$1,000 Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship Award Winner
I was never quite sure what sort of a career I wanted. I thought I would be an editor for a newspaper, but I didn’t want to be a journalist first and knew that I would have to climb the ladder properly if I wanted to edit. I had done a lot of technical theater in high school, but it was very clique-y. Then one day, after attending a workshop on life goals, I realized what single activity has drawn me consistently and repeatedly over the years: cooking.
I learned as a girl how to make a roux at my mother’s side in front of our stove and helped make sandwiches for bag lunches in grade school for homeless food drives. I made sushi and desserts for amateur catering events, volunteered in college for a local convention’s hospitality department making meals for over three hundred staff members three times a day (which I started doing again this year), and helped to cook a yearly banquet put on by my college’s Medieval & Renaissance Club. I got my first professional experience near Freiburg, Germany in the kitchen of a café as the dishwasher and prep cook, doing desserts and a lot of potato and carrot peeling. I also worked behind the bar of a traditional German restaurant, where I quickly learned to tap a perfect beer. Most importantly, I loved every minute of it, even the stress and adrenaline of getting a meal (or lots of meals) out with a time limit. There were some mistakes and failures, like the spinach dumplings that didn’t have enough binding and fell apart into mush when I cooked them, but I always learned from my mistakes and never became discouraged.
My time abroad taught me a lot about how many different cultures can work together, like when I (an American) was working in a kitchen in Germany with a French chef and an Iraqi prep cook. I would love to go abroad again to work in foreign kitchens and experience more of that wonderful diversity.
Ultimately, it was all these experiences together that inspired me to take action and apply for culinary school. I loved being in a busy, well-organized kitchen, loved the thrill of seeing my chefs take quality ingredients and combine them (often within minutes) to make something appealing to both eye and palate. That, to me, is the ultimate triumph of a chef and my personal goal as a culinary student, which will be greatly helped with a scholarship like this one.