Monday, September 10, 2007

Master of the Universe! ...or Gastronomy, whatever.

I started grad school today. A fascinating and eerie return to my alma mater, Boston University. It's always weird when you return to a place that was locked in a very specific time/memory. Everything feels like it should be the same and you crave the familiarity, but yet because you are coming back, you also seek out the new memories. For me, it feels somewhere between a restless dream and a nightmare. Creating new memories, for me, only serves to highlight how far away the old ones really are.

And it feels strange because I'm apart of the school in a completely different way, participating in a program I never knew existed. It's like discovering a random secret about a lover, it's exciting to know there are still undiscovered things to learn, but it also brings out a certain "what-else-don't-I-know-about-you?" insecurity. I'd love to learn more about this school, but as of now, I'm still processing the overwhelming amounts of new information.

What is thrilling (and terrifying) however, is that as apart of this program I am able to take a culinary arts certificate class. At first I had my doubts about this class, as you only gain a certificate from the program. How challenging can it be? Particularly when you look at some other (only culinary) programs that run over a year. But after seeing the schedule for the next few months, I've been firmly put in my place. It's a challenging course, despite it's seemingly shortened schedule, and I've no doubt it's going to kick my ass.

We spent the day looking over the initial information packet, learning kitchen rules and touring kitchen. The information packet conversation was the first real "oh geez, this is for real" realization of the day. Not only did our syllabus dictate a rigorous daily schedule, it detailed some awesome upcoming opportunities, none more so than having Jacques Pepin as a teacher. I worry that my giddy excitement for that will end up looking less "I am a composed and professional cook" and more screaming-schoolgirl, a la 60's Beatlemania.

And while the list of chef-instructors coming in is extremely exciting, my jaw completely dropped when I saw that Morimoto was coming it. It dropped and I screamed (internally, of course). I couldn't believe it! I expected to see local well-known chefs and Jacques Pepin (since he was one of the creators the program) but Morimoto was an unbelievable surprise. I'm thoroughly looking forward to that day.

Overall, I was totally overwhelmed today. Sunday night before the first day I had had a complete panic attack. Insecurities swirled around my head all night, I questioned everything, "what if I'm not good enough?" "what if everyone's better than me?" "what if I make a fool of myself?" and perhaps most scarily, "what if this isn't what I really want to do?" Patient as my friends were, none of them could do much to make me feel better.

Seeing Pepin's name on the schedule the next day helped a lot.