February 12, 2014

Julie Gomoll, Culinary Arts Student

Culinary Arts student Julie Gomoll started classes at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in June of 2013. She came to the campus after taking a break from a successful career in the design technology industry.

Escoffier: What made you decide to attend the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts at the age of 50?
Gomoll: I had lost my passion for the work I was doing. I’ve been a technology and design entrepreneur my whole career. I’ve built and run many businesses. I’ve been wildly successful at some and failed at others. While I still loved design and technology, I just needed to do something new and different, something I could really dive into. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but never considered doing anything serious with it. When my food blog started getting popular, I started really working at becoming a better cook. The idea of culinary school seemed almost silly because I was pretty certain I wasn’t going to open a restaurant. I kept visiting the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts website though, and thought if I did go to culinary school, this would be the place.

One day I visited the site and did the “live chat” option. We chatted for fifteen minutes and I started to get really excited at the possibility of attending Escoffier. By the end of the chat, I was sitting tall in my chair with a big smile on my face. Minutes later I got an email about a particularly tough design project and within minutes I was hunched over my keyboard scowling. I was so clear in that moment that I was burned out. It was almost a relief. I decided right then that if I was still excited about attending school after selling my house (which turned out to be six months later), I would go for it. The house sold. I was excited and I jumped in.

Escoffier: Has it been what you expected? Did anything surprise you?
Gomoll: I’m kind of amazed at just how much I enjoy it all. I knew I’d learn a ton – that was no surprise at all. But it was really cool to realize there are things about this work that I really want in my world. One aspect that I love: things get finished. There’s a point at which you’re done. With design projects, software projects, websites, etc. – they’re never done. Designs evolve, software needs updating and websites need maintenance. But when you cook a dish, it’s done. The recipe might evolve, but the dish is done. I love all of that nearly instant gratification! I was a bit worried about the physical pace of the kitchen, but I ended up loving it and I found that I really didn’t have any trouble keeping up with the rest of my group.

Escoffier: So you’re about to go out to an externship, right? What are your plans?
Gomoll: I’ll leave in late February to do my culinary externship in Ecuador. I love traveling and have never been to Ecuador, so I’ll be spending three months there working at a few different hotels. I’m so excited!

Escoffier: What do you see yourself doing after you graduate? Heading back into the design/tech industry?
Gomoll: After graduation?I haven’t decided yet. I have several ideas percolating. They all involve design, technology and food.

Escoffier: Well, I’m sure whatever you do will be great. Thanks for sharing, Julie!