Today concludes week 1 of my culinary externship.
Damn, what a week.
With class work completed, I must now log 300 hours – with a maximum of 30 per week credited-of externship in order to graduate. That can occur via a number of scenarios.
My classmates have a marginally sane approach to this process. Find a kitchen job, have a supervisor sign off for paid working hours. No problem.
I, alternately, said “I WANNA GO TO THE FARMS, AND A RESTAURANT, AND HELP PREP FOR A SUICIDE MISSION OF AN EVENT! THIS WILL BE GREAT!!” (Without the yelling, my little-kid-enthusiasm just won’t come through – )
To translate: I opted to be part of a group helping a premiere Texas chef prepare for and operate a food booth at Austin City Limits Music Festival, as well as work on a local farm and in their kitchen, and log hours in a restaurant.
I am officially a crazy person.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday I logged a total of 27 hours helping unload, prep, cook, process, package and reload for storage nearly 2700 pounds of chicken and 3000 pounds of pork.
Other students also helped make sauces and dressings. We seasoned, roasted, sliced, chopped, vacuum sealed, and cleaned in 8 to 12 hour shifts. It was insanity personified. But we were so badass further prep was unnecessary and so cancelled. The next 2 weekends I will work the festival booth in 8 hour shifts.
Monday and Tuesday I returned to Bernhardt’s Fruit and Veggie farm. There, I helped make kim chi, sauerkraut and kale chips, then picked, sorted, washed and packaged produce of all kinds to ready them for today’s farmer’s markets. Next week, we make jellies. Again I say, consider the long hours of hard physical labor that go into every piece of produce you buy at a local market, into every dish on every quality menu you see. I assure you, your dollars are well spent.
Though not yet assless, I have worked enough to be well on my way. I am bruised, cut, blistered, and moving like an octogenarian in the mornings. Week 1 is behind me. And you know what? THIS IS GREAT!