I spent most of April and May 2017 studying for my CAP cuisine exams. This included a 1000+ page book of techniques and recipes, two shorter manuals on food safety, science and nutrition, and countless hours preparing for other non-cooking related tests (oral English, French, Math & Science and History and Geography). It was the first time I'd been a student since graduating college in 2009, and perhaps the first time I've ever been genuinely interested in the subject I was studying. Even before exams came to an end on June 9, I could feel the presence of a hole slowly growing that would need to be filled in. In addition, I felt like what I'd learned was mostly theory, and I was curious to cement my new knowledge with some firsthand experience.
A few weeks earlier, I met Caitlin, a friend of a friend's friend, on her weekend in Paris before embarking on a month-long adventure on an Alaskan goat farm. Inspired by her journey (and charmed by her Instagram videos of baby goats), I signed up on the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) website, paid the 25 euro fee for access to the French farm network, and was quickly accepted to two different farms, a goat cheese producer near Dijon and a small private farm near Brest. I enjoyed both experiences so much that I plan WWOOF regularly, schedule permitting. Have a look below at some takeaways and photos from each of the farms I've worked on.