Boulder, Colorado, Culinary School, New Experiences, United States
Comments 15

Cooking Continues..

Gone are the days when I used to have white-collar IT hands, soft like a baby’s butt, only capable of typing away on a computer. Now, I have “worker” hands — tough and callus-stricken — capable of chopping, beating, kneading and butchering.I don’t even notice the burns and cuts that now mark my once “perfect” hands.  I remember the first few weeks of classes, I washed my hands so many times that my skin would turn white and dry out. It burnt and hurt. I cringed every time I washed my hands under the burning hot water tap (the cold water tap at our kitchen school works at its own will!).  But now, after four months of constant beating, my body has stopped noticing any pain.  My hands look rough and my feet no longer feel pain from sometimes standing for 12 hrs a day in the kitchen. 

I distinctly remember the constant backache and headache I used to get from sitting in front of computer at work for 9-10 hours. Mental exhaustion and lack of energy used to take over and I would transform into a zombie, sometimes unable to go to sleep at  night.  But surprisingly, working in kitchen for 12 hours hasn’t led to similar results. I do feel tired by the end of the day but not in the same way as I used to from a desk job. I feel more physical exhausted I ran a marathon or hiked to the top of a mountain. When I come back home around 11.30 at night, I am ready to go to bed. I barely spend 30 mins a day on the computer every day, hence lack of blogging lately. Working with hands has given me a new perspective and a new respect for a different kind of hard work. You feel like you created something tangible at the end of the day, something that you could feel proud of.  There are no projects that I bring home and no presentations that I need to worry about. I go to class, cook my heart out, clean, come back home and go to bed. Next day is a new day. New menu. New recipes.  New energy.

I also started doing a part time internship at a vegetarian restaurant in Boulder — Leaf.  I work two days a week (5 hrs a day) before I go to my class in the evening.  Working in a real restaurant is very different from culinary school. There is no room for making mistakes. There is no time to waste. There are real customers and real money on the line. Its definitely a very different world from what I am used to in technology. The fact that the culinary world is such a dynamic and high energy environment is what I love about it so far.  There is no kissing ass to get to the top. You are either a hard worker or a slacker. There are not a lot of places to hide.

I am at the 4 month mark of the program and the days are definitely getting more exciting as we move onto intricate cuisine and plating and creative cooking.  Our practical exams are inspired by Chopped ‘mystery basket’ concept which are fun but stressful!

I am also happy to tell you that I didn’t pass out when I witnessed my first murder. The lobster was alive when it was shipped to us all the way from Seattle. I wondered if it knew what would happen to it when it sat in the big brown box and flew 1000 miles from Seattle to Colorado.  When we all opened the box and looked down at it, I wondered if it knew then.  I know its a lobster and everything in life has its purpose.  But still, it made me sad when I looked at it and I knew it was looking at me (“It” was a female, by the way). I was assigned to make lobster bisque that day so I had to technically kill (which I refused to do), clean and cook the lobster. After her tragic but quick death at the hands of my classmate, I cleaned(while its body still twitched!) and cooked her in the most respectful way I possibly could. 

Enjoy the pictures of some of the food we have been making..

For me these pictures remind me of the lines from the poem – “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” By Samuel Coleridge

“Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink”


“Food, food, everywhere,

nor any bite to eat and tummy to fill”  

                              — The sad vegetarian


IMG_6873It was bigger than my head. By the way, that is the look of sheer fear!

IMG_6876The ghastly murder

IMG_6878Lobster Bisque

IMG_6890Foie gras with apple gelee and red wine poached pear with walnuts and rocquefort cheese. Phew!

IMG_6898Our “Legumes” system of creation day: My plates: Artichoke filled w/lentils, lentil soup and lentil ravioli



IMG_6808Crab cakes

IMG_6822Our class during dinner and critique

IMG_6851Steak with Chimichurri sauce and escabiche in home made taco with spicy mango sauce

IMG_7035Osso Bucco: Some bone marrow goodness for the vegetarians

IMG_7026Troupster in heaven: Meatball party at home

IMG_7029Meatball 2 styles: Pork/Feta meatballs with yogurt/dill sauce and chicken meatballs with spicy tomato sauce


  1. Vaibhav says

    Awesome read. Very interesting lobster experience. Keep writing!

  2. I so envy you Shru! I am looking forward to my future visit. Hopefully sometime soon. Give my best regards to Dan.

  3. This is nuts! I asked you this on Facebook already… but did you taste it? I always thought chefs had to taste things before serving. So, did you? How’s that going for you? I’m so excited for you going on this journey/adventure! Can’t wait to taste your creations one day 😀

    • Yes, I have been nibbling on everything (except Frog legs and Snails…I refused to do that. I have standards!) ..I find red meat totally appalling. Pork is surprisingly not bad (it doesn’t taste much like anything). Chicken doesn’t scare me. Foie gras tasted like metallic butter. I can handle fish if its not too fishy. But overall, I realize that I have no interest in eating meat..I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything in life. I am still in love with my veggies!

  4. Margaret bell says

    You are so funny , but I admire yu holding to your principles…the death of the lobster is not on your account!, The food looks beautiful and delicious! So proud of your dedication and tenacity,,,,,and you write an amazing story!,

  5. Mike Coughlin says

    Awesome stuff, what a life change. I’m jealous still stuck behind that boring desk. Keep the updates coming I likely speak for everyone in saying I look forward to them.

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