Taking the plunge

On our first official day of class, we were told to arrive at 8:30 am at the latest. It has been awhile since I had a first day of school, so naturally I did not sleep well. My mind was racing as it did a mental checklist of all of the items I needed to bring to class....apron check, chef coat and pants check, index cards check etc. As I was terrified that some sort of NYC metro construction would delay my train, I opted to walk. The city street are so peaceful in the morning, no tourists, many of the shops are still closed and you feel, just for a minute, like you are the only person in Manhattan. It was a peaceful 40 minute walk and helped mentally prepare myself.

I arrived at 7:30 am armed with my backpack loaded with a bizarre assortment of 'culinary school supplies': chef uniform (chef coat, chef pants, neckerchief, apron, kitchen towel, hat and kitchen shoes); large water bottle; first aid kit (band-aids, neosporin, gauze, aspirin, Tylenol); deodorant; granola/nutrition bars; index cards and pen/sharpie. Despite the calming walk I was still nervous and had some time to kill, so opted to have a coffee at the nearby Starbucks.

After my coffee I made my way to the corner of Broadway and Grand where L'Ecole restaurant sits, the walk sign changed to walk, but I just stood there and let the crowd of people brush past me. I look appraising at the building that was to be my new home for the next 7 months and I remembered the first time I discovered FCI.

It was 5 years ago, and I was on a girls trip to New York and came to L'Ecole to dine for dinner. My friends and I loved the food and they mentioned to the waitor that I was an aspiring chef, so the hostess arranged a tour of the school after dinner. I fell in love with the student kitchens lined with industrial grade ovens, stoves and fridges; the cookbook library with floor to ceiling cookbooks and magazines; and french curriculum. At the end of the tour, they gave me a fake chef hat, business card for admission and a box of matches bearing the name L'Ecole, at the end of the tour.

So at the corner of Broadway and Grand, the same corner where I rushed out of a cab 5 years ago with 3 of my closest girlfriends, I took a deep breath, fiddled with a very worn box of matches and crossed the street to begin my life in the kitchen.