Chef Jacq, MSL, CCC
Baking & Pastry
The Art Institute of Houston
Love what you do, and you'll never work a day in your life. Chef Jacq, MSL, CCC , Culinary Instructor , The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
Since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by the arts. I spent most of my time drawing and painting. I wanted to be an artist, but my school counselors advised me to find a creative career where I could make a living. The fine arts weren’t considered a realistic option at the time. By age 15, I was introduced to a fancy and creative pastry team in my hometown of Luneville in France. I learned how to be creative and artistic with food while making a living and traveling the world.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
No matter how well-written culinary books are, they never tell the whole story of what’s really going on out there in the field. I share my extensive industry background with students in the form of stories and experiences they can relate to. I call on my unique expertise and an artist, pastry chef, and savory chef to help make the learning real.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I’m all about tasting new and unfamiliar foods. Since I believe that taste is acquired, my motto is, “Taste a new food until you like it.” Future chefs must broaden their range of culinary appreciation. Limiting your own taste buds will, in the end, limit what you’ll offer your customers.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Because I’m not only a chef but also an artist and photographer, I’ve always promoted cooperation and collaboration among programs. The international and cultural student club I sponsor is an example of that. Teamwork is indispensable in any industry.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Passion. I read somewhere, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I would add, never stop learning, changing and adapting to new circumstances, trends, and styles. Make your life interesting, challenging, and rewarding. Communicate well. Listen well. And understand others.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
No matter how fun and creative your career, there are always tasks that just need to be taken care of. Deal with those first so you can get back to the fun of doing what you love to do.