By: Ryan Hodros, Pastry and Culinary Arts Student
New Perspectives is one of my favorite entries to write on this blog because it gives me an excuse to get back in contact with my old classmates and find out what they’ve been up to. I got really close to my Pastry classmates at Auguste Escoffier, and I miss seeing them every day.
I’ve already interviewed Genevieve Dodd and Rose Mcpherson, and this month I’m introducing you to Amanda Simon. In addition to being one of the most positive people I’ve met in my life, Amanda and I have more in common than most of our classmates because we both left college in order to attend Escoffier. She’s also more adventurous than most people, so it was fun hearing about what she’s been up to since class ended.
Escoffier: Why did you get into the Pastry Arts?
Simon: Halfway through college I realized I never wanted to be trapped in a cubicle, and that I was wasting my time pursuing a degree that would ensnare me so. I always had a “some-day” dream of owning my own bakery/ café, because I love making any type of baked good, and I love the atmosphere. So why not get specialized training in that field?
Escoffier: What made you pick Escoffier?
Simon: Firstly, because I’m getting up there in age, and I wanted a fast paced program that allowed me to get-in, get-out, and get-on with life. Secondly, I’m a closet hippie, and Escoffier’s dedication to the farm-to-table movement, excellent composting practices, and in-general Earth-friendliness drew me in. Lastly, they were the only culinary school I visited that I genuinely liked all the staff I met on the tour.
Escoffier: What was your favorite part of Pastry School?
Simon: Getting to learn candy-making and chocolatier tricks. Two fields that were never really realistic to try and do at home, but were downright fun to learn!
Escoffier: What was your least favorite part of Pastry School?
Simon: Dishes. I’m still learning, and boy howdy does that equate to a big mess!
Escoffier: What have you been up to since finishing the program?
Simon: Interned at Panzano in Denver under Pastry Chef Amy Sayles. Then traveled to Utah to be a mountain-loving kid one last time. Also to see if moving to Park City is a realistic dream (it is!!)
Escoffier: What are your plans for the future?
Simon: Live in some beautiful mountain town where I can ski and hike whenever I like, and to work at a resort restaurant or bakery under someone with a lot to teach (I still want to learn). Eventually learn the brewery trade, then open up my own bakery/brew house and call my life well-lived.
Escoffier: Many students stress about finding an externship. Any advice?
Simon: Don’t be afraid to ask the career service team, they work miracles. And please, don’t give up, someone wants you.
Escoffier: What’s your favorite thing to make?
Simon: Bread. Delicious, yeasty, please get in my mouth now bread.
Escoffier: What advice do you have to share with future students?
Simon: Your time at Escoffier is short, try your best to milk the most out of it. Ask so many questions that your Chef wants to strangle you, go in for tutoring, research vigorously. I wish I had.
Amanda always made our time in class more fun that it could have been, and it was great to hear everything she’s been up to. Seeing her at graduation was a lot of fun, and I wish her nothing but the best! And I’m really excited for the day when she opens her own brewery!