January 2, 2014

Student Melissa Reimer knew that after high school graduation she wanted to attend pastry school. Encouraged by her family to not only attend a pastry program, but a culinary one as well, Reimer can share first-hand the benefit of attending both programs (Culinary Arts October 2012, Pastry Arts September 2013). Here Reimer shares a bit about how she chose to attend Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, her plans for the future, and why it’s okay to make mistakes in class.

Escoffier: How did you choose to attend Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts?
Reimer: Because they focus on cooking. I don’t have to take pointless classes; I can just come to school and cook all day and all night. I can just do what I love.

Escoffier: If you want to be a pastry chef, why attend both the Culinary Arts and Pastry Arts programs?
Reimer: I actually wanted to do the pastry program first, but my family told me to do culinary first and then pastry so that I can be well rounded within the industry. I see that now; it benefits me. For example, as a pastry chef, if you’re needed on the line you can do that. Or, you can bake a cake. [Having both culinary and pastry training] makes you more valuable.

Escoffier: Does your experience in Culinary Arts affect how you approach pastry? Or vice versa?
Reimer: [Culinary Arts training] has been helping sweet and savory come together for me. Pastry is more of a science, so I might be more aware, more careful, when approaching cooking.

Escoffier: Tell us a bit about your goals after graduation.
Reimer: Ultimately I want to open a bakery one day…which I kind of am doing right now with some other people. We are going to start out as a food truck (in the Boulder area) with a breakfast and lunch menu before opening a storefront. It’s going to be called Sugar High Bakery. I heard about the position through a friend. [The other team members] don’t have baking experience so I would get to do menu ideas!

Escoffier: Wow; that sounds really cool! Knowing this next step, does it affect how you approach class each day?
Reimer: It is definitely making me pay attention in school more and has me thinking of garnishes. It also has me thinking more [intensely] about the business aspect and [generally] gets me more interested in pastry.

Escoffier: Do you feel that school is preparing you to start a business?
Reimer: Oh yeah, school has such nice support groups. If I am unsure of something I can just go talk to a chef and they can help me. There’s an endless amount of help here. Right now, I need to ask Chef Ashlea for a carrot cake recipe. I haven’t had much luck and she seems very resourceful.

Escoffier: Would you recommend students take both programs?
Reimer: Yeah, I would because it makes you more valuable. Be ready, it is high-paced and quick. You start and then you are done. I wish I had taken culinary more seriously because it is a great program. Give it your all; you may mess up, but it’s school; you can’t get fired at school.