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The story behind the index cards

When I was studying at NWCAV earning my professional culinary certification, the classes were 10-15% theory, the remainder were hands-on application. During the theory segment, the chefs would cover vast amounts of information along with various demonstrations of the day's respective culinary techniques. This was when we all turned on our mental video recording and captured every bit of dice, mise, slice, whisk, and seasoning technique preparing to then move to the kitchen to replicate each and every step in identical fashion. I took this real time demo opportunity and madly jotted down on paper every ounce of information I possibly could, barely looking down at the sheet I was writing on, as all I wanted to do was note down, in black and white, every single tip, trick, and technique that the chefs demo’d. I didn’t want to miss anything knowing well that one day, I will want to go back and relive the demo both in my mind and through the notations.

Once the day’s classes were over and sometime in between practicing my knife cuts, redoing techniques I wanted to improve, volunteering as assistant to the chef for foodie training classes, or catering events, and while the images of the chefs were still fresh in my mind, I would translate my cryptic notes from the day’s real time session, into detailed reference notes that managed to cover the mass amounts of information my mind  had grasped. I trust you’ll believe me when I tell you that my 3-inch binder is jam packed with pages and pages of golden nuggets of techniques the chefs so masterfully and generously shared with us. This binder has become my bible and resides at an arm’s length, as I write to you now. I cherish it, in fact.

Where the index cards came into play was in preparation for our final examination. I needed to find a way to create a comprehensive at-a-glance study notes from my detailed notes, which would help trigger the key techniques for each respective culinary topic. When I created these cards, I never realized that they were going to help me far beyond the final examination. They’re now an invaluable part of my culinary reference materials and have repeatedly helped me a great deal as to the day, serve as quick refreshers. Hope you enjoy the ease these cards provide, as I have over the years and perhaps create a few of your own.

2 comments to The story behind the index cards

  • Sherin

    Maybe I’m a wannabe chef or maybe it’s your masterful writing – I found this so fascinating. I really really want to go beyond recipes on to techniques!! I want my own index cards 🙂

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