Julienne. Brunoise. Mirepoix. Chiffonade. Concasse.
These are just five of the terms that I have to learn as I study culinary arts. They're all culinary knife cuts and, you guessed it, they're all French!
The universe must be telling me something because this is not the first time I'm getting a lesson in French. There's the European language phrasebook I bought more than a decade ago (French is in there); I had to learn a bit of French just in case I had to use it during my short visit to Hanoi; African French-speakers surrounded me one time at dinner and were attempting to teach me how to speak French; and my supervisor at the University of Queensland could speak French and his post-doctoral fellows at that time were French... that just to name a few instances. More recently, an economist was checking if I could already pronounce brownie in French.
So, do I add French now to the growing list of languages I'm going to study? Looks like a good idea, particularly since 'consomme' sounds a lot more sophisticated (and learned) than 'clear soup'. To get things going, I got the Le Cordon Bleu Cuisine Foundations book for myself. It's a great reference book.
On Saturdays, I attend the Fundamentals of Culinary Arts classes at the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCAHM) in Quezon City. I'm listing a few things I'm learning (aside from how to cook the fine-dining-restaurant-way, of course) as I attend school, lest I forget them.