As a career changer, Ramona Brown has a bit of an advantage over the majority of her culinary school peers: years in a kitchen honing her skills. When she decided she wanted to go to Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, it wasn’t to “learn how to cook” but more to perfect the techniques she has spent years acquiring so her creativity can take the wheel. And she’s loving every minute of it. Balancing her professional career in addition to a full course load, Brown has yet to give anything less than 100% in her coursework and her class time.
She took some time out of her busy life to fill us in on why she chose Escoffier, share some time management tips and her big travel plans after graduation.
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: Why did you want to go to culinary school?
Ramona Brown: To break the rules! Once you learn the correct ways to create something, that’s when you have enough knowledge to explore. I want to learn all I can and that always has to do with education, experience, and curiosity; which I am given here at Escoffier.
AESCA: Why did you choose Escoffier?
RB: I get to come to beautiful Boulder, Colorado! On top of that, I get the opportunity to be taught by some of the best and most knowledgeable in the industry.
AESCA: What have you enjoyed most about culinary school?
RB: Everything, honestly. The more blocks I complete, the more I fall in love with food and all that surrounds it.
AESCA: What’s been your favorite lesson?
RB: The baguette day has been my favorite so far. It has really opened my eyes to how incredible bread is.
AESCA: You currently work full-time on top of attending school. What is that experience like?
RB: It has its challenges, definitely. But the rewards are much greater. I get to use the techniques I learn and actually apply them to my professional life.
AESCA: How do you balance your work load and school work?
RB: The hours aren’t bad. I get to surround myself with food for about 17 hours. The homework aspect, I squeeze in during the slow time. I would like to be able to volunteer more at school, but my work hours don’t really allow that, so it’s just part of the sacrifice. If it weren’t for my body physically needing sleep, I would just be thinking of, reading about and eating food 24/7.
AESCA: What advice do you have for others who are considering doing the same?
RB: Do it. Do not give yourself excuses to not to. Especially if you’re younger and have the time. Food is where life is. This is where I am meant to be, so it isn’t hard at all. Not when you’re passionate and in love; time does not exist in the kitchen; everything is a dance and just flows.
AESCA: What are your goals after you finish school?
RB: I will travel the world, learn to cook traditionally and write about my adventures. Then come back to the states and see where I go from here. I really would love to work under Nancy Silverton and study her bread making skills.