We incorporated a whole different concept in our professional program. We decided to do a week where we play with more middle ground ingredients and concepts. By default that will mean more plants and less red meats or seared fish with rich sauces finished with butter. We called it Plant-Based Week, the buzz word at the moment, as is “mindful” cooking, but really the whole purpose of the week was for our students to be aware of bigger picture concepts of EATING food, that means what happens to the people we want to please with our craft when the fine food is swallowed.
Our students will enter an industry which will demand to work hard and on adrenalin. For many who tax their bodies beyond the call of duty, stimulants instead of good eating habits may possibly play an important role to sustain them through tough stretches. However, there is a price to pay, eventually, if one does not take good care of themselves when working intense hours in intense environments under intense pressure. And cooks are notorious for bad eating (and drinking!) habits. So why nutritional principles and philosophies need to be learned by our students as much as dry and moist cooking techniques.
Luckily, the instructors at Northwest are mindful of their bodies, mind, and soul. We are not getting any younger, and now have greater wisdom to make sure our students do not repeat the mistakes or bad choices we made for the sake of doing what we thought we were supposed to do. And even more fortunate, we attract students who are already mindful of the tendencies, of the cooking industry, it’s business models and politics, and care about making a difference – and not necessarily at the cost of paying one’s health dues. They say never trust a skinny chef. I would never trust food made by someone who is physically, emotionally, and spiritually falling apart.