Kitchen virgin no more

Published in FSD Update

People always ask me how I got my job, assuming I have a culinary background. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. As I recently told a friend, I’m very adept at ordering takeout.

Last month, however, I had the opportunity to cook in the CIA’s Greystone kitchen twice. The first was at the National Pork Board’s Pork Summit. I was excited to attend, having heard about the smorgasbord of food—and wine; it is Napa Valley after all—I’d be consuming. When I read the agenda, however, my anxiety peaked as I realized I would be expected to cook. A disaster was looming, I just knew it.

On the kitchen day I was paired with a wonderfully patient chef, Noah Barton from Sysco, who was kind enough to take the editor with no cooking background on his team. What I thought would be a day of frustration turned into a great one. My day with Noah saw me doing things like sawing through pig bones and flipping crêpes. I only cut myself once—although I consider it a badge of honor.

My second Grey-stone experience was much less anxiety filled but equally entertaining. I was there for the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council’s School Pulse Summit. Once again I had some amazing chefs who took on the kitchen newbie and graciously answered my many, many questions. I didn’t walk out unscathed at this kitchen foray, either. This time I came away with a pretty nasty burn. In addition to learning some culinary skills, I also became very intimate with the first aid kit.

I’m certainly not ready to turn in my laptop for a chef’s coat, but I have a much better understanding of the entertainment the kitchen provides. I had always wondered how slaving away behind a hot stove, while standing on your feet for hour upon hour, could be fun. But I guess that’s what chefs are saying about me, slaving away hour upon hour sitting behind my computer.

If anyone ever wants to invite me into your kitchen, I’d be more than willing to join you, just as long as you tell me exactly what to do. To Noah and all the other chefs who helped me pop my kitchen cherry, thanks, and let me know when we can do it again. 

chefs, training

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