October 16, 2014
Posted in: Culinary Arts

Reflecting On My Time During Culinary School

By: Ryan Hodros, Culinary Arts Student

I was originally going to write this article about the stress of changing jobs.  You see, I put in my four weeks’ notice at 303 Magazine and will begin working at 5280 Magazine as an intern/fact checker/(maybe) writer, and that transition has caused a great deal of undue stress, and my grand plan was to write about coping with that stress.  Instead, in the process of writing this article, I decided to take it in a different direction.

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It’s unfair to point at my change of job and say “There’s the culprit!  He’s what’s causing all this stress!  Get him!”  I also covered GABF, arguably the biggest beer festival in the country, at the start of the month.  I transitioned from Chef Jean-Claude to Chef Eric, which my regular readers might know is also a source of stress for me.  We’re also redecorating our apartment, the holidays are sprinting towards us, and (because we’re in the last block of Culinary) the end of my schooling is zooming up even faster.

So yeah, the change of job is simply one member of the Change Gang that’s been beating me up lately.  On the one hand, change is good—the new job is a step up in a difficult field to break into, and I’ll be working for the food desk of a renowned magazine in this area.  Chef Eric is an amazing butcher, a great teacher, and a talented chef, and I’m learning a lot from him.  GABF was a lot of fun, and I got to meet back up with some of my friends in the beer industry from the Denver-Boulder-Louisville area, as well as meeting new people from around the country.

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But the siren’s call of my couch is getting harder and harder to ignore.  The four or five hours of sleep I’ve been getting on a daily basis is starting to take its toll on me, and paired with the onset of Fall, I’m pretty sure I (along with everyone else) am getting sick.

So what do you do?  When changes pile higher and higher on your shoulders, how exactly do you carry them?  Can’t exactly dump them—chances are some of the changes in your life are going to eventually lead you to more fulfilling and exciting opportunities than the ones you currently have.  But if it runs you down and you wind up at the doctor’s office, what’s the point?

I find the struggles that walk hand-in-hand with change to be part of the fun.  Sure, the next three-and-a-half weeks are going to be stressful, and my first days at my new job are going to be difficult, but if there was no challenge, it wouldn’t feel as good when I succeed.

That’s wonderful, but how do I cope in the meantime?

It was at this point in writing my first draft that I realized I’m doing it right now.  This blog has kept me going throughout the last few months, allowing me to vent moments of weakness, celebrate moments of triumph, reminisce with old friends, and discuss issues I find important with great people.  This blog has been my sounding board, forcing me to revisit each week and pick it apart, as well as look at aspects of the culinary industry and analyze it as best I can.

I started this blog during my externship period more or less because I feel that Auguste Escoffier has opened a number of doors for me that would have otherwise would have remained closed, and I wanted to pay something back.  But now, I’ve grown to rely on it as a way to keep myself from going bonkers in a high stress industry.

Six Months Into Culinary School 4

Generally, I try to write on subjects regarding chefs and the food industry, but I wanted to take this one small opportunity to thank both the school and its administration, as well as any and all readers that have kept this blog going over the past seven months.  I’ll never stop singing the praises of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, whose faculty and staff got me started in the food journalism industry.  I’ll keep writing this blog as long as people keep reading it.

Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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