Was it everything I expected?
I could barely sleep last night, it was like Christmas Eve but much hotter. I woke up early and took a great shower in my newly hung curtain - visitors, you will not be disappointed. I had my tea, and Special K milk chocolate, packed my new shoes and headed off to school at 8:15, the commute took less than half an hour, so I was almost an hour early. I walked around the neighborhood and headed into the building a little before 9 am. Greeted in French, I stumbled through Good morning, and je m'appelle Sarah, followed directions to the Winter Garden to fill out more papers. I wasn't the first person there, a very nice Canadian woman was even earlier than me. We chatted - she has her two daughters here for the month and the room filled up with the rest of the new students. I have butterflies going crazy, but the good kind.
The head of academics welcomed us to the school, one sentence in French, then translating into English. Our translators then took over, sharing the duty. Our schedule looks pretty heavy - classes five days a week, at least two 3-hour sessions per day, sometime three -- but no Saturday classes! Overview of the rules, tour of the demonstration rooms, practice kitchens, and basement. Off to get our uniforms and kit (tools, the translator was Australian). The uniform is a jacket with the Cordon Bleu crest, checkered pants, white neckerchief, apron, hat, tea towel and of course 'safety shoes.' The kit is amazing, scarily sharp Wusthof knives, including a light cleaver that could give the guillotine a run for its money, and of course, a corkscrew!
A light buffet lunch is set out for us, 15 cheeses, a crazy delicious pate, fruits, and a lovely sponge cake and to drink, water -- no wine :-(
After lunch, we receive our notebooks, hoping to see recipes, it is only ingredient lists, the instructions are to be taken as our notes, and used to replicate the recipes in the practice kitchen. I have to memorize 6 of these lists for my final exam. The first demonstration is more of an introduction, the chef multi-tasks making fondant, apricot glaze and praline all at the same time, moving from one to the next seamlessly. As each on hits a point where he has to wait, he starts another one, working in marzipan and then coffee extract. After two hours, I am saturated, and happy to know that I won't have to make any of them, because each one is bought in huge quantity for the school. Although, the praline recipe is worth trying at home -- I am not allowed to share it though (copyrights, bother).
Tomorrow is the first time in the practice kitchen, so I will have photos of my first dish.
PS I do have the cutest shoes in the class, phew!