Thursday, August 13, 2015

Moving to Ireland // Chef in Training @ Ballymaloe Cookery School

St. Paul's Irish Fair. Fairly certain Irish people will not dress like this. Or will they?
I'm moving to Ireland. To become a chef. That's right folks, I'll be attending culinary school in Ireland at Ballymaloe Cookery School. EEEEEEEK doesn't begin to describe the emotion I'm feeling. The possibility. The everything. There is no more preparation that can be made, I've crossed every T and dotted every I. I've googled and read each and every blog known to man on the subject of the school, I've networked with people in Minneapolis who've attended the school, I've read every Facebook post to see what the school is like, I meandered through Irish Fair in St. Paul last weekend and got a couple snapshots of what life might be like while in Ireland. They say the first two weeks of school will be the hardest. And I'm almost guaranteed to cut a finger, burn an arm, or at the very least, set something on fire.

Remember when I was on Twin Cities Live and was *this close* to winning a trip to the Emerald Isle, but had no fighting chance against every beer-laden bite of the other running water deprived contestant's soup? Well, guess what TCL? You've inspired me to chase my dreams, to live with abandon, to run with the wind! The eleven-year-old little girl who played make-believe restaurant and then checked out Thai cookbooks at the library so she could cook the family dinner has finally acknowledged what has been inside of her the whole time. I'm going to be a bonafide chef. 
A girl at St. Paul's Irish Fair.
Do Irish toddlers dress in kilts?

The school I'm attending is on 100 acres of organic farmland on the southern coast of Ireland, 45 minutes east of Cork, in Shanagarry. The school uses the sustainable "Farm to Table" approach as they grow all their own produce in greenhouses, raise their own livestock, and use every compostable scrap from the kitchen. I'll be a five minute walk from the ocean. When not at school, the only wi-fi available to me will be at the pub, ah shucks. But, I won't be needing wi-fi because I'll be learning fine cuisine, how to filet a fish, naming and identifying all types of vegetables and herbs and memorizing cooking techniques that have French names I'll mangle in pronunciation, how to make puff pastry, and croissants, croissants! It'll be 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks. Intense and whirlwind may be some (scary) words to use here. Deep breathing. 
Will herds of sheep stop traffic?
My CSA posts will be put on hold. My recipe writing may come to a screeching halt. My new kitchen will be a small, cramped Irish kitchen using the metric system and a new, very sharp knife engraved with my initials which is sure to slice at least one finger pad off. Those who have gone before me claim I will seemingly forget how to cook. An onion will perplex, putting me into the cold sweats. I'll wonder how I ever chopped one before, even though I chop at least one onion every day. When an Irish cooking instructor with a lilting voice is looking over your shoulder asking if you weighed the flour correctly, you may wonder if you still know how to use a measuring cup.

So, my adventure begins in a couple weeks. I hope to write everyday, almost like a personal journal of the experience because I want you to experience it with me! I'm going to be homesick, so I want need you to comment and let me know you're out there, reading along with me! I know I'll have no shortage of beautiful photos, so make sure to follow me on Instagram! And I'm coming back a chef. To cook for you!


  1. I await your return from Ireland. Looking forward to reading your daily journal, filled with amazing stories from what you see, what you have done and mostly what yo have tasted. Don't underestimated your skills this is your passion and you will ROCK in Ireland!

  2. I am SO very excited for you and LOVE that you are living your dream. I can't wait to follow your blog and live vicariously through your travels, studies and adventure! Best of luck!

  3. Congratulations! I knew you wanted this very much. Look forward to reading about it!

  4. Thank you for taking a moment to encourage me! These last few weeks in the states are flying by and soon I'll be in Ireland. I am SO excited!

  5. Becki! I'm sooo excited for you! Can't wait to read about your life over there...and I'll be awaiting your return to sample some of the yumminess you create in the kitchen!

  6. Becki, no doubt your passion and enthusiasm will wow those Irish folks. You'll learn lots no doubt, but they'll be doin a lot of learn' from you too :)
    Love you and can't wait to see what life brings you.

  7. Thank you, Lila! The school just asked me to join a FB group and I've been able to scan where some of the folks are from… Brooklyn, Virginia, Australia, a lot from Dublin, some from England. Meeting and working with them will be a LARGE part of the adventure and fun! We're having a Pizza Night on the Sunday before school in the school's wood-fire oven. Wow, as cheesy as this dream come true is real!


I'd love to hear all about your kitchen adventures! Xo, Becki