When Danielsan is waxing cars, or painting fences, catching flies with chopsticks, it’s easy to understand his frustration. What on EARTH does this have anything to do with learning karate? A young culinary student with a stern chef often has the same pan throwing frustrations. Ok, so my julienne isn’t perfect, if he asks me one more time the french word for a shallow poaching liquid (cuisson by the way) I’m gonna set my apron on fire, I’m a first year!! What gives?!? Just like Mr.Miyagi having him paint fences, it all comes together. Aw crap this recipe is for 15 pounds and I only need 3, and I have an hour to prep my mise, ohhhhhhhhhh ok. Touche chef, touche.
The first two days of Culinary II were to say at the least a gauntlet. Day one, a 120 word vocabulary test, recipe conversion test, and a culinary math test. Day two, a 60-70 question essay answer test on preparations of stocks, sauces, principles of cooking techniques, and basically the servsafe managers final. After that a timed practical to Prepare a veloute, a french omelet, fillet a flounder, butcher a chicken, and a hollandaise. I’m not exaggerating. Not only was the completion of the tasks graded, but the quality of the completion. I literally lost a point on my french omelet for a white spot, and I thanked him for it. Too many culinary students walk out with a diploma and a chip on their shoulder and start at a kitchen and get crushed. Some never recover. Our class however imperfect we may be, we have an internal standard that is somewhere in the atmosphere where oxygen gets slim.
Just like Mr. Miyagi was trying to teach Danielsan Karate, He was also trying to teach him modesty, humility, and character. Characteristics I think are extremely rare in Chefs these days. When you walk into a kitchen after culinary school, the chef could care less if you have this grand idea for a blueberry butter over sou vide sole with a unicorn sauce. That’s the chefs turf. What WILL impress a chef is can you julienne a pepper, can you convert a recipe in your head or in a flash. Can you perform basic tasks without it being explained 15 times. THIS is what the miyagi method is all about. It doesn’t just teach you how to do something. It teaches you to think critically for your self in times without instruction.
That my friends is true education. Birds chuck their young from the nest for a reason. The world is an unforgiving cruel machine, and coddling is only hurting you in the long run. No matter how much your arms get tired from painting fences, or hollandaise. Bon Appetit