Pastry Chef, La Valencia Hotel
The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University
[My academic advisor instilled in] me a sense of discipline and to respect your teachers. It was humbling yet very informative. I owe a lot to all the instructors and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to work and learn under them. Laura Arias , Pastry Chef, La Valencia Hotel Associate of Science in Culinary Arts, 2015 , The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University
Laura Arias is a pastry chef at La Valencia Hotel. She’s responsible for filling dessert orders on the line during busy lunch and dinner services and preparing various desserts for hotel banquets, parties, and special events. “I prepare fresh baked dinner rolls, replenish pastry stock, [create] various ice creams and sorbets for the dessert menu, and fulfil [requests] for special guests.” Laura also makes cakes for hotel guests and steps in when needed on the hot line, as garde manger, or as a general helper during the dinner rush.
Laura refers to her coworkers as “family” and describes her work environment as “hectic.” She adds that balancing her career and family life is one of the biggest challenges she’s faced. “Life hit hard for me and my family this past summer. We had a death in the family. It wasn't unexpected but it was definitely not welcomed. Sometimes we need to put our careers on the back burners to [handle what] happens in our personal lives.”
But when she’s in the kitchen, she’s fully committed to her work. “[My career] requires a lot of dedication, perseverance, and discipline. In order to excel, you have to want it—even if it means going out of your way or doing things you never thought you’d be able to do.” She also works to bring a feeling of positivity to the kitchen, believing that positive energy and spreading “good vibes” are beneficial to her work environment.
Laura takes pride in a job well done. “[I enjoy] the satisfaction that it gives to others. The long days standing on my feet and running around the entire hotel is all worth it when I can make someone's day [with] my desserts. As long as they enjoy my [creations], that’s all that matters to me.”
Laura, who in 2015 earned an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of California—San Diego, says that her education prepared her for the real world. “I had no prior experience in the industrial kitchen before I attended school. I just mainly worked from my home baking cakes and breads for family and friends. [In school], I learned how to treat the kitchen with respect.”
She credits her skills instructor and academic advisor, Chef John Miller, with teaching her to be strong in the kitchen, always have an open mind, keep working harder, and never give up. “He [instilled in] me a sense of discipline and to respect your teachers. It was humbling yet very informative. I owe a lot to all the instructors and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to work and learn under them.
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