Thursday, July 30, 2009

Winding Down

We're in the final countdown now. As of this Monday there was exactly one month left of school. Going into Bauman I had no idea what to expect. Would this be a "real" culinary program? It certainly isn't as well known as the CCA, Cordon Bleu, or myriad other professional cooking schools out there. I did what research I could, including an open house, web search, and careful read of all the school's materials. But honestly I had no idea what was to come the day I walked in that door.

Now, with five months of hindsight, would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY. No doubt whatsoever. Why? While I haven't received a traditional culinary experience (we had only one day of working with "meat," in our case only poultry), I have learned a ton. This has been a real education in how to make the type of food people should be eating; food that's not only delicious, but also healthy. Beyond the culinary skills, I feel extremely lucky to have a wonderful cast of characters as my costudents -- everyone from a former chef at Esalen, to my cauliflower-loving high-tech working carpooler, to a former physical therapist. Plus, as I've asked around in the food industry I've heard only good things about Bauman.

While I'm counting down the last days of class with a sense of sadness (there won't be a next year to look forward to like in grade school), the fact that the end is in sight is also somewhat of a relief. Just as I discovered this is a "real" program, I also realized the demands weren't trivial. Quite a few of my classmates are not working. My long work + class days have been exhausting at times. But I don't have it nearly as bad as some of my working classmates who are also commuting an hour+ each way to school.

What has been my biggest surprise in school? Probably that I like baking! I always considered myself more into cooking than baking, but I've found myself volunteering for more and more baking recipes, and realized that many of my blog postings have been baking related as well. This week, when I made the class' dessert (an almond torte with chocolate and raspberry sauce) I mentioned to everyone that I've never been into baking. They all said they'd gotten the impression it was my thing.

When this is done what's next? Spain! I have my flight booked. It's a trip planned around a dinner (thanks to my friend's El Bulli reservation... a meal at the world's #1 restaurant, what could be more appropriate for culinary school graduation?). I'm also hoping to take a cooking class in Barcelona, and do a food tour through the city. When I get back, I'll have about 40 internship hours to complete before I receive official certification as a Natural Chef, but I have six months to do those.

These last few weeks have been busier than usual, with a final project to prepare and showcase meal to plan. My final project subject is cooking for individuals with lactose intolerance, and I'll have the "awful" homework tomorrow night of testing a goat cheese cheesecake recipe I plan on preparing for the class (goat milk dairy is often easier to digest for those who have difficulty with cows milk). Because of the packed schedule, I've had less time to update photos and add recipes recently. But I plan on posting new favorite recipes soon, including the almond torte and a really flavorful fresh green bean and corn saute with chile powder and lime.


  1. Hi Shoshana,

    What a thrill to hear that your previously dormant baking skills have risen to the surface. I'll be the first to place an order of assorted cupcakes!

    A. Nancy

  2. Hard to believe your program is almost over. I am selfishly looking forward to you being done with school!

  3. Hi Shoshana,

    I'm so glad your experience at Bauman has been a good one! I am interested in the Nutrition Educator/Consultant program. Like you, months ago, I am trying to figure out whether Bauman's nutrition program is a "real" program. Do you know of any current students in this program I could talk to? Or have you heard any opinions about the nutrition program in general? At this point, even a "yay" or "nay" would be most helpful.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can provide me. My email is

    By the way, nice blog! Your recipes make my mouth water!


  4. How did you get into El Bulli? I'm so jealous I could spit!!!!! And I don't even know you! lol My boyfriend and I are planning our future honeymoon around that restaurant!
    Have fun and dine well!!!!!
    Katie Rolston

  5. Hi Shoshana,
    I just sort of accidently found your blog but am finding it very interesting. I live in San Diego but would love to figure out a way to attend the Natural Chef program at Bauman. I love hearing about your experience.
    Thanks for doing this.