taught recipes to down the years who  tweak those time tested recipes by adding something completely uncalled for and then call themselves "Chefs". These people don't have any training, they don't even cook that much, heck, if you don't teach them a nice recipe, they'll probably never come up with good dishes by themselves... Oh, I'm ranting, but to that point, I'm no chef, but I've honed my skills and some recipes to perfection to which I can probably say I'm a half-decent cook, but these people? I'd like to take a cast-iron skillet and whack them a couple of times for good measure.

And as usual, I've completely gotten off-track, but still, it sounds like a chapter to Bourdain's book. Sometimes incoherent, but utterly true.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Most Institute / Islacare Davao it is!

Well, after going through all the choices and after weeks of agonizing coin flipping, I finally decided to entroll at Most Institute / Islacare Davao. Classes start two weeks from now and from there, who knows? Although I was tempted to take a much shorter, much more intensive one-on-one training from Chef Steve Pollard, but my whole initial purpose of going into the Culinary Arts was to get some actual kitchen experience and only the bigger culinary institutions have the pull to place students in hotels for that actual on-the-job training. Not just lip-service OJT but actual working experience in a real kitchen. 

So yeah, here's to the next step!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Choices, Choices, Choices

After weeks of research (online and offline) I narrowed down the choices to three. CACS or Center for Asian Culinary Studies, IChef and Most Insitute (Islacare). My brother did the Certificate course at CACS and according to him, it was pretty informative. Not much help huh? Well, I decided to drop by the other day and to my surprise, the person there told me that they were no longer accepting applications for the culinary certificate course due to some issues with the parent company. Oh well, that makes my search much easier as that option is now off the list.

On the same day, I went to IChef to inquire about their shorter and more comprehensive course. Their course runs for 3 months with an M-W-F schedule. Their rate is, and I quote the person who wasa kind of entertaining me (and by "kind of" I mean that he was barely answering my question and was almost not interested in answering) was "Mga 50,000 sir" I mean, that's really no way to entertain a potential student now is it? Especially if your school touts hospitality as one of the foundations of their system.

Not to be turned off by that reception, I messaged IChef on Facebook and this was the reply:

Thank you for your interest in ICHEF! The next session for the 3-month course will be this coming June because we follow the academic calendar. For the requirements, kindly bring 6 pcs passport size pictures and original NSO Birth certificate. The schedule for 3-month course is 3x a week, 8-5pm and weekdays only. It costs P60k, approximately. Our rate includes chef's jacket, culinary knife set, toque, apron, towels, ingredients. For More information, you can visit out office at ICHEF building, S. De Jesus St. Davao City or contact us at (082) 305-8833 / 09199298154. Thank you and looking forward to having you be a part of the ICHEF family!

Well, I got two different figures, one is around 50k and the other is around 60k. Still, that's still within my budget so that's still in the running. The only turn-off of me was that their next batch isn't until June. I mean, a lot of things could happen in six months, and I'm not getting any younger ahahah.

Now the only other remaining choice would be Most Institute (Islacare). Their tuition is around 45k for the chef's uniform, knives, apron and course. While that might look cheap, one also has to factor in the cost for ingredients. Yep, you read that right, cost of ingredients isn't included. If you add it all up, it'll still hit the 60k mark for the entire 6-month course. Whether that's a clever marketing ploy or what, there's that psychological effect that they're "cheaper" than the other two places. After thinking about it and after talking to their admissions person, it does seem like a good idea to make the students buy the ingredients themselves, good training if I say so myself. 

I guess the only question now is which of the two do I choose? I mean, time-wise, they're kind of the same. If I go with IChef, I'll start June, and finish Late August/Early September. If I go with Most Institute, I'll Start February and finish Late July/Early August. 

Hayyyyy, choices, choices.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Starting the Journey

Well, this is the first post of this blog (hopefully not the last! hahaha). I've been blogging on and off for a while now and hopefully this one sticks. Now a quick background, I have -zero- formal training with cooking, so this foray into the world of culinary arts is a first. Altough I love to cook, everything so far has been done by ear and from sniping recipes and techniques online.

Now, my brother told me that it would be a lot cheaper if I just learned stuff online, but to my mind, nothing still beats the actual experience of holding a knife, slicing your ingredients and cooking the food yourself. Don't get me wrong though, there are excellent resources online for learning almost anything but for me, hands on is still the best.
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