Somehow I've found myself back in Seattle, but now that I'm in school proper, it's just for the weekend this time. It's been a super long and crazy week, which included, aside from starting school: happily hosting my friends from Brooklyn while they played a show in Portland; playing a song in their show on my violin which I literally haven't touched in ages; having a blast and deciding to play with them again for their show in Seattle tonight (which went great!); going to dinner at Vindalho with the lovely folks from PortlandFood.org and meeting a bunch of fellow Portland foodies; getting dental work; seeing Bonnie at a show at North Bar while she was in town from Tokyo; and various and sundry things I'm forgetting at this late hour.
With all this nuttiness, I'm happy to report that school today was a blast by all standards and measures. We worked on knife skills with the chef's knives from our fancy new Mercer kits, and I discovered that I'm much more comfortable with a 10-inch blade than I thought I would be. I've always employed 8-inch chef's knives (or my mom's 7-inch Global Santoku, droooool...), starting from my very first Sabatier starter set to the Wustof Classic chef's knife that I have now. The Mercer 10-inch, however, is very well balanced and feels swift in my hand. It also helps that I'm surrounded by professionals who care as well as state of the art equipment; lends to a sense of confidence about professionalism that is hard to muster in one's home kitchen by yourself.
We had lecture in the morning, and then finally got to "play" with our knives after an incredible chickpea curry lunch. We practiced slicing potatoes Batonnet-style (a wider Julienne, basically) and got some schooling on proper honing and knife care, as well as general knife etiquette in the kitchen. On the surface it sounds like minutiae, but these details are so important when it comes to safety and speed. Even remarking on details like keeping our work stations clean help tremendously with efficiency, and only after watching our awesome instructor give a knife demo did I truly begin to gain respect for all those tiny details.
Afterwards we practiced turning panko breading in standard sauté pans, which was a fun mess--panko all over the floor. As a result of this practice, I'm now certain I need to get back to the gym. My hands were literally shaking after 15 minutes of gentle tossing. Getting back into shape is essential; even being on my feet in those clogs is kicking my ass.
Gotta say though, it's been a fantastic week and I haven't felt this focused in a long, long time. Bed for now, more tomorrow...