I suppose I consider myself a flexitarian. Vegetarian most hours of the day, but always willing to expose my tastebuds to something other than what I know. That is, if it feels right.
Growing up in an Indian household, I was exposed to the smell of fresh mustard seeds toasting in the pan, the soothing hand-feel of smooth chappati dough, and lots of chillies! No one was allowed to leave home without nourishment. Food, as I understood it then, translated into love.
Student Claudia Catalano presents her daily experiences in the BU Gastronomy culinary lab on her new blog.
Since I began pursuing my MLA in Gastronomy in 2012, I’ve always dreamed of taking the Culinary Lab. I’m a good home cook, but I’ve never been formally trained in proper French technique, food safety, how to perfect timing, or how to cook for big crowds. Yet for the past two and a half years, I would make excuses about how impractical it would be to enroll. It’s a big commitment, but I finally decided in December that I would be full of regret if I didn’t include the lab as part of my Gastronomy degree. So I took a leave of absence from my job (yikes!) and now spend 4 days a week, from 10:30 AM to 6:oo PM, at 808 Commonwealth Avenue, the home of the BU Gastronomy program.
What a fulfilling way to be spending my time. Not only am I being introduced to professional cooking techniques, but I also have the privilege of learning from 21 well-respected chefs who will be teaching the program this semester. Michael Leviton of Lumiere, Mary Ann Esposito of PBS, Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother, and Jeremy Sewall of Island Creek Oyster Bar are just a few of the talented instructors with whom I will work during the 14-week class. And, of course, there is the much-anticipated 2-day segment taught by the program’s co-founder, Jacques Pépin. What a thrill!
As part of the course assignments, I am required to keep a daily journal of my class experiences. I have decided to treat mine as a blog, which you can view here: www.thegastronomyfiles.com. If you’re thinking about enrolling in the Culinary Lab, this is an inside view. Take a look and you may decide to make your dream a reality, too.
The Culinary Lab is offered each semester and meets Monday through Thursday from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM. Besides counting as elective credits in the Gastronomy MLA program, students who successfully complete the lab receive a Certificate in Culinary Arts from Boston University.