Well friends, if you would like tips on how to make a year disappear in a heartbeat, I have many to share!
In 2017 I had a thought one day that it would be great fun to go to culinary school. Alas, I live in a rural town, making attending culinary school rather challenging. I looked around for programs and discovered that most were at least six months long and located in urban cores. Being an online entrepreneur, I then turned to the internet, to see what sorts of options were out there. One program out of the US looked somewhat promising, but unfortunately it had an internship component.
An internship would be ideal, if my end goal was to work in the food and hospitality industry, however my goal was to
gain weight create more delicious food for ourselves, friends and family. Working nights and weekends at an internship, in addition to my day job, was not an option.
Thank goodness I kept looking.
I found the ideal solution in the form of Rouxbe Online Cooking School. (Referral Link) It is 100% based online! Being based online has quite a few advantages. For starters, it means that I can actually attend without quitting my job and moving!
I Thought This Was a Wine Website?
Indeed it is. It will continue to be, don’t worry. But wine goes with food oh so very well.
In fact, I have already been able to draw extensively upon my knowledge of wine to better understand the composition of dishes, like the relationship between acid and fat in creating a balanced salad.
My Interim Review of Rouxbe Online Cooking School’s Professional Cook Certification
Thus far I have had a few light bulb moments around cooking, for example the importance of keeping temperatures from swinging wildly. The reason you add hot stock to a risotto is to keep it cooking quickly and avoid the grains gelling up from the cool down process. Simple, yes, but there are many examples like that where little tidbits turn you into an overall better cook. Often I don’t find any one lesson full of difficult ideas to grasp, but over the past 2 months the information and new skills have built up and built up to a point where I can state with 100% certainty that I have learned a lot of useful culinary skills and knowledge.
Rouxbe has found a way to teach culinary essential skills online, including knife skills. There are all sorts of observational exercises and straight up exercises, like cutting carrots into all of the classic knife cuts. There’s lessons about ingredient quality, core techniques, advanced techniques, specialty diet modifications like gluten-free, low-sodium and plant based and it covers the whole gamut from breakfast to dessert.
How do they evaluate things? This is a cooking school and they won’t be able to taste things! Skills are assessed using photographic submissions, written descriptions of the flavour profiles, some written submissions, labeling diagrams, putting steps in the correct order, multiple choice quizzes for every unit and Black Box Assignments. Black Box Assignments give you specific types of ingredients and techniques and challenge you to create a dish that features those requirements, highlighting your skills. You may need to utilize several knife cuts, for example, or cook a protein with a moist-heat method.
One huge advantage of Rouxbe being primarily a video-based course is that they show you why and “what wrong looks like”! What does a hollandaise sauce look like when it’s right about to split? They show you! What sound does pan frying make if your pan is too hot? It’s in the video! It is unlikely that in a classroom setting you would have the opportunity to learn from multiple incorrect outcomes, as they happen in real time. Sure, someone in your class may make an error, but you won’t know what it looked like right before the point of no return, when there was still an opportunity to save the dish.
Another concern that I had was whether or not the class would be too easy or too difficult. I feel like on the low end, someone coming in should have normal cooking skills. On the upper end, a self-taught very good home cook, a unofficially trained cook in a restaurant, or someone with bits and pieces of formal education would still benefit greatly from this. Alternatively someone who has stepped away from the culinary world for a decent length of time and would like to brush up on their skills would also get a lot of value out of the course. It really does have you practice core skills and understand the science behind various actions.
You Might Not be a Good Fit If:
- You struggle to set and maintain your own schedule, to complete the course on time
- You can’t find approximately 15 hours per week to work on the course
- Your budget won’t allow additional spending on groceries for the course
- You don’t have access to a reliable internet connection that can stream videos
- You have severe allergies. In most cases substitutes can be made. However, if you are unable to touch eggs, for example, the Professional Cook Certification course is likely not an option, though please do reach out to them to see which options are available. There is also a Plant Based Professional course they offer which may be a better fit!
You Would Be a Good Fit If:
- You are working a full time job and need to fit education in around your hours
- You are a food blogger looking to up their game
- You are interested in a Plant Based diet but not sure what to eat (there’s an entire certification of Plant Based Professional Cook)
- You want to change up what you’re eating by cooking a whole host of assignments
- You have a small business and want to show your qualifications to clients, ie an in-home catering business
At this point I highly recommend the Rouxbe Professional Cook Certification and if you are keen, the referral link will save you at least $75 off the course cost (occasionally there are specials where it is an even greater discount). As I progress further through the course I will be adding more review details, stay tuned.0