Livia Polastri is from Brazil and studying as a full time student in Culinary Studies at Cork IT. In this blog she shares her passion for food and explains why she chose this course…

“You cannot get an influence from the cuisine of a country if you don’t understand it. You’ve got to study it.”
Chef Ferran Adria

Culinary Studies was the first and only option I had in mind when I applied for college in Ireland. There was nothing as interesting or as intense or that would bring out my most inner feelings. This course is for people who literally want to take their eating experience to a whole new level.

My first days in school were overwhelming – having recently arrived in a new country and immersed in a different language, my first days seemed like everything I had known for a lifetime collapsed into ground. I had to re-learn the name of kitchen utensils, pans, appliances, new ingredients (which are not typical of the tropical country where I am from) – literally everything. I had to re-learn many things from scratch. But on my third week I was more settled in and confident enough to blend my previous experience with everything I was learning here in Ireland.

The facilities in CIT include auditoriums for the theory classes, as well as regular classrooms. But our best classes happen in the kitchens – where we are able to exercise our “alchemy” and develop new skills. We have access to individual kitchens where each student has their own work station – a sink, boards, shelves and a stove. But the most exciting one is the production kitchen – a real sized working kitchen like would expect to see in any posh restaurant, where we work either individually or in teams in specific zones – and after that we have the chance of serving our own food for people who pay to eat it!

The Culinary Studies course at CIT allows students to total immerse themselces in Ireland and its food. Being able to practise and exercise what I love most in a new homeland is also providing me solid ground for my “Irishness” and the possibility of blending work with my passions. Although we create a lot of Irish food in the course, we also have the chance to expand our knowledge of “what” food is. Yes, there is a lot of French terms and recipes, but we also study food from a safety point of view – what to do and not to do to ensure your product will be one of quality.

If you are someone like me – who had mostly cooked with your eyes and your heart, this course will definitely be a challenge. It is amazing to visualise all the science that lies behind a simple recipe. This course not only prepares you for become a professional “Master Chef”, but also has teachers who prepare you for the real pressures of employment and who allow you to visualise the “big picture”; the production process and how to think in terms of what to preparation and timing – essential skills as a chef. We are shown how to develop confidence using knives and how safe practice can lead  to faster movements; how to experiment and innovate with each little thing we do – from blending ingredients to finalising a dish and garnishing. This is a course for people who literally put their hearts into what they are doing!

If you are an adrenaline junkie and passionate about food, you should apply for Culinary Studies course at CIT. Loving what you do is the key to success and Ireland welcomes new chefs with open arms. The reward of providing culinary experience to someone is beyond what words can describe. Each chef – no matter what your cultural background is, has a unique print – the ability of analysing things from different perspectives, and the chance to create unique gastronomic experiences. Whoever leaves this course has the understanding that cooking goes beyond something “you do” in the kitchen. It is feeling, it is nourishment, it is passion and above all, it is art.

Interested in studying abroad? Visit the Education in Ireland website for more information