February 12, 2014

Culinary Arts student Julie Gomoll started classes at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in June of 2013. She came to the campus after taking a break from a successful career in the design technology industry.

Escoffier: What made you decide to attend the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts at the age of 50?
Gomoll: I had lost my passion for the work I was doing. I’ve been a technology and design entrepreneur my whole career. I’ve built and run many businesses. I’ve been wildly successful at some and failed at others. While I still loved design and technology, I just needed to do something new and different, something I could really dive into. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but never considered doing anything serious with it. When my food blog started getting popular, I started really working at becoming a better cook. The idea of culinary school seemed almost silly because I was pretty certain I wasn’t going to open a restaurant. I kept visiting the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts website though, and thought if I did go to culinary school, this would be the place.

One day I visited the site and did the “live chat” option. We chatted for fifteen minutes and I started to get really excited at the possibility of attending Escoffier. By the end of the chat, I was sitting tall in my chair with a big smile on my face. Minutes later I got an email about a particularly tough design project and within minutes I was hunched over my keyboard scowling. I was so clear in that moment that I was burned out. It was almost a relief. I decided right then that if I was still excited about attending school after selling my house (which turned out to be six months later), I would go for it. The house sold. I was excited and I jumped in.

Escoffier: Has it been what you expected? Did anything surprise you?
Gomoll: I’m kind of amazed at just how much I enjoy it all. I knew I’d learn a ton – that was no surprise at all. But it was really cool to realize there are things about this work that I really want in my world. One aspect that I love: things get finished. There’s a point at which you’re done. With design projects, software projects, websites, etc. – they’re never done. Designs evolve, software needs updating and websites need maintenance. But when you cook a dish, it’s done. The recipe might evolve, but the dish is done. I love all of that nearly instant gratification! I was a bit worried about the physical pace of the kitchen, but I ended up loving it and I found that I really didn’t have any trouble keeping up with the rest of my group.

Escoffier: So you’re about to go out to an externship, right? What are your plans?
Gomoll: I’ll leave in late February to do my culinary externship in Ecuador. I love traveling and have never been to Ecuador, so I’ll be spending three months there working at a few different hotels. I’m so excited!

Escoffier: What do you see yourself doing after you graduate? Heading back into the design/tech industry?
Gomoll: After graduation?I haven’t decided yet. I have several ideas percolating. They all involve design, technology and food.

Escoffier: Well, I’m sure whatever you do will be great. Thanks for sharing, Julie!