Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Black and White Issue

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we now wear full brigade in class. In fact, it's required both in lecture and kitchen lab classes. In addition, Culinary Arts students also take some hospitality management classes, and we are required to attend those in brigade as well.

This morning around 7:30 I was relaxing in a student lounge area on campus before class when one of my classmates walked by, not yet in Brigade. She made some snarky comment about not understanding why all of the rest of us came to school already in brigade, and how it would get our whites dirty.

I'll give you three guesses which classmate it was, and the first two don't count.

Personally, I enjoy wearing my brigade. Maybe for someone who's just learning about cuisine, it's a silly school uniform. And I can understand her reticence to get it dirty.

But for an aspiring chef, it's a badge of identity -- it represents not just culinary school, but being a culinarian -- it's inclusive and exclusive at the same time, marking me as an acolyte into a special society. I may be just barely in the door of that society, but I'm already embracing it not just as a vocation, but a lifestyle, a culture.

And if it gets dirty, I'll wash it. But when I'm going to and from school and someday work, I intend to wear it so that people can see me and think, "Oh, there goes a chef." Clothes don't make the man, but they sure to lay a foundation.

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