Friday, October 2, 2009

Taking Stock

Today I went to the school I'll be teaching to interview some of the students who applied to the program, take inventory of the kitchen and meet with the head of the school to sign contracts. The kids, almost all female, have little cooking experience outside the home but all seemed genuinely curious about the hows of cooking. One said she never had eaten seafood in her life, because her mom never cooks it. When asked if there is anything they would never eat, one student said there is a lot of things she does not eat, but that's probably because "I never had a chance to try them." Her self-awareness and sharp sense of 'why' surprised me. A lot of kids just think they don't like things because they fear the new and unknown, but this girl already took the mental leap without me coaching her.

The kitchen supply closet was a bit of a mess, with some odd things -- enough apple corers to have two to a student, but no lids to any pot. Whisks enough to double fist any whip cream, but lacking in a functional food processor. Looking at the small production kitchen, I wonder how I'm going to set up 10 kids into mise stations to work with knives.

The director of the school was very kind, taking the time to tell me about the philosophy of their approach to the community they serve. This coming week I'm getting finger printed (all employees of the NYC Department of Education has to be on file), and Wednesday is the first session. I see safety practices, knife skills, chunky salsa, smoothies and massive mashed potatoes in our future....