Le Cordon Bleu

Before leaving for my new student orientation, I ironed my deliberate bleu fitted French-cuffed hidden-button-up from Le Château and my Giordano’s slacks—what I thought would be rather casual. When I arrived I was definitely over-dressed. Everyone else, including their parents, was dressed in street clothes. Needless to say, I felt a little self-conscious. After checking in, we were herded into the school’s fine dining restaurant and café where we were able to snack on pastries and partake (or not partake) of the coffee bar. While we waited to be led to the kitchens where we would meet our chef instructors, I struck up a conversation with a mid-aged Korean man named Michael who turned out to be in my Diploma program and morning schedule. Soon after, our instructors arrived—one Chinese, one American, and one French— straight from Paris. The campus President gave a rather long discourse and then released us to our instructors who led us to one of the industrial-style kitchen labs. After hearing all of the instructors speak, I was happy to learn that my instructor would be Chef Guillard—the Frenchman who seemed so much more professional and credible. Come on, he’s French!

After the orientation meeting with our individual instructors we were carted through the campus to “orient” us with resources available to the students. We received our access cards, uniforms, and tool kits. I left home that morning with a simple moleskin and pen and came home with literally thousands of dollars worth of professional baking tools and knifes. All of it fits in a gargantuan black bag I have to cart to class everyday.

After going through the goodies with the family back at home, we left for the outdoor outlet mall. Without the need of anything really, I just enjoyed the weather and allowed my mom to buy me a new pair of summer jeans for my birthday. We enjoyed some Vietnamese food at yet another great restaurant for lunch and some frozen yogurt with fresh fruit. On our way home we stopped at Chinatown so my parents could re-live their Hong Kong days and haggle with the vendors for some good produce. I couldn’t understand my dad as he and my mom were practically yelling but smiling at the vendors seeking only the freshest shrimp and live crab. It was hilarious! That night, Hunter and I prepared the shrimp—tempura style—and learned how to prepare perfectly steamed crab from my mom. We ate like kings and queens that night.

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