What does creativity mean to you?
I have a constant need to need to be moving, doing something constructive. I channel that energy and creativity through food; this growing and evolving industry demands creativity every day.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My professional culinary experience lets me share what I’ve learned, and I do my best to keep students current on industry trends and market demands. Working at a bakery, I’m always interacting with colleagues and managers who demand accountability and have real-world expectations, and that’s the kind of reality I pass along in the classroom.
How would you describe your approach to teaching?
I believe every student needs to feel they’re engaged in an individual learning experience. I focus on the needs of each student, coaching them as to why they need the course competencies and how to put them into practice. I have high expectations, which prompts them to accept the responsibility and accountability they’ll need to excel in today's culinary workplace.
How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
My goal is to teach students to think for themselves—and bake or cook accordingly.
Pushing them outside their comfort zone is a big part of that. In my chocolate & sugar class, for example, I assign chocolate centerpieces in teams and sugar centerpieces as individuals. The project is designed to create a sense of accomplishment by pushing students further than they think they can go.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Success is up to each student. How much success do they want, and how hard are they willing to work for it?