February 24, 2014

Although she has already run her own in-home pastry business in Germany, graduated from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts’ Pastry Arts program, held an executive pastry chef position and helped open a business, Jamie Warburton is once again a beginner. Warburton recently came back to Escoffier to attend Culinary Arts (January 2013). Dedicated to learning to do things right and making herself more marketable in the business, she marvels at her newfound culinary skills, like making mayonnaise from scratch. Warburton explains the difference between confidence and arrogance, encourages students to ask loads of questions, and explains why she loves Escoffier.

Jamie Warburton, Culinary Arts Student
Jamie Warburton, Culinary Arts Student

Escoffier: After Pastry Arts you were in the field working before deciding to come back to attend the Culinary Arts program. Can you tell us a bit about that decision?
Warburton: One of the happiest moments was when I got my kit for pastry. I absolutely loved it and had an amazing time in the program. After Pastry Arts I had a couple of successes – I was the Executive Pastry Chef for Juju’s Bakery & Café, created products for Regional Makers gift boxes and worked at the Boulder Country Club where I created original desserts. There were also a couple of not so great times – Juju’s closed and I left the job at the Country Club. I decided to make myself more marketable, so I came back for Culinary Arts. One thing I learned is that I can’t corner myself into one thing, even if it is one thing I love. I like to branch out. If I was going to end up on the line anyway, I wanted to learn to do it right. Getting culinary training makes me more marketable: a full culinary chef and pastry chef who knows both the savory and sweet side. Who wouldn’t want two people for the price of one?

Escoffier: What do you think of Culinary Arts?
Warburton: I’m loving it! Right now I’m just loving being back in the kitchens. School really became a home; it is where I’m comfortable. Being back in that environment is like “sigh.” This is where I’m supposed to be. My cohort has meshed so well together; we have amazing energy. I am learning different techniques that I have seen, but now I actually get to do. Like searing, I was never good at it and now I’m getting good! Or mayonnaise, which I was always afraid of and I got it on my first try. I surprised myself. I am learning every day and surprising myself with stuff I didn’t think I could do and doing it.

Escoffier: Can you tell us about the greatest lesson you have learned in either program?
Warburton: I’m discovering that I know a lot more than I thought I did, but it is also making me more humble because I’m afraid of becoming too arrogant. I got knocked down a few pegs in Pastry Arts when I thought I knew how to do things. Assuming you know how to do something breeds arrogance and nobody likes that. It is much better to be humble yet confident. Confidence will come when you are humble enough to understand that you still have to learn. That is something that I had to tackle within myself; this school has taught me to do that.

Escoffier: Do you have any advice to share with current students?
Warburton: Completely read through your recipes from the beginning to the end; it will help with timing and help you have an idea of what is supposed to happen next. Learn from your chefs and your fellow students. Ask questions of everyone and everything. If you don’t know and you want to know, you’re asking. Enjoy the ride. It will go fast. It was gone in a blink of an eye.

Escoffier: What made you come back specifically to Escoffier for Culinary Arts?
Warburton: It’s the people: the administration, the Chef Instructors. It is so welcoming. I’ve considered it kind of a family. Everyone is very passionate about what they do. They are proud of having the “Escoffier” name. Everything that the school stands for – I fell in love with it. I couldn’t see myself going to any other school. I just don’t see the same passion from graduates of other schools that I do from Escoffier students. There is just something extremely special about this school.