After a summer off, I am officially back to school at BU. This is my third semester in the Gastronomy program. Not only am I back in class, but I am working again in the teaching kitchen, as the Julia Child Teaching Assistant for the Fall 2020 semester.
I have never been so unmotivated to write as I have this summer. Usually, I don’t run out of words, as my mom likes to say. This year has certainly taken a lot out of me. I have struggled to keep my spirits up, like many people out there. I just didn’t have much to say. If I hadn’t had a job to go to, I might not have left the apartment most days and probably wouldn’t have spent much time outside of my bed. I had to keep myself together enough to go to work, but that is just about all I had in me. That and doing some cooking and baking for myself.
I am hoping that since I’m back in school, I am going to feel a bit better and, therefore will be ready to write again. I have some backlogged posts I want to get out there, primarily related to my gastronomy studies. This semester I am taking food writing, which you may imagine as a budding food blogger, I am pumped.
As much as I am happy to be back in class, I am thrilled to be back at work in the teaching kitchen. I have missed putting on my chef coat and apron, ready to rock the kitchen. I felt so empowered the moment I took it out of my closet after all these months and suited up.
I knew I had missed being at work, but I did not realize how much until I got back into the kitchen. The smells, the noises, the feel. It was almost magical. What was truly magical was being fed on my first day back. Chef Barry Maiden was in to film demos for Southern Day. I was back in the kitchen doing some work when I got delivered some buttermilk cornbread and biscuits. I have never seen a more perfect looking handmade biscuit. I would have sworn this was made from a factory if I had not tasted it. (They tasted way better than any store-bought biscuits).
So if you are curious about how Covid-19 has impact culinary school, here are a few insights. We had to make some modifications to the program to limit exposure for students and staff. Typically, BU’s culinary program runs four days a week from 10-6. The morning session would be lecture-style in the classroom while the afternoon session is in the kitchen cooking. Instead, Mondays are reserved for remote “lecture” time via Zoom with the chefs that week. Then from Tuesday to Thursday, the students are in the kitchen cooking from noon to six. We are keeping social distance as much as possible, limiting the number of people allowed in the kitchen, and having everyone wear masks. We also are all tested for Covid weekly, per BU’s reopening policy. Additionally, we have installed plexiglass between stations in the kitchen and added more sanitizing stations. All these measures will hopefully keep everyone safer and decrease our chances of having to shut down again.
Of course, the risk is still there that any of us could contract the virus from being exposed to people on campus, but I am facing less exposure right now than when I worked at Wegmans this summer. I cannot express enough how glad I am to be back. Yes, it was a little stressful getting the kitchen ready for the students to come back. Yes, it was hot and humid in the kitchen these last two weeks. Yet, I know more than ever that this is where I need to be right now. Two weeks back, and I already feel like a different person again, much like I was transformed last fall while in this class. I am going to hold onto this as long as I can.