Marc J. Aguilera
The Art Institute of Indianapolis
You'll become what you've invested in your career. Marc J Aguilera , Academic Director , The Art Institute of Indianapolis
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
It was when I turned eight and started cooking in my house. I went on to culinary school in Paris when I was in my teens.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I draw from my professional experiences, from the kitchen and production area to the front of the house. I’ve worked in a wide variety of settings, from a presidential palace to business and industry, city clubs and country clubs, campus dining to retirement communities. I share real-world anecdotes that point out the challenges and opportunities that await my students.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In Latin Cuisine, students must identify random ingredients from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America in zip-lock bags by name for the final cooking and ingredient knowledge exam.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
With the rise of the Portfolio show for the Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and Baking & Pastry program areas, students need to be able to use the same software that students in the Graphic & Web Design and Digital Photography program areas use. When students from different programs share their knowledge, everybody benefits.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Apply yourself totally. Practice the skills that’ll make you employable. Try not to miss a single class. And be on time—that means five minutes early, not five minutes late.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
You’ll become what you’ve invested in your career.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Our strong core of Culinary students keeps our programs vibrant.