On Friday, my husband Chris graduated from culinary school! He received a certificate with honors from L’Academie de Cuisine’s Professional Culinary Arts Program. He also received a Presidents’ Award for never missing a day of class or being late.
The ceremony itself was short, succinct, and personal. Even though Chris was graduating with two other classes, the groups were so small that everyone got to walk across the stage and shake the professors’ hands. The Presidential Awardees also got a hug from the founder and director of the school, Chef Francois Dionot. As he doesn’t seem like a very “huggy” person, it was quite sweet. The commencement speaker was Scott Drewno, the head chef from The Source. He commented that the two most important words in a cook’s vocabulary are “Yes, Chef.”
Needless to say, I’m very proud of my husband. Although I would be proud of him graduating from any program, I feel particularly invested in this accomplishment. The first formal meal that Chris prepared for anyone was chicken kiev with roasted potatoes for our first anniversary, all the way back in high school. Two years later, I gave him his first cookbook, Alton Brown’s “I’m Just Here for the Food.” When we moved to England so I could attend graduate school, he worked in his first independent restaurant job. Even though it was a small lunch café, he was able to work under a French-trained chef. Throughout it all, he’s discovered both his own talent and love for food. It’s rare that you can see the evolution of a passion, and I’ve been privileged to be a part of it.
And yet, his graduation is just another step. He decided to go to culinary school because he wanted to learn the “classical” methods of preparing food, as opposed to everyone else’s take on them. Although this knowledge is certainly helping him in his current position at a very fine dining restaurant, it also allows him a certain amount of independence. Now that he knows the classical methods, he can develop his own twists on them, no longer needing to rely on others’ styles. As I’ve eaten his food at home, I can tell you that some of those interpretations are better than others, but they all have potential. He’s a long way from running his own place, but this education will certainly be a foundational piece.
Or in other words, congrats to my love!