My College Experience (day 2) *Knife Skills*

So here’s an update on what happened yesterday;

I walked into class feeling chipper since I wasn’t late even though I was close! (You will find out why on Daily Post #1.) I said “good morning” to the people who were already in the kitchen (to find out why I am in a kitchen and not a classroom I explain in the beginning of my Monday Madness post.) and I see ‘C’. (Remember her?) She doesn’t respond and just gives me a look of disgust (whaaat?!) which made me feel a bit bewildered as the last time I saw her she was was all smiles and nice while making off with one of my shopping bags from home (because I was nice enough to help her out) and saying “see you next week” as she got on the bus. But today things seemed to have changed…

I look on the work area she is standing at and I notice the bag I gave her filled with her stuff still. (Odd…) “Did your kit not fit?” (I assume that’s the reason for the bag with her stuff in and why she is wearing a disposable apron and hat.) “No it didn’t and I w…” (She responded this time!”) She stopped abruptly then just stared at me with the same disgusted look. (“Okay… What was she gonna say? And why does she keep looking at me like that?”) Before I could question her the Teacher/Chef called us to the front. (Ah damn I didn’t get a chance to change into my kit -_- I was hoping to speak to my Teacher/Chef about getting a key for a locker so I can put my stuff in during the class.)

He takes us up to a class room to go through the online work we would need to do and after him showing us what to do on the big screen and us all taking notes he decides to pick someone to come up and demonstrate what he has just shown us. (Not me… Not me. Not me!) He picks the guy that just changed courses from bricklaying to professional cookery (lets call him ‘L’) but then soon realizes he would have to climb over the table as multiple people were around and in front of him. (CRAP!) I realize I am at the end of the table and closest to the computer. (Oh… Please noooo….) He says my name and I shrink into the chair shaking my head frantically and mouthing “noooo”. That does it and he smiles and it’s confirmed I have no choice but to get up and I hear the sound of the class making a hush, sympathetic yet trying not to chuckle because I’m embarrassed “ahh aww Emma” sounds. (At least they are smiling kindly at me.)

Shortly after I demonstrated I had paid attention it was time to go back down to the kitchen and I quickly excused myself to change into my kit. I was quick to change but it took a little bit of time trying to sort my hair out. (It shouldn’t be that hard to keep my hair in a smart practical way but still be able to put a chef hat on!) By the time I get back to the kitchen my Teacher/Chef has already started and is showing everyone how to sharpen each knife. (Oops.)

I try to sneak in to the group but he notices me and announces my return by asking if I am okay. (Was I really that long trying to sort my damn hair out?!) I nod and watch him continue and he tells the class to recap what I missed – prepping and sanitizing the work space.

He then shows us what we need to prove we can do; (doesn’t have to be perfect because it’s our first proper lesson and we need proof that we gave it a try for our portfolios.)

‘French Vegetable Cuts’

 1. Julienne: (Strips)

  • Cut the vegetables into 2 cm lengths.
  • Cut the lengths into thin slices.
  • Cut the slices into thin strips.

      2. Brunoise: (Small Dice)

  • Cut the vegetables into convenient sized lengths.
  • Cut the lengths into 2mm slices.
  • Cut the slices into 2mm strips.
  • Cut the strips into 2mm Squares.

       3. Jardinière: (3mm x 3mm x 1 1/2 cm)

  • Cut the vegetables into 1 1/2 cm lengths.
  • Cut the lengths into 3mm slices.
  • Cut the slices into batons.

       4. Paysanne: (There are at least 5 accepted methods of cutting paysanne. In order to cut economically, the shape of the vegetables should decide which method to choose. All are cut thinly.)

  1. ) 1 cm sided triangles.
  2. ) 1 cm sided squares.
  3. ) 1 cm sided rounds.
  4. ) 1 cm diameter rough sided rounds.
  5. ) 1 cm sided diamonds.

5. Mirapoix: (1 cm Dice)

  • Rough cut of carrot, onion and celery.

6. Macédoine: (1/2 cm Dice)

  • Cut the vegetables into convenient lengths.
  • Cut the lengths into 1/2 cm slices.
  • Cut the slices into 1/2 cm strips.
  • Cut the strips into 1/2 cm squares.


I start with an onion (I don’t like onion) and I chop it badly! I try to do it like my Teacher/Chef showed us but I’m just doing it wrong I know it… But it’s funny how horrendous my chopping looks like and I take the piss out of myself about it which makes ‘C’ giggle. (She decided to work on my work space with me surprisingly. At least I made her giggle.)

It’s short lived. As soon as we start peeling our carrots with this weird pointy thing (pic left) that is apparently a peeler, when usually we use a different type of peeler. (Pic right.)

‘C’ gets frustrated and starts saying she can’t do it and slams the peeler on to the work surface. Surprised by her reaction to the peeler I tell her maybe she can use the Teacher/Chefs peeler as it is the one we are use to. She starts muttering to herself and I try to get on with my finely chopped celery which is looking amazing! ( If I do say so myself! It looks like  crinkled half moon shapes – shame I didn’t take a closer pic of it.)

Our Teacher/Chef comes round to see how we are getting on and if we need any help and stops at me and tells me my cuts are so good it looks professional!! (So so proud of myself!) from then on he refers to me as “Chef” 😀 and I can’t help but beam with pride and glee and I thank him. I then here a disgruntled snigger from across the work space and I look up to see ‘C’ hacking away at a carrot while still muttering to herself and then shoots me a dirty look! (If looks could kill! Or even jump across the work space and stab with a knife! -That kind of look! Shocking!)

She then exclaims that she “can’t do it”, “It’s too hard” and that “everyone can do it” but her. I try to explain that we all have strengths and weaknesses and this is our first lesson in the kitchen and that we aren’t expected to be professionals as that is the whole point of the course to become professionals at the end of it… But she wasn’t having any of it and just kept snapping at me and repeating that she can’t do it and that it’s too hard and that she wont be coming back next week! (Seriously?! Over a carrot?) I ask her why she feels that way and she  snaps at me again “I’m having a panic attack OKAY!” (Woah…)At this point I have no idea what to say because I tried to calm her down, she wasn’t having any of it. I tried to talk to her, she wasn’t having any of it. and since she was snapping I thought maybe I should just not say anything and let her sort herself out if that’s how she deals with anxiety.

I got on with my work and the Teacher/Chef managed to stop ‘C’ from leaving when she abruptly ran across the kitchen aiming for the door saying she can’t do it. Now normally it’s me that get’s stressy or anxious when it comes to certain things and I have had my fair share of meltdowns and hissy fits etc I was just amazed it wasn’t me! Also I was the only one in the class who didn’t cut their fingers! (And I’m usually the clumsy one!)

Finely chopped parsley, diced tomato & hand made herb package

We had 30 minutes left till We had to have everything complete and cleaned! All we had to do was  boil and peel a tomato, cut it, segment it, slice the pips and juice out of it, dice it and then make a potato rosti! A lot to do in half hour and I was behind because I kept stopping my progress to help ‘C’ when she asked me to help and said she couldn’t do this or that. Then she kept getting frustrated and annoyed with herself but then taking it out on me and then bad mouthing the Teacher/Chef because he mentioned time and she didn’t see it as necessary if we weren’t in a real kitchen. (Her words.)

I grabbed 2 potatoes one for me and one for her. I peeled mine within a minute and she hadn’t even touched hers. I grabbed a grater and then she started moaning about the peeling so I offered to peel her potato and she can grate mine which she agreed to (she also accused me of breaking the grater multiple times as the handle had snapped…)  but then the Teacher/Chef told us since we didn’t have a lot of time we could just grate the one potato and just show that as evidence. He then took her potato and she got angry and said he put her right off the course now! (Oh my god….) I explained to her that he probably only did that because she keeps saying she wont be able to make the time and going on about how she can’t do a lot of things and that we are way behind and wont be able to catch up (speak for yourself!) and hardly even tried to do the basic of things that day and he just wanted to make things easier for her. But she wasn’t having any of it and said he wasn’t giving us a chance blah blah blah and so I watched her grate the flat side of the potato (flat side?!) slowly and half arsed (my god just hurry up!) and hardly grated any then I suggested she try the other side and not the flat side so she could grate more. 

She then starts to grate the other flat side! (-_- No words…) As I painfully witness her grate me more than the potato she then said I can do it. (Finally!!) So I turn the potato round to the pointed more logical side and within seconds I grated that potato to no end and there was a huge pile of grated potato. ‘C’ complained about it going everywhere as I grated but I told her if it doesn’t fill the grater and make a mess then you aren’t doing it right!

There is so much grated potato you could make 4-5 rostis! ‘C’ tries to get the Teacher/Chefs attention while he is talking to someone. (At least wait for the man to stop talking!) She is instantly annoyed and thinks he is ignoring her on purpose! I wait for him to finish and then ask him if we can cook the rostis since we could quickly cook them on the pan while cleaning up and he agrees to it! (Success- I wont be behind after this!)

‘C’ tells me she wants onions in hers and I tell her not me. I see her separating the grated potato into sections which is a good start so we can mix our own chopped ingredients into our own rostis… I tell her I will put the finely chopped and diced parsley that I cut well into mine. She snapped at me again saying she doesn’t want that…. (I’m sorry but we are making our own individual rostis are we not?!) I then notice she has put the grated potato back in the bowl… (What is she doing?) I take a handful and start mixing my parsley and salt into the grated potato and get on with putting it in the mold and frying it with the help of ‘L’ who knew how to work the gas cast iron stove!

Potato & Parsley Rosti
Not the best looking thing I have cooked but it’s ok for my first try! (My kids loved the taste though! :D)

I then got on with the cleaning- by the time my rosti finished cooking and I finished cleaning, drying and putting away,  (‘C’ left me to keep an eye on her rosti too!) I notice she is using my tea towel to dry up her knives… (Normally if you ask nicely I’m fine about lending out stuff and that wasn’t the problem. The problem was last week and that morning we were all told in our health and safety briefing that we are never to use tea towels to dry things and instead use the paper towels so that we don’t transfer germs and contaminate the knives and equipment!) I tell her exactly that and she just shrugs and stares at me instead of what she is doing and so she ended up cutting her finger!  after she went of to get her finger sorted I went to wrap my rosti up and finish writing in my portfolio folder. ‘C’ then came over to me and asked me to wrap hers with tin foil as she can’t rip it- there is a contraption in the kitchen that will cut it for you. (At this pint I’m feeling like she is just taking the piss now! I mean, come on!) I showed her where it was and what it did and left her to it. (hoping i haven’t left her to cut another finger!) Then when everyone was getting their bags to leave she picked up hers and then just left. (Without even saying bye?! Well that was rude…)

After everyone in my class had left and I was getting a locker key from the Teacher/Chef. He asked me how I was doing and how I felt about the lesson. (Clearly concerned because I fell behind in class.) I told him I enjoyed the class and even impressed myself and knew I could get it all done in time but I did feel like I had to explain my concern for ‘C’ due to the things she was saying and reacting when it came to simple tasks. I didn’t want to come across mean or nasty but I did feel like I got dragged down and behind by her as she kept constantly needing help and her half arsed efforts made me feel like she wasn’t even trying! He completely understood and agreed to what I had said as he had kept an eye on her and told me he would have someone in to help her next week when she needs it.

Next week I hope I get to redeem myself and show the Teacher/Chef that I can keep up with everyone else. I want to be able to circulate around the kitchen and try the different stoves and work areas and get to know everyone else in the class, not just be stuck in one spot, with one person, who I spoke to from the beginning for the rest of the year. Because that’s what I usually do and it’s time to stray from the old ways. I need to start going out of my comfort zone, welcoming new and scary but potentially confident building and healthy things into my life. I don’t want my experience to be ruined or tainted or start dreading coming to college because of someones split personality like snapping behavior… (Again I don’t want to be mean or nasty by saying any of this but it’s how I feel 😦 )

Next week it’s all about fish! (Wont that be fun… D: ) It’s a long post again today but then again a lot really did happen on my second day of college! (But good on me for typing it all to be honest:) )

Hope you have been able to read this and I hope you have a great night/day!

x Emz x

Author: Emz

I'm a 28, ambitious full time mum of two amazing and funny children. I try to live a happy simple life but of course there can be drama even if do try to avoid it. A lot does go on with Family and friends and I try to blog as often as I can because this is a good way for me to write what I'm thinking, feeling and helps me remember things that go on and writing it down on a piece of paper doesn't do myself any justice I need to be honest with myself and if blogging is the way forward for me then so bit it. If you happen to come across my blog and actually like and follow it thank you very much. :D I have had to make strong and hard decisions in my life and I have come out stronger and wiser every time. I'm shy, opinionated and can be socially awkward at times but I am trying to build up my confidence and I just want to share with you my life story if you are willing to listen and I am only too happy to do the same for anyone else who wants me to know :) I try to be as honest, open and kind as I can in life. - My aim is to Blog every day whether I am able to keep up with that well we shall see :)

3 thoughts on “My College Experience (day 2) *Knife Skills*”

  1. This is a very graphic description of how the lesson went and of your feelings while it was happening. You must be tempted to have barbecued C next week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the only way I can get you to experience it with me haha . But I am wondering if she will even be in next week and whether she will be the same way. 😮 Hopefully I will be able to work next to someone else perhaps ‘L’ as he knew what he was doing and seemed to be the first to finish every task! Not to mention he seems to be just as nice this week as he was last week so that’s a healthy start!. Thanks for reading 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s