Having taken the Food and Beverage and Professional Cooking programs, I learned a lot about the basics of cooking. We were taught all aspects of cooking such as hygiene and sanitation, history and culture of food, from meat to fish to vegetables and anything imaginable that had the slightest relation to our course.
Though I had never cooked prior to culinary school, I worked in the front of house for my father’s bakery as well as in a high end restaurant that hired me right out of my Food and Beverage Service internship. This is what pushed me forward to go into culinary school.
After graduating, I wanted to learn more, specifically about the different cuts of meat and how they are prepared thus pursuing the Retail Butchery program. Being of Italian descent, brought me back to the traditions of charcuterie making that had been lost to most of my immediate family. With my father owning a bakery, he showed me that there is a demand and potential sales of this type of artisanal product.
Now in the twentieth week of this course, I’ve worked on a large variety of meats, much more than I ever expected. From veal to chicken as well as salmon, we’ve prepared roasts, chops, steaks, and my personal favourite, broken down quarter carcasses of beef. I’ve done a lot of repetitive work on the same cuts of meat that have helped me improve my knife skills and correct errors on previous attempts. In class, I’ve used plenty of tools and equipment that helped facilitate the operations for cutting meat, and doing so safely, such as the bandsaw, tenderizers, scimitars, bone saws and mesh gloves. Having some previous experience using knives, I was surprised at how different cutting with a mesh glove was. I had to relearn how to maneuver with my knife and adjust to a different approach for cutting meat that was very different from cutting vegetables.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Butchery course with its hands-on approach and have had a successful first internship, where I plan to work after finishing this course.