Cooking School Secrets: The Stereotypes Live On

I just don't get it. Sure, decorating a cake with icing is challenging. Rolling and shaping fondant is frustrating and burning your fingertips on melted sugar is brutal, but it's part of the school curriculum. And it's only for a couple of days. No need for drama.

This week I watched one cursing student get sent home (calling the chef instructor "dude" didn't help either). Another stormed out of the kitchen and a third threw a pastry bag on the floor.

I'd like to think what occurred is because they were exhausted (some students work full-time in addition to going to school) or forgot to medicate that morning, but I know that's not the case. They just wanted out of the projects, even if it meant they received zeros. (Unbelievable, particularly since each failing grade made it even more likely they would have to repeat the class.)

Lack of patience played a part in what happened, I realize, and anger management classes might help somewhat, but I think there was a disturbing underlying cause. As much as I hate to admit it, the old stereotype of in-charge, male savory chefs who dominate the line and female bakers who just sit around making pretty things is not dead yet. These guys didn't want to be associated with pastries.

During one of the many talks about how completion of projects is more important than how well they are done, one student told the class one of the chef instructors said that all male pastry chefs are gay. What kind of throwback comment is that?

I'm learning a lot but some days all I think is: I gotta get out of this place.

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