My first week of culinary school at Ducasse Education has left my mind spinning and my feet throbbing. Adjusting to a new type of work and different rhythm of life were just two of the challenges.
On the first day of class, I felt as if I was learning to walk again–try to imagine a big baby with a giant chef’s knife in her hand. It was a bit terrifying. When I looked up from my chopping board, I saw nine other students with eyes wide open trying to find their legs in the kitchen. I was not alone in my experience.
I am with my brigade. We are learning to work together, communicate and give each other a hand as we carry out the many complex tasks that each day throws us. From stirring the pot to mopping the floor, culinary school and working in a kitchen is not an individual experience.
As the chef instructor tells us to cook with all our senses and not follow the recipe too closely, all the members of the brigade are all working together to reshape our way of seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and hearing. We are relearning ourselves through food.
This course was a big success last fall so we have decided to run it again. Some of the highlights during our trip to Québec last year included having dinner at Côté Est with culinary artisans in Kamouraska, wrestling eels, lunch at Touqué in Montréal (including meeting Normand Laprise, touring the kitchen, and a surprise visit from sommelier François Chartier), a roundtable discussion on Québecois cuisine at McGill University, and late-night bagels at St. Viateur.
This is a graduate-level course that is open to BU and non-BU students. Exceptional undergraduates will also be considered. Culture and Cuisine of Québec counts as 4-credits (72 credit hours) of graduate course work that should be transferable to most American and Canadian universities. It is a great course for those interested in Canadian culture, history, cuisine and foodways. There is an emphasis on experiential learning and student engagement in all activities.
The course work portion can be taken on line and there will be a week-long trip to Québec from Oct. 5-13, 2013
Course Description: MET ML 639EL Culture & Cuisine: Québec
Moving beyond the stereotypes of poutine and maple syrup, this course will explore the rich contemporary and historical foodscapes of Québec. The cuisine of this predominantly French-speaking area of Canada has been marked by the lasting legacies of French, British and a variety of immigrant cultures. The result is a combination of fascinating traditions and some of the most exciting new culinary trends in the Northeast—from ice cider to head-to-tail eating. This course will look at questions of identity politics, heritage preservation and the development of sustainable local food systems, as well as the everyday culture and life of this unique Canadian province. Offered in a blended format, class will meet once a month face-to-face (optional – on-line format available for distance students) before and after a weeklong trip to Québec City, Montréal and surrounding rural areas. While in Québec, students will have a chance to meet farmers, artisans and culinary professionals and engage in a number of hands-on activities. Our guide in during the trip will be renowned Québecois food and wine journalistRémy Charest.
This week I am with my Culture and Cuisine of Québec class explore the foodways of the ‘belle province’. Experiential learning meets ethnography on this week-long gastronomical journey of discovery. It is all about being here.