Along with a year in Paris comes a sense of Romanticism. A magical city that offers some of the best examples of nearly anything you could imagine, a visitor strives to try it all. There’s an expectation to come out of France an expert on food, wine, fashion, art, literature, you name it. That’s easier dreamed than achieved, based first on the sheer immensity of opportunity. Paris most likely has more good restaurants than I’ll eat dinners in my life, and a similar impossible comparison could be made of the amount of wine there is to be sampled and savored.
Then there is of course, the issue of the costly city that is Paris. While the choice of wines and restaurants may never run dry, the supply of funds easily does. There is however, an easy solution to this problem. When you don’t have money the evident thing to do is the opposite. Make money.
On that line, I’ve started a new internship working for a chef. Contrary to what I just said, I don’t actually get paid, but I eat well in compensation for my work.
I work at Coulisses du Chef, a small business that gives lessons to Parisians and tourists alike looking for the secrets to French cuisine. Its fitting as the name refers to working behind the scenes with a chef. I work with Olivier as an assistant and translator. I do a lot of prep work, a lot of dishes and some translating, but in addition I pretty much take the classes he gives, and I get to eat everything we prepare.
Its good for a number of reasons. Its huge for my French, on the spot translating is tough but unnecessary. I’ve learned so many food words, from ingredients, to tools to action verbs. eplucher means to peel, its one of my favorites. As we often have only French clients, I get a lot of practice conversationally.
Its nice to use really high quality quality ingredients, cooking with the best techniques while drinking great wines and having interesting conversations.
Its another fascinating opportunity that I could have never done back at home so easily. My so-called interview was actually my first day of work and one of the best meals I’ve eaten in France. The welcome with which small businesses receive American students is mind-blowing Its a great viewpoint into the French culinary culture that I could have totally missed. Here’s some photos from last night.
Also, new goal with photography. Improve my food photography – it is hard!