Saturday, June 18, 2011
When I Fell In Love With Caramel (And Other Things)
I am one of those people for whom decision making and life direction has always come a little slower. One of the biggest decisions that took me a while to figure out was what I wanted to be "when I grew up." Keep in mind that I had been grown up for quite some time when I finally figured out how I wanted to spend my days and hence my life. I was nearing my thirties when I finally decided to go to culinary school with the hopes of becoming a pastry chef. So I entered a two year culinary program having no idea that I'd learn to love caramel and many other things as well. In some ways, deciding to go to culinary school was a very random decision for me and in other ways it made total sense based on what I wanted to do. I have always loved food and I helped my mother in the kitchen from the time I was able to be of any help (and perhaps long before then). My jobs in the kitchen were usually something glamorous like washing the potatoes or stirring the soup. But I loved it. I loved every moment that I got to be in the kitchen helping my mother prepare good meals that people would enjoy. I especially loved helping my mom prepare desserts for our family and guests after we finished with dinner. I loved helping her make her now-famous caramel apple pies especially. For me, culinary school was a time when I fell in love with foods like caramel, fruits and certain vegetables even more than I had before. I guess I just became more and more fascinated by everything that could be done with food the more I worked with food. I did well throughout the program, but I began to excel around the time that we began focusing on desserts and pastries. I'm not sure what it is about preparing desserts for people that excites me, but it does. My dream quickly became to be the head dessert and pastry chef for an upscale restaurant in my town. By the time the second year of culinary school began, I focused all of my efforts on specialty desserts and pastries. I loved the freedom my professors gave me to work independently on recipes of my own. I was busy coming up with an even better caramel glazed pastry and with perfecting my late mother's famous caramel apple pie. I loved it. I truly learned to love caramel and other foods in culinary school. If you have any amount of fascination with good food like I did, then I suggest you head off to culinary school as soon as possible.