Food Studies: Meet Christine, Studying at New York City's French Culinary Institute

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Food Studies: Meet Christine, Studying at New York City's French Culinary Institute Food Studies: Meet Christine, Studying at New York City's French Culinary Institute
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Food Studies: Meet Christine, Studying at New York City's French Culinary Institute

by Christine Byrne

February 26, 2011

So, I started at New York City’s French Culinary Institute in October 2010, almost immediately after graduating from Northwestern University with a creative writing degree.  Initially, my goal in completing the Classic Culinary Arts program was to gain more insight into the world of food and cooking so as to eventually become a credible food writer or food historian.

I chose FCI because of its great reputation in the industry, and because it was shorter and more intensive than other courses (my program is three nights a week and lasts nine months). I wanted a curriculum that would teach me the basics without keeping me in a classroom for too long. To supplement the formal culinary program, I am interning in a restaurant kitchen here in the city, which is proving to be an entirely different education. I am simultaneously humbled and inspired by the never-ending process of professional cooking.

Back to the initial question: I chose to go to culinary school not to become a professional cook, but because food is my passion, and because food is essential and interesting and limitless. What culinary school has taught me, though—besides the basic ingredient ratios for mayonnaise, the difference between a jardinière and a julienne, and the massive amount of work that goes into making puff pastry—is that I enjoy the process as much as the end result.  Cooking is work, no doubt, but the opportunity to be constantly creating something makes that work seem worthwhile.

Why I chose to go to culinary school is irrelevant. Now I go to culinary school because, first and foremost, I want to be a cook.

To be continued... Christine is a student blogger for the Food Studies feature on GOOD's Food hub. Don't miss fellow Food Studies blogger Erin's self-introduction last week, and if you're a food or agriculture student who would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer blogger, we'd love to hear from you! You can email me, Nicola Twilley, at nicola[at]goodinc[dot]com.

All photos by the author.

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