Chef ShaSha Gideo

Hospitality Food & Beverage Management

Chef Instructor, Culinary Arts
The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University

Chef ShaSha Gideo

One of my motto's in life is that there is no substitution for experience. Until you have tasted it, touched it, and been there, you don’t have the full experience. Chef ShaSha Gideo , Chef Instructor, Culinary Arts , The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

One could say that I fell into becoming a Chef. I have owned and operated three businesses including a catering & event company, a coffee company and a family owned Italian restaurant. In addition, I have worked in country clubs, fine dining and elite private clubs. Through all of this experience, I decided to take a few culinary classes on the side and eventually found myself completing a degree in Culinary Arts with a specialty in baking and pastry. Although I love my sweets, I think it is imperative for every chef to understand the savory side of cooking. 

My family is from Italy and I had the opportunity to live in Siena, work in high-end restaurants, and be mentored by different Executive Chefs, while studying the rich language and culture. Italy remains as one of my favorite places to travel. While I owned my businesses, I pursued my MBA and also have completed my Masters in Education. I consider myself a lifelong learner and traveler.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

I incorporate passion and enthusiasm into my classroom by marrying relevant stories from my life experiences and pertinent knowledge from my formal education. I also pride myself on exposing my students to practical knowledge. One of my motto's in life is that there is no substitution for experience. Until you have tasted it, touched it, and been there, you don’t have the full experience.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

In my classroom I do not place an emphasis on my lectures. Instead, I have students work through chapters, both in groups and individually, and present what they have learned to the class. At the end of the class I ask each and every student what they learned during our session. This approach not only opens our discussions, but also sharpens student’s presentation and speaking skills, problem solving, accountability, and focus. Class is not about the teacher, it’s about the student and finding the best way to connect. As a teacher, I believe that I am an interactive facilitator in place to guide and direct you. Additionally, I use humor in the classroom to help students relate to concepts and trigger their long-term memory.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

Enthusiasm is the key to success. I believe that you cannot teach enthusiasm. In my classes, I try to invite students to explore new and different things to inspire enthusiasm. I also emphasize that their lives and careers will not follow a linear path. Even though my students are studying one subject in school it does not mean that it will encompass their entire life. I challenge them to keep learning to be stimulated and exposed to what they want to do next.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

I have traveled to over 30 countries around the globe and collect both authentic music and cook books from each place I visit. Whenever I travel, I compile a list of 10-15 things that I’ve never done in that country. While I’m visiting, I do complete my entire list to keep life interesting and exciting. It pushes me to learn more about the culture. 

I also play the violin and I am the original owner of my ‘fun’ car, a 78’ Corvette. In addition to teaching, I am also the Director of Special Events for The Chefs De Cuisine, San Diego Chapter. I recently was featured on the Travel Channel on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.