MSM, CFE, Culinary Instructor
The Art Institute of Las Vegas
What you put in is what you get out. Nobody's going to hand you anything. Michelle Vietmeier , MSM, CFE, Culinary Instructor , The Art Institute of Las Vegas
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
Several small, creative successes made me realize this is something I enjoy. Each time I created something, whether it was food, a drawing, a painting or yarn work, I realized that working with my hands to create "something" made me feel connected to my past, present and future.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My diverse background in and out of foodservice, and my love of travel and adventure, help us look at the industry from different perspectives. We compare and contrast one type of service to another; we explore new flavor combinations, while appreciating the classics; we discover how a dish served in one country is similar to a dish served in another. By weaving my experiences—and those of my students—into the discussion, they realize they’ve chosen an exciting career field with endless opportunities.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I have students cost a recipe, calculating the number of servings, adding ingredients and measurements, researching yield percentage, doing weight conversions, doing calculations, analyzing, and finally getting a result. Throughout this assignment, I stress that good results require time and effort, and that learning is a lifelong journey. I try to instill in students that a failed attempt is not a total failure. Through our "failures," we learn how to analyze what went wrong and how to fix it.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
I believe collaboration develops a stronger sense of community. Here’s an example: My Senior Practicum class put together an "Art and Brew" dinner. The Culinary students created the menu, prepared the meal and served the guests. They asked Graphic Design students to contribute themed artwork for a mini art show. And Audio Production students came up with the live entertainment. All that teamwork made the event a success, and they all learned something new from each other.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Being a professional requires a good attitude. That’s not something they can read in a book or I can teach them in a lecture. However, it can be demonstrated every day through hard work, respect for self and others, and by being a positive role model.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
What you put in is what you get out. Nobody’s going to hand you anything. You don’t get a great-paying job, a TV show, etc. without first putting in the hard work and dedication to learning your craft.