So last night I finally cashed in on my last Christmas gift from Jake: a knife skills course at Culinaerie, a local cooking school downtown.
I trussed and spatchcocked a chicken, then learned how to supreme an orange, and got complimented by the Chef as she walked by and saw my diced carrot (!) - though it was a bit uneven, it was much smaller and finer than the others around me. I also learned I hold my chef's knife a bit like a spaz and learned to get a bit more control on it. Nice -- sure that will come in handy long term!
What I learned most of all, is that I could not survive in a real chef's kitchen, or therefore, culinary school. I cook so much now, I have developed my own style for things, and am used to using my own tools and my own methods. I dice unevenly. This does not bother me. But my pieces, no matter how tiny, are uneven and would probably be trashed on the spot in a "real" kitchen.
The culinary arts intrigue me - especially after having read Julia Child's memoir, but I'm fairly certain that's not a path for me. I hope to continue taking "recreational" courses that focus on one skill or another, like the knife skills course, simply to learn from a real chef and boost my techniques.