Salmon coulibiac - Food Gypsy

Out of the Blue – Departing Le Cordon Bleu…

Published On January 26, 2011 | By Gypsy | Gastronomy, Kitchen Tales

January, it’s a good time to start something new, to renew a passion, to set goals for the year ahead.  On January 10th, 2011 I began again at the Halls of Butter, taking the experiences and techniques I’d learned so well in Basic Cuisine and applying them, liberally, in Intermediate Cuisine.

Christmas break saw me take some much needed time off, stepping away from anything that felt at all onerous opting instead for as much good company and great conversation as I could encourage.  It was time for ‘ease’.

Conscious of just how much energy I had expended and let’s be adults here, there has been more than just energy spent.  Time and money factor into the equation of life and it seemed to me to be a great deal going out, without anything coming back.  Depleted (but not exhausted) I returned.

Imagine my surprise to find myself in a place I love, without my signature passion.  The first few days were filled with fellowship and reconnection but as that faded, a very real sense of being in the right place at the wrong time began to set in – and along with it – a need to make a decision.

A decision that was purely selfish, and by that I mean a decision that supports my needs exclusively.

“Do what’s right for you.”

It’s my mantra. It’s the BEST advice I have ever been given and the very best (and most frequent) advice I give.
“Do what’s right for you.”

On January 21, 2011 I officially withdrew from the program.  It is what’s right for me in this moment.

I got what I came here for.  I sucked up every bit of knowledge, every technique, every phrase, every nuance.  I asked questions and when they weren’t answered sufficiently for my liking I came home and found the answers I was looking for.  On December 18th, 2010 I walked across that stage and proudly took that piece of paper with my name on it and later hung it on my wall.  Basic Cuisine.  It is something I did… well.

Basic Cuisine, Lesson 2
Basic Cuisine, Lesson 2… Legumes a la grecque (turned vegetables in a court bouillon with coriander) by Chef Benoit
Basic Cuisine, Lesson 2

My first stab at cooking under French scrutiny… kind of crap… by Gypsy.

Last year I sold my whole life, to create a new one.  I moved from rural Nova Scotia to the heart of urban Ottawa.  I traveled, extensively.  I launched a new career and put considerable resources behind that shift so that I could do it to the very best of my ability.  That is what I came here for.

I have a great little place to call home.  I have friends and family (both old and new) that support and cheer me on.  I have a well of talent that even I do not know how deep it goes and I have what can only be described as passion, for a life well lived.  I made a whole new… life.  From scratch.

Now, it’s time to make a whole new living.  Looking in my crystal ball, I see glossy paper in my future.

In this decision there is (once again) freedom.  I am free to go, do, be ANYTHING.  Except this time I have new tools. I am a MUCH better cook, a MUCH deeper writer, a MUCH more confident creative.

Will I ever return to Le Cordon Bleu, Ottawa to pursue further culinary education?  Perhaps.  At this moment, I am cognisant of a touch of burn-out, a sense of malaise that matches the weather, dull and grey, but at another time, things may be very different.

In the meantime, I’m taking a little detour and being a tourist in my (new) hometown.

There is one thing I’ve learned very well in this experience, I cook MUCH better with a glass of wine in hand! (the cooking wine at school is VERY salty. I’m just saying…)  There are plenty of rich learning opportunities that involve glasses of wine, one that has my particular attention is in Tuscany.  Maybe be a summer fling.

But back, for a moment to the subject of Intermediate Cuisine;  important to say that I stand firmly behind the team that remains in the butter coloured walls, soaking up new levels of information from some of the most brilliant minds in the business.

To Ali, Brenda, Danica, Joey & JC – know I love you.  I am always here for you. (Pizza night… Thursday?!) We will be checking back on them from time to time to cover their individual stories and progress on Food Gypsy. We don’t let go of the people we love.

 I get attached.  I make no apologies for that; Inderjeet, Lillian, Uvna, Eliza, Nancy, Laura, Mika, Andrea, Chef Christopher, Chef Armando, Chef Jean Marc, Chef Benoit, also tucking you all in my pocket and taking you along.

We are our people.

Time to change gears.  Just think, this gives me plenty of time to COOK, WRITE, SHOOT and TAPE for my Foodie Gypsies and share what I’ve learned, which up to now I’ve had very little chance to do.  Hold on to your hat!  You are my people too.

Cheers!  To this delicious LIFE…

Intermediate Cuisine, Lesson 6 A

Intermediate Cuisine, Lesson 6… Salmon in a puff pastry shell – by Chef Gilles

Intermediate Cuisine, Lesson 6

Salmon in a puff pastry shell, by Gypsy. We’ve come a LOOOONG way baby.

Like this Article? Share it!

About The Author

"Gypsy" is not my real name." A freelance food & travel writer & photographer based in Aylmer, Quebec. Corinna Horton trained at Le Cordon Bleu, spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn, and is currently between big, shiny kitchens as she focuses on family and what's next in this delicious life.