Hey everyone :)
Wow - to be honest I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed after Orientation. I feel like things will probably settle down a bit in the weeks to come, but right now it seems like a lot. For one thing, I thought that classes wouldn't officially start until tomorrow, but when I got my schedule today, I saw that my first class is actually scheduled for this evening at 7pm! The classes are 3 hours long, so I'll get out around 10pm.
Orientation was really nice, though, and the chefs and Le Cordon Bleu staff seem very knowledgeable and helpful, albeit *very* strict. There seem to a ton of rules - most of them involving your uniform. You must iron your uniform before every class. Your nails must be trimmed and dirt-free. You are not allowed to wear nail-polish, perfume, or earrings. And no diamond rings can be worn in the kitchen (I know a few food network chefs who definitely violate this rule...*cough* Paula Dean *cough* lol), only wedding bands are permitted. The uniform includes the checkered pants, double breasted jacket, chef's hat, apron, dish towel, steel-toed shoes, and hairnet. We are not allowed to wear our uniforms to class, but we must wear "street clothes" to the school and change here. This is to prevent the uniforms from getting dirty outside the school. Also, I learned that the reason chef's jackets are always double breasted is to allow the chefs to "mix and mingle" with their clients. That is, if a chef is working back in the kitchen, and he spills something on his jacket, he can simply use the double-breast to his benefit and switch which flap is closer to his chest and which one is facing out towards the public so that he can "hide" the dirty spot and go out into the restaurant and say hello to the customers looking nice and clean. Does that make sense? I thought it was kinda neat.
Also during Orientation, we got a tour of the school. It is a beautiful building! I'll try to take some pictures once everything settles down a bit. There are about five kitchens and five demonstration rooms. The way it works is that you will first go to "demonstration" and your chef-instructor will demonstrate the proper preparation of the dish. You must take good notes because your notes are the only tools you'll have when you have to create the dish yourself in the kitchen/lab during "practical." There are no recipe instructions provided at Le Cordon Bleu! Each "demo" and each "practical" are three hours long.
There are two groups of students doing Basic Patisserie. Group A and Group B. I am in Group A. There is no difference really between the groups - they are just on different time schedules.
There is SO much more to tell you, but I think I need to get moving on dinner so I'm not late to class! I'm thinking I might be too wiped out after class tonight to write in the blog, but if I don't get to it tonight, hopefully tomorrow! :)
Ps. We also got *amazing* knife kits at orientation!! They're incredible. I have about 12 knives and 1 giant cleaver now muahaha lol ;)