The Mark Of A Chef

“Now, ladies and gentlemen,” Chef R said, leaning towards us, chinois in hand. “This is my very own special utensil. If you wash it, please return it to me and do not put it on the shelf! You shouldn’t be using it anyway, it’s mine. But just so you’re aware.”

“You won’t kill us?” one student piped up in the back. The class laughed.

“No, no,” Chef R responded with a grin. “I’m not Chef Klaus.”

He continued with the lecture, straining espagnole through the chinois. He double checked to make sure we knew exactly what to do with it–hand it back to him, never ever placing it to dry anywhere. It was too easily lost. By now the class was beginning to wise up. Chefs, perhaps just those at Le Cordon Bleu, but maybe elsewhere, are quite fond of their personal utensils, and chinois seem to be the most important.

After class I went home, grabbed my wallet and purse and took off for the store.  (I will, for anyone out there who might be interested–I’m looking at you, Santa– be asking for a bigger knife case for Christmas.) A whisk, a peeler, a ruler, a melon baller… I stocked up on these things and paid for them with pride.

I pulled my new, shiny chinois out of the bag as I walked back to my car. A person walking across the parking lot caught my eye–a classmate, carrying a new chinois of his own! We lifted them in the air in an imaginary toast, as if we held precious glasses of champagne rather than pointy metal strainers. It was a moment of triumph, I knew he was thinking the exact same thing I was. This really must be the beginning of a culinary career, here in the parking lot, clutching our bright, unused chinois.

I do love the life of a foodie. From students arguing over braised oxtails in the school hallway to the aroma of veal bones in the morning, nothing beats the environment around here.

A week from Saturday I’m scheduled for Disney Traditions. Orientation, basically. I’m whittling away the hours between now and work, trying not to spend money and watching an unhealthy number of Bones episodes.

The culinary future has never seemed so bright. It shines almost as vibrantly as my new chinois, sparkling in the sun!





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