Chef Julie

Culinary Faculty Member Chef Julie

It's okay to make a mistake. That's where the best learning moments come from. Chef Julie , Pastry Instructor
, The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

When I was a little girl, I’d always complain about my mother’s cooking. One day she said, “Then you may cook dinner.” She handed me a cookbook, gave me a budget to make my grocery list, then drove me to the store. I’ve been cooking and baking ever since.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I’m still active in the local culinary scene, participating in local food events and working on event committees. Recently, I worked on the guest chef coordination team for the Austin Food & Wine festival. And I’m on the development and execution team for a new culinary event highlighting women in the industry. I use my experience to provide current, real-life perspectives about the industry and jobs. And I tap my professional network to arrange field trips so students can get a first-hand look at culinary professionals in their everyday environment.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

We spend a lot of time providing recipes to our Culinary students and teaching them foundation skills. In each of my baking classes, students must find or create a recipe based on the course curriculum and execute it. I want them to be able to look at a recipe and understand how to execute it through the process they’ve learned in class.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

In culinary, I’d call it collective execution. We teach students to work in teams, not as a single person, because that’s how professional kitchens operate.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

It’s okay to make a mistake. That’s where the best learning moments come from.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Listen to your chef, ask questions, and come to work prepared.

Anything else you’d like to share?

As an Ai alumnus, I’m proud to be coming full circle in my career. I graduated at a time when pastry degrees didn’t exist; now I’m the lead pastry instructor here.