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Student Blog- Sebastian Week 7: Get onto the Knives

Those who have spent the past few weeks sharpening knives, reducing sauces, cutting vegetables, peeling potatoes, cleaning fish, roasting duck breasts, carving beef sides, cooking rice and convincing their mentors with their work can now start conquering the kitchens of the world and developing their personal style.
As in any cooking profession, you don’t start directly as chef de partie, but work your way up bit by bit. The internship teaches you important practical skills, the routine comes with time and everyone needs that. Preparing a mise en place requires experience.
Dice the onions, chop the parsley, portion the fillets and cut up the duck, the cuts are distributed to pots – in which the water simmers away to release the last aromas from the cuts and bones. With herbs and spices, this later becomes the basis for a dark roux.

The course prepares you fundamentally for a job in a commercial cooking kitchen – the most important thing is to function. It doesn’t help that you know everything in theory and can’t manage to put what you’ve learned into a pot or pan.

In most kitchens, stocks are cooked and fish are scaled, filleted and gutted before being served. Between splattering fat and gently simmering sauces, a fabulous, multi-faceted, fantasy world of flavours, smells and tastes opens that up, for all the stress, rewards you with a deep inner satisfaction.

The shortage of culinary skilled workers is catching up with the hospitality industry not only because of salaries, the stress and pressure to perform, especially at the top, are high and long working days are not uncommon in top gastronomy.
Working in the commercial kitchen does not have to be romanticized, it is not like it is portrayed in various cooking shows. The time to prepare a plate is short and it is not just one plate that is prepared, but several, and the workplace does not clean itself after the work is done.

I don’t understand the negative reports about how people are exploited in the culinary industry and commercial kitchen, because most of those who work in the kitchen are of age and do it of their own free will. Chefs who want to cook at the top level and establish themselves know what they are getting into and go down that path consciously. It’s no different in business, with consultancies or with lawyers.

Importantly, anyone working as a chef or cook should have their own knives that are suited to the job. Chef’s knives, paring knives and vegetable knives should be in the knife bag.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and realise the importance of having a chef instructor to keep you on course and help to complete the course.

Thanking you International Culinary Studio