Why Take a Workshop - Any Workshop?

"Chef" Sammon at work. No worries: Not giving up my day job.
Last night, my wife and I took a Thai cooking class at The Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. A first for us.

The class of 18 food lovers was led my Chef Loren Banco - who masterfully, along with his assistant Eric, coordinated the creation of 12 dishes in four hours.

I think coordinating the invasion of Normandy must have been easier. Not only were the dishes (some with more than a dozen ingredients) fantastic, but the three teams completed their dishes at the same time . . . so we could all sit down and enjoy dinner together.

Although I was in charge of the steamed fish, the Summer Rolls and Pad Thai were my favorites.

Thai beer and Thai food. What could be better?

Being a student, as opposed to assuming my usual role as a workshop instructor, was a humbling - and most interesting - experience. Throughout the class I imagined what some of my first-time workshops student must feel like, because I felt the same way about the class:
– a bit apprehensive about signing up,
– somewhat intimidated about working along side a pro,
- kinda nervous about showing the end result.

Speaking of feeling that way, I was also nervous about being Chopped, as in the TV show on the Food Network of the same name.

Yummy Summer Rolls.
Well, like all good class/workshop leaders, Chef Loren make us all feel good about what we were doing - in a no-nonsense way. Here was there to help: 100 percent.

Chef Lorne's demeanor reminded me of the importance of an instructor's role. No easy task, especially when it comes to cooking, which is much harder than learning Photoshop, HDR or daylight fill-in flash!

I know Chef Loren cares, which echoes my philosophy: People (students) want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.

Preparing lunch in Laos. Talk about a fun workshop location. © Rick Sammon
On the way home, listening to the Santana station on Pandora in the car, I thought about why people take workshops:

1) To learn;
2) To have a new experience;
3) To meet new people;
4) To grow as a person;
5) To change their reality for a while (be a chef or a pro photographer).

All good reasons, which is why I suggest you take a workshop - any workshop. Yes, you might be shy and nervous and intimidated and apprehensive and so on. But make the leap. I am sure you'll be glad you did.

A shot from my Mexico Workshop. We make pictures, we just don't take pictures.
I hope to see you on one of my workshops, group or private. Shoot me an email if you are interested.

Also: I hope to see you sometime at The Institute of Culinary Education. Italian is next for us!

Explore the light,

P.S. Chef Loren: What's your critique on how the man in Laos is preparing lunch? :-)