So, I finally got my hands on my knives today….ok, it was only so that I could cut up some veg, but hey, I can honestly say that I was absolutely delighted at the end of the session (5 hrs)…..carrots maçédoine (biggish cubes), jardinère (batons), “ciseler” (cut in fine little cubes, whilst leaving the root on) the onions and shallots, “émincer” onions / carrots / peppers / shallots, “tourner” some potatoes….ohh, nothing much and yet everything !

Today was the first day of real action for me with regards to my project of changing career.

Started with a visit to a restaurant in the 6th arrondissement of Paris (not far from St Michel / Montparnasse) called “Le Timbre” which is run by an Englishman called Chris Wright. He didn’t seem in too much of a mood to chat, but it was good to see another Brit (without any formel qualification !) who has made a good go of it (10 yrs in Paris, 3 as a waiter, 1 as restaurant manager, 6 as manager/chef of the 24 seater restaurant “le Timbre”).

Then off to WH Smith (the bastien of all things literary and, more importantly, ENGLISH in Paris) to buy the biography of Gordon Ramsay “Humble Pie”. Read the chapter on his time in France – fascinating stuff, at least for me…..I have to say that I’m a bit starry eyed at the moment when I read this stuff….I know that I’m caught up in a certain “romantic” view of the industry at the moment, but it’s an essential natural mechanism which allows me to get through the initial “integration” period…..maybe a bit like when a couple become Mum & Dad for the 1st time….it’s such a shock to the system that without the “lovey duvvey” feeling when they look at their new child they would be left feeling submerged by all of the shitty, difficult moments (of which there are quite a few during the first few months)…..so, I’m counting on my “romantic” view getting me through one or 2 sticky moments.

Then off to “Chez Léon” which is co-run by a person who “graduated” from our course 18 mths ago and has gone on to set up his own place (with his cousin). I wanted to see if I could work there during the days when I am at school – in other words, during the 3.5 months that I have of theory and practical lessons at school I am not meant to work (I spend the other 3.5 months working in a restaurant – my “stage” as they say here). However, I want to get as much experience as I can, and thus I am looking for a 2nd restaurant where I will be able to work Monday, Friday (8am-2pm) and all day Saturday. Anyway, “CHez Léon” not being open on Saturday’s, I’ve asked my teacher (Mr Charron) to ask at the Zephyr (which isn’t far from where I live) if they’d be interested by such an arrangement. We’ll see.

Then off to the Fongecif to thank Mr Gharbi who helped a great deal with my application for funding – chocolates bought by my wife, it has to be said !

Then off to my 5 hour class – pure veg cutting heaven !

I’ll take this opportunity to show you a picture of us all – me and my collegues who’ll be accompanying me over these next 8 months.

Me and the CAP Cuisine gang 2007-8

I finally feel as though my training is starting, and not before time !

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