Big fat apologies to those of you who haven't been getting all the emails you are owed (and to those whose inboxes I've spammed with inanity), to those whose phone calls haven't been returned (I'm hoping this list is very short though!), and to those with whom I have been a little CRANKY for not being familiar with all the details below. I've realized that there's the slightest chance I haven't been as forthcoming with all the Rebecca News as perhaps I could have been. So...
Let the FAQ begin!
You have probably asked me one or more of these questions in the last few days/weeks/months. Yes, you. In lieu of continuing this maddeningly repetitive game of 20 questions about my life, I'm nailing the answers to the figurative wall of this blog. So, read closely. There will be a quiz. (Or, if you want the Cliff Notes version, just read the bold parts.)
Q: Hey, Rebecca, I've been following your blog and I see that you have been traveling gypsy-like across the country. Um, why's that again?
A: What a fine question. While visiting those fabulous people I have been missing for the past year was it's own reward, the actual point of it was to move to Santa Cruz to go to culinary school!
Q: Oh, so you're going to be a chef!
A: That wasn't a question. And if it were, I would answer NO, I do not want to be a chef. I want to do outreach work, teaching healthy cooking and nutrition. I may end up working with some type of community organization / non-profit / school, ideally getting low-income families cooking fresh healthy meals. (Here's where I tell the story about the homeroom kids not knowing lemonade is made from lemons, and digress into a rant about the pathology of the American food culture and our disconnect from our own food sources and agrarian past...)
Q: Isn't that a random/idealistic/penniless career choice?
A: I used to think so, and am pleasantly surprised to find that the answer is NO!
#1: This is NOT a career change. (hey, look, I have a "career"! My first clue was when the "teaching/tutoring" section suddenly took up my whole resume.) This will just add flexibility to what I already have experience with- I'd be able to switch up a little of that, a little tutoring, a little ESL teaching, a little non-profit office type work... I'm so marketable.
#2: There's been lots more attention and even funding for this type of work, with all the fuss over diabetes / childhood obesity etc in recent years.
Q: SO, what's this school you're going to again?
A: It's called Bauman College, after the founder. (You may remember that I previously linked to their vaguely informative youtube video.) It's pretty much what you would expect from santa cruz - a hippie veggie place (they probably call it "holistic and plant-based" or something.) This place is for real though, I think they do a good job of bridging the touchy-feeliness with the latest science / practical applications. They also offer nutritionist training, but I'm enrolling in the "Natural Chef" training program.
Q: So what does one study to become a natural chef?
A: Click on the link, people! Geez, do I have to do EVERYTHING around here? The short answer is:
"Required topics include: Culinary Nutrition and Kitchen Basics (45 hours), Food Foundation I (45 hours), Food Foundations II (45 hours), Ethnic Cuisine and Dietary Approaches (45 hours), Farm to Table (45 hours), Client Services (45 hours), Therapeutic Applications I (45 hours), Therapeutic Applications II (45 hours), Public Meal (45 hours), and Final Presentations (45 hours)"
Q: Public meal, as in, you have to actually cook for real people?
A: Oh yeah, and how. In the last newsletter, they included this link for the last session's Culinary Showcase. (warning - pdf. It's worth your while though - It really shows off what the graduates can do. lots of pictures and recipes.) Whoa, I'm going to be able to, like, COOK!
Q: Will you cook for me?
A: YES :)
Q: When does your program start?
A: TOMORROW! Yikes! I'm going back to... school?? Huh??
Q: What's the schedule? Is this program as INTENSIVE as that TESOL program you did?
A: NO. I'm sure I'll have my share of homework and stuff, but the classes are Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 10-3. I believe this qualifies as "part time." It lasts for 5 months, which is shorter than most traditional culinary programs, so I will be done by the end of September. There's also an "externship" which partners you with an appropriate institution - in my case maybe a soup kitchen or school.
Q: OK, enough with the food. How about shelter?
A: Well, as previously mentioned, my mom's friend Sue has been fabulous in that department. Unfortunately she's 1.5 hours north of Santa Cruz. The good news is I did find a great place to live in downtown Santa Cruz! After so. many. listings of expensive or run down or rural places populated by surfer dudes, crazy commune types, college student partiers, uptight 30 somethings, and people who don't call you back. My new home, as of April 1, is a lovely old victorian house, with high ceilings, nice kitchen, 4 bedroom, 2 bath, washer dryer, 3 chill housemates, and CHEAP rent. YAY!!!! Address forthcoming.
Q: What about employment?
A: Uh... I'm working on it. My last check from the CHC got lost in the mail and I'm looking forward to depositing it soon, does that count? No seriously, I have a couple of good leads - ideally I will end up working at an independent bookstore, with some hours with a fancy Huntington Learning Center type tutoring place (not the demographic I'd prefer to teach, but I need something that will actually pay the bills.)
Q: Um... I really have to pee. Can I go now?
A: Yes. Yes you may. Sorry for the TMI.
Thus endeth the FAQ. After the bathroom break I'll be taking questions from the audience. Seriously, if you aren't bored by my life yet feel free to ask me more in the comments section. And I'll be sure to update more regularly from now on.