Mariela H. Genco

Mariela Genco

Gather all the information you can. Experience as much as possible. And adapt to what life throws at you. Mariela H. Genco , Chef Instructor , The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

It had to be when I was a little girl and my mother found me in the kitchen trying to make a "peach cake," which consisted of everything I could possibly find that had something to do with baking. That’s when I knew a 9-to-5 job just wasn't going to cut it. I needed more of an outlet.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

My teaching style revolves around how the industry really works, based on my experience. And I make sure my students understand what employers will expect of them once they enter the work force.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring, and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

I feel that all my assignments inspire students to push themselves and move out of their comfort zones. The more they go beyond their limits, the more they learn and grow as people and professionals.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Collaboration is very important to student success. In the culinary industry, you’re a member of a team that works together to accomplish a common objective. Buying into the team concept usually leads to positive results—not only in the classroom, but also in a professional kitchen.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Gather all the information you can. Experience as much as possible. And adapt to what life throws at you.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Make sure this is the creative career you want, because this industry is hard. Not being absolutely sure just won’t cut it.

Anything else you’d like to share?

My position as a chef instructor lets me combine my passion for culinary with the structure of higher education.