My Brilliant Culinary Career

I’ve been AWOL for five months now.  My sincerest apologies to all who have tried to reach me without success.  The reason is singular – my complete immersion in Culinary School.

The good news:  my bees are flourishing!!  They’ve never been healthier!!  I’m not sure whether it’s because of the idyllic summer we’ve had in Ohio or the fact that I’ve left them alone to do their own bee thing.  Maybe it’s a combination of both. In any event, they’re in the best possible shape to enter the winter season.

The bad news:  my garden is a mess!  It’s amazing how quickly things will descend into rack and ruin if neglected for even a short period of time.  My neighbors have been incredibly tolerant and understanding.  Perhaps they understand that it’s more painful for me than it is for them!

I’ll give you a flavor of what the past months have been like for me. Then I’ll go back to posting about beekeeping, gardening and cooking with honey.  With some culinary anecdotes of course!

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As some of you may know, I’ve been a corporate lawyer for many years.  About five years ago, I added “writer” and “consultant” to my list of job titles.

In 2012 I added “blogger” to my list.  So how did I end up as “Culinary Student”?

Probably because the best way to motivate me is to tell me I can’t do something.  I’ve always been that way.  It’s the reason I became a lawyer.

There were other factors too. I’ve always loved to cook.  I come from a family of great cooks, both self-taught and professionally trained.  I’m one of those people who owns hundreds of cookbooks and reads them for fun.

And then my best friend died unexpectedly in April.  I was devastated. I was desperate to find something to get myself out of my head and distract me from my grief.

In any event, shortly before the summer semester started in May, I found myself enrolling in Culinary School.

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In truth, I didn’t know whether I just wanted to take a few classes or do something more.  I figured taking cooking classes would be fun, keep me busy, and would help me with my writing.  Beyond that, I was clueless.

It was apparent to my instructors that I hadn’t thought the whole Culinary School thing through. I had no idea what school was like. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my training.

The Administration tactfully suggested that I might not be willing or able to handle the six hour cooking labs and other requirements of the program.  That’s when my motivation kicked in.  I immediately became sure I wanted to pursue a Culinary Arts Degree.  Hey, I might even get a Pastry Arts Degree while I was at it!

The first three weeks of school took their physical toll on me, big time.  I was in good shape when I started, but I wasn’t used to being on my feet cooking for five or six hours at a pop.  I hurt all over.  I started carrying a plastic baggie full of Advil around in the pocket of my chefs’ pants.

And then there was my age. I was older than everyone, including my instructors.  My fellow students avoided me, and I was frequently mistaken for a faculty member.

I hated it.

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Then, around week four, something happened.  I got used to being on my feet for so long. I realized I was really good at professional level cooking.  I stopped caring what people thought of me.  I looked forward to my classes.  I began to think the whole Culinary School thing might work out for me after all!

One thing I never doubted was what type of food I wanted to cook.  I wanted to prepare glorious, adventurous food made from fresh local and seasonal ingredients.  That meant working at an independently owned, fine dining restaurant.

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In Cincinnati, there are many exciting new fine dining restaurants in the Over the Rhine area downtown.  In June, I was lucky to find an apprentice position in one of them.  Thus began my true journey…

That’s enough for tonight, I think.  I hope I’ve left you anxious to hear more!!

I’ve missed you all, and hope you’ve missed me a little too.

More tomorrow….



24 thoughts on “My Brilliant Culinary Career

  1. MsSopia says:

    Best of luck on your new adventure. I am envious of your get up and go!

  2. andy1076 says:

    Welcome back 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Welcome back Deborah! I’ve missed you! I can’t wait to hear more about your adventure!

  4. Joy says:

    Awesome – what a great new adventure!

  5. Welcome back! I think in everyone reinvents themselves several times during a lifetime. If you aren’t doing that, then you are not growing! I admire the stamina of cooking full time. I don’t think I could do it. Go girl!

  6. It is so lovely to see you posting. Welcome back.
    I am so sorry about the passing of your friend. I know how much that can hurt, and that we do heal. So sorry.
    What a culinary adventure you are on. Can’t wait to hear more. Penny

    • Thank you for your condolences. I’m still grieving. I don’t know what I would have done without my “adventure.” It’s been challenging, fun and funny! I know my late friend would be (and is!) greatly amused by my antics!!

  7. I’m glad you are back. Looking forward to hearing more. So deeply sorry to hear about your friend. What a gift you’ve given yourself to celebrate her life with. I’m sure it would delight her.

  8. I think it would! I used to cook dinner for her many nights, and she was a faithful reader of my blog. A true friend!! 🙂

  9. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on MrMilitantNegro™.

  10. I did wonder what you had got up to. Glad to hear it was something challenging and inspirational. I am curious, though–what initially caused the instructors etc to be so dismissive? Was it–er, ahem-your apparent age? Regarding bees, leaving them alone can be good for them. A lesson for us all….

    • I am sure my -er, ahem- apparent age had something to do with it, although probably not as much as the fact that I flounced in, bejeweled, carrying a giant Louis Vuitton bag, having virtually no idea what Culinary School actually entailed. I did have a vague notion that cooking was somehow involved… 🙂

  11. Lori D says:

    Congrats on your new adventure. So sorry for the loss of your friend. happy cooking!

  12. betsydaley says:

    DDL, Not sure if this reply will work. We’ll see! I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your friend, such a tough loss, so extremely hard to bear. And now to hear that it spurred you on to a big new challenge is so inspiring. The intense culinary school experience sounds really great. Do you intend to open a restaurant – or be employed in one? I would LOVE to come dine with you!!! and to hang out and catch up . . So glad to see the blog again . . . have really missed it. XOXO B ​

  13. Roxanne says:

    Where do you find the time! I had just started following your bee notes about 6mo ago after taking some bee classes and looking for any other info I could. 9 months ago I decided to leave the city and a 38 year career of cosmetics behind and purchased 60 acres in north raise bees and a few goats . Well after trying several fences because I didn’t believe it when someone told me if water can get through a goat can to, we now have our fencing done .I have gone over board on the goats. So many breeds to choose from . I now have 13 beautiful Nigerian dwarf and 10 boar goats a larger breed . Just because I like both of the breeds doesn’t me you should put them together but I did and it is working ok.Then I needed some guard animals and got 2 Great Pyrenees puppies that like to play more than train and also 2 lamas that I found out after purchasing that they may be pregnant and now have a beautiful little baby. But the fact remains I still haven’t got any bees yet . Can’t wait to try some of your honey recepies. Congrats on your new endeavor ,God walks with us through all are trials and tribulations if we let him! Roxanne

  14. Dave says:

    Deborah…I too, enrolled in culinary school at the age of 48…second oldest person in the class. You will, or have learned that the life of a professional chef is grueling. However you will be able to cook anything better than what you can eat in most restaurants but it kind of spoils the dining out thing. Good luck and always have the back of the cook next to you…it’s kitchen law.

  15. Kathleen SIlvey says:

    So glad you are back- you were missed! My condolences for your loss and my best wishes for your new adventure!

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