Orientation day was exhausting. I was so excited to be there, but it was a bit of a tease standing in the kitchen for 2+ hours without having the opportunity to even chop an onion. But I understand the importance of familiarizing yourself with a new space and there is a ton to learn regarding the kitchen organization, use of equipment, sanitation, and general safety. Chef John talked with us for most of the day and explained the uses for the various ovens, ranges, mixers, salamanders, and dishwashers. Did you know that convection ovens don't actually cook faster than conventional ovens? "350 degrees is 350 degrees" says chef John. Apparently what happens is that the meat (for example) just gets browner faster, but it still takes the same amount of time to reach the desired internal temperature.
Before we even stepped into the kitchen we had the pleasure of listening to Rebecca talk about when and how she founded the program with Julia Child back in the 80s. It is quite special to be learning in a kitchen where Julia once taught—what a privilege! And having just finished Food History with Ken Albala in the fall semester, it was nice to hear chef John talk about the history of professional cooking, why French technique and kitchen organization is the way it is, and so forth. I can already see how this class is going to bring life to much of what I have learned in the academic classes.