Darcey Chambers, CCE, CEPC, CHEP
Baking & Pastry
The Art Institute of Atlanta
I believe that one of the many roles for instructors is to help students meet the demands of learning. Darcey Chambers - CCE, CEPC, CHEP , Chef Instructor , The Art Institute of Atlanta
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
Becoming a chef was more of a process than one defining moment. Like most chefs, cooks, and culinary professionals, the transition is a natural move based on love for the craft. Being a chef is inherent to who I am—from the art of it to the science of it, the business side and the physical side. The work can be hard but it is very rewarding.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession
Teaching is an interactive process that involves mentoring, promoting self-efficacy, advising and collaborating with students. Bringing industry experience to the classroom is more than just talk—it takes action. Working side by side with each individual student, motivating, inspiring, and challenging them to use learned skills needed for success, is a constant opportunity. There will be many struggles and successes in the kitchen. The ability to overcome the struggles and use the successes to challenge oneself is a reality, not only in the kitchen, but in life.
Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
One class assignment that I give is to ask the question, “If you were one piece of kitchen equipment, what would you be and why?” This encourages the student to think about and verbalize their skill set, strengths, and weaknesses. It also provides me the opportunity to learn more about each individual so that I can encourage them with clear, tangible instruction that they can use to reach their potential.
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
Cross-functional collaboration for the implementation of a shared vision is a recipe for success. The association between ideas often results in innovative and high-impact outcomes. Collaboration creates a win for the team and for the individual.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?
The ability to overcome obstacles and transform them into positive results is important in the class and in the real world. To be critical of one’s own work in a discerning manner is a skill that can be learned and mastered. There will always be challenges and setbacks in life but with these there will always be opportunities for improvement. I believe that one of the many roles for instructors is to help students meet the demands of learning.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?
I love to use ingredients in unusual ways—such as savory components in baking & pastry—that surprise and delight the palate and the individual.