Culinarily Speaking

Cheers! To a new year, doing new things and having fun doing them. Recently I joined a panel to speak at The San Diego Unified School District’s 2024 Culinary Career College Symposium, sponsored by Intuit. This event was held as a gala to celebrate the release of a new food truck to be run by San Diego High School culinary students.

For me, there were a few points of interest. First of all…high school culinary students? What? Apparently, there are several schools in town with legit, college grade culinary programs. Programs that ready students to enter the workforce right out of high school. That’s rad, I wish I had had that option. My education was great, but saving those two years and being ready to enter a professional kitchen that early would have been a great jump start. It also allows kids to get their feet wet and decide if it’s something they’re really passionate about. Rather than loose two years floundering, which happens so often when kids enter college.

Intuit sponsoring food trucks for students to operate is another wonderful asset. Not only are food trucks a vital wave of the culinary future, but it’s an efficient way to give students hands on, real world experience.

Public Speaking

Teaching cooking classes used to be a heavy load to my job as a personal chef. I enjoyed it for about 15 years. Clients I engage with know immediately that casually conversing and talking through what I’m doing is part of who I am. Furthermore, setting people at ease is something I’m usually conscious about. I’m a stranger in their home providing a somewhat intimate experience and I want them to feel they made the right decision bringing me in.

But, I hadn’t been in front of a large group in quite a while, and boy, was I sweating. Going into it I knew it was for high school kids and that can be a bit daunting. There isn’t another age group so intent on communicating their ambivalence and structured discontent. I love it; and vividly remember the feeling at that age. Luckily, I didn’t get eye rolled or groaned at. I think my perspective and journey in the field was a welcome and valued touch.

This event brought back memories of my beginnings at culinary school. It was invigorating to see the future of the craft starting early and getting the support they need.