By: Ocean Babin, Pastry Arts Student
One of the first things the chefs emphasize to the students and continually does so, as time quickly approaches the final days of school, is to secure your externship.
What is an externship? It is a time near the end or at the end of the course that we go to work, either with pay or without pay, and we spend a certain amount of hours practicing what we have learned in school.
As I wrote above the chefs often spoke about preparing for it because it approaches quickly. I did not prepare for my externship because I thought I had a long time, but then one day I realized that we are near the end and I still do not have a place to go.
A long time ago, in the beginning of the course, we made cookies and I dreamt of being the Cookie Monster, but I had no desire to paint myself blue and I have a bad habit of eating too many cookies. After cookies, we made petite fours, so I wanted to be a great pastry chef and make little pastries filled with delicious creams and then there was ice cream and tortes and on and on.
Chocolate happened. During the time we spent in chocolate, tempering it, creating with it and eating it (I always had the evidence on my face), I was certain that I wanted to be Willy Wonka and own a chocolate factory, but we made breads.
Bread is one my favourite things to bake. Bread for me was therapeutic because of the process. I loved the whole process of mixing it by hand, proofing it, kneading it, scoring it, baking it and eating it (it was never evident that I had eaten the bread because it did not leave traces on my face).
How will I go on an externship when I cannot make a decision on which area of Pastry Arts to specialize in? This question haunted me in my dreams, but as with everything else in Escoffier School of Culinary Arts I did not have to worry.
During one of the weeks entrepreneurship I was offered an externship which was perfect for me. Our chef had told me that the school wanted me to write for the school blog and continue working in the Purchasing Department. This was perfect for me. It gives me time to finish the remaining five weeks of school and time to look for a place that will allow me to bake breads, cookies, petite fours and make chocolates or possibly one of those.
I have not actually utilized it as most students do, but there is a little office here at the Boulder Campus, which has a man named Mark, Chef Mark, and he is there waiting with a ton of connections. He is your best friend when it comes time to search for an externship. I have heard and read about many students who have gone to successful externships in the U.S. and abroad to Europe, in which they were offered a job after completion because of Chef Mark.
As for me, perhaps I will grow as a writer and continue to write about food for a famous food blog. The future is an open highway with many twist, turns and perhaps a few forks to take. Escoffier has given me tools to start this journey and they have many resources for me if I have a need for it.