The Art Institute of Houston
Never stop learning. Katherine Buck , Instructor , The Art Institute of Houston
M.S., Food Management, Manchester Metropolitan University
B.B.A., Management / International Studies, Baylor University
A.A.S., Culinary Arts, The Art Institute of Houston
Professional experience since 2008 includes: Sales and Event Coordinator, Heaven on Earth Catering; Kitchen Manger/Pastry Chef, The Texas Tea Room; Personal Chef/Administrator, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart; Administrative Assistant for Global Sourcing, Academy Sports and Outdoors.
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I’ve always had a passion for creativity. I always wanted to help out in the kitchen at home—I got such joy out of playing with dough or stirring the pots. I found such pleasure in learning all I could about food and the culinary industry, and I decided I wanted to share that knowledge and passion with others.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I teach my students that there’s more to our industry than just being a chef at a restaurant. You can own your own catering firm, work as a corporate chef, or even work as a grocery store buyer. I remind them that just knowing how to cook isn’t enough. They need to prepare themselves to become the next generation of leaders in this industry.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
All of my project assignments are intended to give students some flexibility in the topics they research, speak about, or create a proposal for. I don’t want them to think there’s only one way to think about a problem. I also want them to share their interests with their classmates and with me. That way, we all learn something new, or think about something in a way that we might not have before.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Teaming up with students from other programs is good for everyone. When I talk to students about creating a personal website to showcase the dishes they’ve created, I encourage them to work with students from other disciplines who are eager to showcase their own talents as well. It’s a great way to combine all their skills and creativity to everyone’s benefit.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Never stop learning. You can never know everything there is to know.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I love teaching and hearing students’ passions come alive. They teach me something new every day, as well.