I have been talking about going to culinary school for years. Those who knew me when I was little can attest to the hours of time I spent in the kitchen playing as if I had my own cooking show. They’ve seen the embroidered chefs coat and hat I would wear, and they saw how excited I got when I was surprised with my light pink KitchenAid mixer when I was 12. Friends and family supported me through my cake decorating business when I was 14 and first learning how to be an entrepreneur. All of you have been reading and supporting this blog for a long time as I refined my culinary point of view and experimented with recipes.
In 2018 when I was pursuing my a career move after living in Indianapolis for two years, I was THIS CLOSE to moving to Los Angeles and attending the New School of Cooking. Things changed fast and I got the incredible opportunity to move to New York City and work at Food Network. Once I was here, it seemed like if there were ever a time to attend culinary school, it was now going to be in the heart of the food world while working at my dream job. I investigated the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and the International Culinary Center (ICC) for about a year.
I wanted to learn more about each program, even though in my heart I had always seem myself at ICE. Beyond just getting a feel for the school and the programs, I needed to plot out the financials and figure out timing of taking night classes while working full time still. I started applying to scholarships and talking with coworkers who had been through the programs. This was going to be a big investment of time and money for a year of my life, so I wanted to do it right! Everyone I spoke to gave a resounding, “YES!” that it was worth every component. There was no way I was going to walk away from the program regretting it. If anything, I was going to regret NOT doing this.
After another tour of ICE, I knew the school was the one. The campus moved downtown to a brand-new facility in Brookfield Place in 2015, so it’s spacious, bright and has all these gorgeous windows looking out on the Hudson River. You know that feeling students say they feel when they walk onto a college campus and just know it’s where they are supposed to be? That’s how I feel at ICE.
Months of consideration and research went by… and finally it was time to take the plunge and enroll! August 2019 seemed like the right time to go “back to school” like the old days and start the program. I’m enrolled in the culinary arts program, taking classes Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6-10pm. We are halfway done and I’ll be in class through the end of May. Then, I start my externship! I’ll be in the kitchen of a restaurant on the weekends for four months next summer. It’s going to be crazy, exhausting, exhilarating and everything in between. I cannot wait.
At the end of the day, the real reason I decided to go back to school? As simple as this sounds, it’s to learn! I want to know the “why” behind everything and have the answers and knowledge to share with others. Working at Food Network has given me the privilege of interacting with some of the best chefs and culinary teams in the industry. Hearing them teach and share information with our fans has been incredible. I felt like a sponge every time we were filming a Facebook live or listening to our culinary team talk about recipes. I, too, wanted to know these answers and be able to share this with you all! I might not be able to get as scientific as Alton Brown, but I want to absorb and experience everything I can to expand my culinary knowledge! (And share with you!!) I cannot wait to see where this journey takes me and all the ways I can grow in the kitchen.
We are halfway done with the program and really want to take time now to reflect on my experience so far. It’s time to share it with you beyond Instagram! I’ll be back on the blog to share more and give you updates on the courses. Thanks for following along in the journey!
Love food. Love self. Love life.