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Back To School Blues

Miami chef and restauranteur Barton G. weighs in on Top Chef.

By Barton G.

We here at love back to school. So much, in fact, that we asked some of our favorite Bravo celebrities to share their 'back to school' stories. For more on this series, click here. bts_13_320x240.jpg

How to Watch

Watch Top Chef Season 21 Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

I wish I could say I have warm and fuzzy memories about the annual "back-to-school" rite. But I dreaded it. In fact, I would get so stressed out I would get sick to my stomach. The whole idea was torture for me. Did I mention I wasn't the best of students? What I was good at was playing. And summer vacation meant lots of it -- three months of continuous fun. I went to camp and I spent a lot of time horseback riding, which I loved. Going back to school signaled the end of all that. It meant studying and homework -- "work" period, the opposite of play. Thinking about it now, I recognize the irony in the fact that I grew up to be a workaholic.

I am also struck by what a contrast my six-year-old son is to me as a child. He has been back to school for two weeks and could not be happier about it. His whole existence is about school work, which he relishes. My parents had to devise an intricate formula of threats and bribery to get me to do my homework. Not this kid; he comes home with it every day and applies himself to his assignments with minimal parental persuasion. Of course the whole educational landscape is different for him four decades later. The subject matter and the manner in which it is taught have escalated considerably. At six, my son is taking Spanish class and computer class; he's reading, writing and doing math. And he's getting a big kick out of all of it, proud of what he is learning and eager to share, something I appreciate, especially when it comes to computer mastery! It occurs to me that had I had the benefit of the kind of education he does at such a young age, I might have been more engaged. Maybe going back to school wouldn't have been such a nauseating experience for me. Although there was one aspect I do remember enjoying -- cutting up grocery bags to make book covers. There was something very satisfying about the process that personalized the books as my possessions ... even if reading them wasn't my idea of a day at the beach, or a day on the back of a horse!

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