Friday, September 10, 2010

It's Not Easy Becoming a Self Trained Chef

The name, “Self Trained Chef” may suggest that I’m already “Trained” to be a chef. But I assure you that is not the case at all –as my husband pointed out to me the other night, “Honey, you’re still in training”. Ha! What does he know about food anyway, right?

So how am I going to become a Self Trained Chef? I think I’m going to tackle this project in a multitude of ways. The first assignment I gave myself was to hijack a few Culinary Arts Textbooks from a student in desperate need of a little cash. I found Erika on Craigslist; she’s a current Culinary student. We met at Starbucks where I proceeded to trade her pennies on the dollar for three beautiful Culinary Textbooks. I also felt it necessary to tell her how insanely jealous I was that she was attending one of the most expensive Culinary Arts School without me. I think she found that statement weird, and only responded with “Thank goodness for Grants”. Where the heck were MY grants when I applied to Culinary School?

Anyway, I digress. So I purchased these three amazing Culinary textbooks and my first impression was that 1) All the recipes use a funny measuring system like Quarts, and Ounces instead of Cups and Teaspoons 2) Many recipes, and many broths are made with a three vegi concoction called Mirepoix. I must get to the bottom of both this new conversion system and culinary term. I have a feeling all my pre-conceived notions about food are about to be shattered.

The first Culinary textbook recipe I tackled was a “simple” tomato sauce. I also found that nothing in a Culinary textbook is “simple”. One ingredient in the tomato sauce recipe called for:

Mirepoix 1 lb. 8oz. 750 grams

Umm, what the heck is this Mirepoix, and why do they need so much of it? Apparently Mirepoix is a mixture of diced onions, celery and carrots. As I read online on many websites, the fancy name comes from the renowned chef Charles du Mirepoix who coined the mixture as Mirepoix. Believe it or not, I found a whole webpage dedicated to Fun facts and trivia for Mirepoix: This funny to me.

Besides the weird volume conversions, and an array of new terminology, I think the Culinary Textbooks were a good buy in my pursuit of my becoming a “Self Trained Chef”.

In addition to the Culinary Textbooks, I’ll be using the internet, YouTube and asking Chef’s and other foodies around town for advice on improving my culinary skills.

The end goal in all this is to share my findings online through videos and this blog to help other aspiring “Self Trained Chef’s” have an additional resource to also become educated in the Culinary Arts!

Let the adventure begin!

Mandy Lea Turchin


  1. Hey I know something about food :)

  2. YAY for a new blog!! I am excited to follow along with you! :)

  3. So nice to meet you this weekend! I can't wait to see where the blog takes you :-)

  4. Thanks for following Hollie! Beth, it was wonderful meeting you too - very excited to see where this blog take me. Thanks for your support.

  5. I totally am in the same boat as you Mandy Lea. I have no money to go to culinary school, but there are a lot of community colleges that offer great programs for next to nothing. Good luck!

  6. I'm so glad you found me on Twitter! I'm definitely self-trained and I'm always in search of the next thing :)

    My dream is to go to culinary school, but I just don't think its in the cards for me anytime soon.

  7. Is that a red "delicious" apple? Grooosss!

  8. I'm from New Orleans, and I'm a culinary fanatic! I don't believe that attending culinary school is for least not for me. I believe that you have to truly hunger for the knowledge and just place yourself around the enviroment and you will pick it up.

  9. I'm from The Bahamas and I'm a culinary fanatic!

  10. Fantastic Lookingforward to reading this as work has decided that they will no longer let me take classes I have to go it alone