Posted by: robertreynolds | August 20, 2008

Becoming Cooks & Chef Studio student blog site

BECOMING COOKS by Robert Reynolds

You could see it happen. From  one week to the next, the students began to hold themselves differently. They had more confidence, demonstrated more self possession. They stopped making certain kinds of mistakes; left behind notions that didn’t serve them; revealed they were more open. Their excitement to be in the kitchen never flagged.

For graduation, they invited 24 people to a sort of cocktail. They planned for days what they would do. It was not easy to comb through all the dishes they’d done over the previous two months. It took a couple of days to thin the list out. They realized they had to string their ideas together harmoniously, or the experience would just be a random collection of tastes. They’d taken on the notion of geography, season, and culture as a way to organize their thinking. It helped them sort things out. They’d learned a respect for ingredient.

The final 14 dishes they came up with were choreographed so the tasting experience for their guests would have movement, be captivating, and executed perfectly. As they fed their guests one thing, we set to work to prepare the next. Everyone gravitated toward the kitchen to observe, be closer, absorb the performance. One after another, without a single hitch, the students unveiled the successive taste tour they wanted to share. This was graduation, a high wire act performed without a net.

There wasn’t a single hitch. We served foie gras on brioche as if to say, “Now that we have your attention, we plan to take you for a ride!” They confectioned an egg in the shell, so that when you swirled the spoon, it made a mousse flavored with spice, herbs and Sherry. While the guests were wide eyed, the students turned to prepare the next dish of crepes filled with a spoonful of soufflé. It looked like a mini ice cream cone. A crisp fish, topped with deconstructed ketchup, was served with a tiny dice of apple, sweet pepper, celery, brought together with lemon rind, capers and herbs. It was breath taking.

All evening long, we drank Champagne as if to demonstrate a belief that Champagne goes with everything. In the end each student was handed a beautifully designed bleu, blanc, rouge, diploma. It’s meant to remind them of how far they came and what authority they’d assumed.

Their excitement was vibrant, their skill unsurpassed. Hats off!

For a first hand student report about the 8-week course of culinary study, visit students blog site:


Next session begins March 16th – May 8th

8 weeks French culinary training in Portland Oregon

Plus the option of 4 weeks in France

The course of study is geared toward working cooks who need to take their skills to the next level; professionals who desire renewal, and also serious home cooks who wish to learn in the traditional French manner. The regionally-focused curriculum is taught in an intimate, hands-on setting.

Limited to 6 participants.  Tuition: $1000. Per week

Daily classes – M thru F – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.



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