It is early Saturday morning and the first half of 2011 has provoked an enormous amount of nostalgia that I'm wondering if my mind and my heart, afraid of deciding on anything for fear of continued failure, can make the right decision. I am referring to my spring semester spent in the Culinary Arts Program at Santa Rosa Junior College. I had too many clashes with the instructors in that program that the idea of ever returning would almost make me tremble with fear. But I miss cooking. I don't miss knife skills class which is my greatest nemesis. But there is this feeling inside me about those classes, a career working with food, that has provoked me to tears at this hour... a longing to return to a challenging field but with stark terror of whether I could make it.
I just e-mailed Carol Menard, Director of Fresh Starts Culinary Academy at Homeward Bound of Marin. The program is unique in that the class meets for three hours a day, four days a week. Sanitation and safety (one of the classes I did not pass at SRJC) is covered. Students in the class do take the ServSafe Exam. Students cook three meals a day for eighty homeless shelter residents at the New Beginnings Center. They laarn how to make and produce Halo chocolate truffles and jams. They learn catering skills because Fresh Starts students also do a lot of cooking for community businesses. So I e-mailed Carol and told her about my failure with knife skills,. my visual impairment. Tears stroll down my face because of my intense bonding with food that occurred at SRJC. It has affected me emotionally more than I thought it would. I am going to await Carol's reply and see if she thinks I would be setting myself up for failure by beginning her class in January. Students who "graduate" from the Fresh Starts Culinary Program end up working in bakeries as well as in restaurants and delis such as Whole Foods. But I need to know if I would be setting myself up for more failure. Knife Skills isn't honed or emphasized in this program nearly as much as a class in it would. The area I would want to work in, is as a pastry chef and with confections.
Like I said, I am scared--terrified, of returning to this even at Fresh Starts in Novato, for fear I will fail yet again. I have failed at every thing I have ever wanted to do. I don't hjave the support I would need for my disabilities in a culinary field. But I love working with food. I just don't know if I'm crazy or not. I don't believe in giving up. I think the Fresh Starts Culinary Academy would be less rigorous than the classes at SRJC. I need someone to point the way for me.