Chef Gregory Millo
The Art Institute of Houston
If you're not having fun, you're not learning. Chef Gregory Millo , Culinary Instructor , The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I remember cooking with my grandmother and watching Julia Child on TV together when I was very young. I really enjoyed it, and I decided I wanted to cook and create for others when I grew up.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I run the classroom like a professional kitchen, and I want students to appreciate the rigors of the profession they’ve chosen. I hold them to high expectations with the understanding that it’s a classroom environment and we’re all here to learn and grow together. I share the range of opportunities available in the industry to try and expand their horizons when they begin their job search.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In Nutritional Cooking, I introduce students to the concept of working in a hospital nutritionist care facility. By cooking various dietary-needs meals that taste and look great, they understand how and why reducing calories from fats and carbs can build a foundation for bettering a patient’s health and wellness. Students must pass a final practical in which they receive a blind basket of ingredients and create a four-course meal under 750 calories.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
If you’re not having fun, you’re not learning.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
When work becomes stressful, or you get burned out from creating the same cuisines over and over, try changing the scenery and expanding your interests. You could try contract work on a cruise ship, work at an overseas resort, be a camp boss in the Klondike...don’t be afraid to go for it.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I enjoy helping students expand their horizons and mentoring them in their student-run chef club.