Sunday, August 20, 2006

Spilling the beans

Okay, for all of you who are bit perplexed and have been emailing me wondering what my little secret could possibly be - I'm about to spill the beans. There are a few people who know this already but I'm gonna go public with this and hopefully you can all help support me when I'm in the midst of it all.

Here goes: I have enrolled myself in the Part-time Chef Training program at George Brown College here in Toronto. The school itself has appeared on a few various top ten culinary schools in North America lists - and I live literally less than a 5 minute walk away. I have taken a few courses there previously (which still appear on my transcript, although they were taken nearly 10 years ago) and recall my time there as some of the happiest I have ever felt.

My partner is pretty supportive of this move, although he really doesn't, I think, at this point realize what it is that I've done. This time next year, all things going to plan, I should be ready to take on my practicum and complete a 2 month stage at a restaurant in Toronto, somewhere. This term I'm taking two academic courses - mainly to get myself back into the swing of being in school part-time and also to get my mind working again outside of my working environment. I'm taking Food Theory (think McGee in a class!) and Business Communications for Hospitality students (I'm thinking menu writing? - whatever, its bound to keep my GPA at a 4.0 where it currently stands). I know that my instructor for the Food Theory class is none other than Robert Rainford, known to Canadian FoodTV viewers as host of one of their shows. Not sure who is teaching the communications class as yet. I've also got an online sanitation and safety course to take and a one day CPR workshop to do this term.

Anyway, I'm planning on taking pretty much two classes a term until I'm done (its a one year/2 semester program). Next term will be Culinary Arts 1 (all day Saturdays 9:30 until 5pm) and Hospitality Math (totally going to breeze through that one - I'd normally apply for an exemption but its a prerequisite for another course and I'm afraid that if I don't do it I'll miss out on something that I'll really need to know). The only course that I won't have time to get to before next fall is the Culinary Desserts class but I'm going to see if my previous work in Baking (also at George Brown) will get me exempted from it).

So there you have it. Not a HUGE deal to anyone else but me (and Sebas, I guess, seeing as he will be the one who will have to deal with me doing homework and such) but it really is a big deal. I've alluded to this in the past but the one thing that has always stopped me (other than Bourdain scaring the shit out of me in Kitchen Confidential) has been the thought that I'm just too old to work in a kitchen, I'm too decrepit, I'm not fast enough, I'm not clever or creative or spontaneous or macho enough. Screw that. I'm ready, I'm eager, I'm hungry dammit and I want this.

As Connie reminded me (thanks Connie!) Julia Child started cooking when she was 37 for goodness sake - and look at where she ended up. If I have even half of one percent of her success as a cook I'll be one happy little guy, lemme tell you.

Thank you to everyone with whom I shared my little (not so) secret ambition and all your support and kind words. Thanks to Christine for helping feed my foodie fire, to Drew for his encouragement as he's already walked this path, to Peter for being my rock, to Kathy for getting me to get off my butt, to Sebas for being the one who eats what I cook, to Lucas for reminding me what it is to learn to cook and to my parents for helping me realize that this truly is my dream, that life is too damn short to not do this - and finally to Bourdain and Boulud and Batali (lots of B's) for throwing down the gauntlet. Finally, to Julia Child, cause really - she started me on the whole thing in the first place.


At 11:35 a.m., Blogger lucas mirĂ© said...

Yay, Eric! I'm so happy for you -- and inspired by this post. I'll do what I can to support you on your cooking journey. Thanks to you, I've even torn up the renewel offer for my Rachael Ray magazine. See, you've already made a difference! ;-)

At 2:00 p.m., Blogger kT said...

It is NEVER too late to start something. But then, I was lucky to grow up with a mother who started college at 50 and a teaching career at 57, so I had a good role model.

Go make some fire!

At 3:37 p.m., Blogger Camille said...

Holy crap. That is fantastic news Eric, just fantastic.

I hope this will be an amazing, life-altering experience!


At 7:51 p.m., Blogger pat said...

Excellent news!
After being away from the classroom for a while, it can feel a bit strange, but it's easy enough to get back into the grind :-D
Congrats on your decision, Eric!

At 9:33 p.m., Blogger Eric said...

Lucas - thanks for that. The world needs more people who can cook well, not just throw stuff in a pan. Thanks for choosing the high road with me.
Kt - thanks for the encouraging words, it really does mean something (a LOT of something to me) to know that others have been through this before me.
Cams - so when the heck are you coming to visit me here??? C'mon girl, I'm gonna be busy in SKUL!!!! :-)
Pat - see? you didn't have to actually wait forever to find out what I've been up to!

At 10:53 a.m., Blogger C(h)ristine said...

woo! i am so proud of you! it is very courageous to rip oneself from a known trajectory to another...even more courageous to pursue a dream.

as a friend once said to me, "now you've made it because you're following your dream."

At 1:24 p.m., Blogger Eric said...

Hey Christine, thanks so much for your encouragment. Not many people knew about my plan and the support of you and those other few was really instrumental in keeping me focussed.
If anyone would know about pursuing a dream, its you hon. I'll try and follow your lead as best I can. :-)

At 9:31 a.m., Anonymous Matt said...

Wow, that's excellent news! A friend of mine studied at George Brown, and from what I hear, its reputation is well-deserved.

At 1:31 a.m., Blogger Tea said...

Good for you, Eric. I look forward to following along on your adventure! Best of luck, I hope you enjoy the process.


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