From Military Service to Pastry: Escoffier’s Trenin Nubiru’s Unexpected Career Shift

Discover Trenin Nubiru's incredible journey from military engineer to pastry artisan.

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November 22, 2023 10 min read

Life has an uncanny knack for steering us toward uncharted paths, and for Trenin Nubiru, the transition from a communications career in the military to the vibrant realm of baking and pastry materialized as an “unforeseen” twist of fate.

With his heart and mind wide open, a more exhilarating chapter began to unfurl before his very eyes. But how did these two seemingly disparate worlds collide and diverge so profoundly? Better yet, how could he start from scratch…in a completely different career?

This is the story of Trenin Nubiru’s departure from the life he once knew, venturing into the fast-paced universe of baking and pastry.

Seeking a Sign From the Universe

As Laura Lynne Jackson wisely puts it, “When you ask for signs from the Universe, the Universe speaks back.” This sentiment couldn’t be more true when it came to the beginnings of Trenin’s culinary journey. It all began a few years ago when Trenin decided to close the chapter on his military service career. With a desire to explore something completely new, outside of the government realm, he was in desperate need of a sign to guide him in some direction.

So, on a crisp autumn morning in 2021, Trenin found himself wandering through the charming streets of Vinings, Georgia, nestled alongside the tranquil banks of the Chattahoochee River. He stumbled upon a small handwritten “help wanted” sign pressed against the front window of The Whimsy Cookie Company—a boutique bakery exuding an unmistakable charm. In that serendipitous moment, something in Trenin clicked.

“I’ve always been good with the pencil or the pen. That was an easy hobby to carry around with me with the military, because it didn’t require much, you know, a set of pencils and a sketchbook…I could go anywhere with that.”*
Trenin Nubiru
Trenin Nubiru
Escoffier Baking & Pastry Graduate

Memories from his military days surfaced— when he’d spend his free time working in his notebook or perusing the internet for soulful recipes that beckoned him into the kitchen. He then thought: “Wow, this could be it.

The Inner Artist Reemerges

Fuelled by newfound determination, Trenin wasted no time. He walked into the shop with unwavering confidence, introducing himself to the Store Manager, Kendra, and passionately recounted his 20-year military background. He detailed the milestones in his dynamic career path, starting as a saxophone player in the Army band, graduating from West Point with an Electrical Engineering degree, and eventually transferring to Communications as a Captain. Kendra quickly detected Trenin’s inherent ambition and curiosity.

He was hired on the spot.

A culinary student in a white uniform plates madeleine cookies in an industrial kitchen setting.

Trenin Nubiru meticulously plates madeleines in an Escoffier kitchen.

Kendra ushered Trenin into their bustling kitchen, where the air was thick with the tantalizing aroma of warm baked goods in the making. Eager to immerse himself in the art of all things cookies, he rolled up his sleeves, ready to get to true military fashion.

“It took me about two months to figure everything out,” Nubiru said. “But in about two months, I had it down pat. And then I started looking at the decorating. They showed me how to make a rosette, a star, and a dot—basic piping techniques. And then just like that, the artist in me clicked.”*

Armed with a new skill set, Trenin ventured home for Christmas that year and decided to craft a dazzling spread of gourmet cookies for his closest family and friends. It was a moment of affirmation—a resounding declaration that he made the right choice to follow that sign.

Taking the “Tinkering” Mindset to Culinary School

Kendra spotted something special in Trenin—she knew that with his attention to detail and deep love for learning, he could go far as a professional baker. During a break from the line of hungry customers, she took Trenin aside and asked him an important question. Had he ever considered culinary school?

“She was like, look, you need to go do something with this,”* Nurbiru recalls. The owner knew she could only teach him so much, but for Trenin to really flourish and refine his technical skills, culinary school would likely be the next move.

After a few Google searches for “top culinary schools,” he came across Escoffier’s Boulder campus and was immediately drawn to its artistic appeal and vast mountainous terrain.

Two graduating students stand smiling in their uniforms in an auditorium.

Trenin smiles with a fellow graduate at the graduation ceremony in Boulder, CO.

With a little more research under his belt, he enrolled in the Bakery & Pastry degree program, which would be his second degree on top of electrical engineering. After attending just a few classes, Trenin knew he could use his trained “military” brain to his advantage.

“Listen, I have always been like a tinkerer,” he said. “If I want to take a random ingredient and make it into a tart, I need to know how much water content this ingredient has, how it coagulates, how it emulsifies with other ingredients, and then how I can manipulate it.”*

That mindset, along with his military discipline, allowed Trenin to use all the tools at his disposal — his technical prowess, his Chef Instructors, and his imagination — to thrive.

“The learning curve has been vertical. The experience with the chefs is amazing. Each one of them brings something different and unique to the table. I’m listening and I’m absorbing everything. I’m a sponge right now.”*

As he immersed himself into the course curriculum, such as patisserie and cake design, Trenin quickly fell in love with the intricate science behind baking & pastry arts. His desire to engage in something highly technical percolated.

Diving into the Dazzling World of Chocolate

As part of all Escoffier programs, it was time for Trenin to find an externship. So with the help of Career Services, he found his perfect match, which happened to be in the sweet, yet nuanced world of chocolate. Trenin began to work at a local chocolatier called Lift Chocolate, located within walking distance of his apartment in Boulder. He immediately hit it off with the Owner Brandon Busch, who just happened to be a Colonel in the Marines…another serendipitous moment.

“I think he was thrilled to have me working there. He was like, ‘Man, I have an army officer in here working chocolate with me. And I was like, I got a Colonel from the Marines? Working with chocolate is awesome.”* said Nubiru. Playing with chocolate also proved to be that “technical challenge” Trenin has always gravitated towards.

A chef tempers a large quantity of chocolate on a cold marble tabletop, keeping an eye on its temperature with an infrared thermometer.

Chocolate work requires precision, attention to detail, and a little knowledge of science.

“I did a little work with the spray gun and the cocoa butter,” he said. “I put little turtles together and things like that. But I got to work with the chocolate and I got to work with it in hot and cold temperatures. I got to work with fresh cocoa straight from the manufacturer. Like this is how you chocolate.”* Needless to say, he found his sweet spot and was eager to keep experimenting.

As Trenin’s time as Escoffier came to an end, he felt prepared to forge his own path. He knew the school had given him more than just culinary know-how; it also helped him learn how to focus on his goals and bolster his sense of happiness.

“I’m going to give people the advice I give myself. This is what helps me stay focused: following the path of least resistance. In order to do that, I only do what makes me happy. It sounds weird, but I had to learn to do that.”*

With a new set of skills and a deeper wisdom than he started with, Trenin was given the honor of speaking at his Escoffier class graduation ceremony.

An Introduction to Baking Competitions

From his earliest days in the military, Trenin knew he exhibited a highly competitive spirit, a flame he vowed would never flicker out. So when the opportunity arose to become a Lead Advisor for a cooking competition hosted by the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), he couldn’t turn it down.

“Teaching helps my ‘efficiency’ drive. If you give me an opportunity to teach something, then I jump on it, tear it apart even more, and realize I’ve learned something new.”*
Trenin Nubiru
Trenin Nubiru
Escoffier Baking & Pastry Graduate

Trenin was able to see what “healthy” culinary rivalry looked like, while also mentoring over 200 aspiring baking and pastry students. He also witnessed that electric, synergistic feeling of competing with a group of like-minded individuals who all shared the same interests.

By living and breathing this thrilling environment, Trenin felt something profound stirring within him, an ember that would blaze into an even greater passion.

Pursuing an Olympic Pastry Dream

With a deep sense of familiarity within the competitive arena, Trenin now harbors an even more ambitious aspiration: the Pastry Olympics. This prestigious event sees over 50 nations vying for victory through various continental selections and culminates in the grand spectacle of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie. This biennial extravaganza unfolds in the odd years during January at the Eurexpo venue in Lyon, France.

Male baker using a piping bag to create decorations on a baking sheet.

Joining a baking competition can be a rewarding, yet challenging career opportunity!

In Trenin’s eyes, the opportunity to join the US team, known as the Club Coupe du Monde U.S.A, represents the pinnacle of his ambitions. Despite the fact that elite pastry chefs have already been selected to compete for several upcoming years, he’s willing to wait for a spot to open up…however long it takes.

“I’m fixated on winning this Olympics right now. I’m willing to take over the team,”* he said.

Until that moment arrives, Trenin has mapped out an intensive training regimen and plans to buy a commercial kitchen, designed to precisely match the competition’s specifications, ensuring his readiness for the challenge ahead. He also envisions transforming this kitchen space into a thriving enterprise, offering it for lease to local bakers or as a training ground for aspiring culinary talents—a heartfelt gesture of giving back to the very community that propelled him to newfound heights.

A Sweetly Spontaneous Journey Ahead

Setting sail on a path that can divert you from what’s “comfortable” can feel risky, but for Trenin, this bold leap ushered him toward his deepest, most exhilarating passion.

Starting with that serendipitous day when he caught sight of a “help wanted” sign adorning The Whimsy Cookie Company’s doorway, to his decision to enroll in Escoffier’s Baking & Pastry program, and ultimately seeing himself on the Olympic stage, Trenin’s journey has been a delightfully spontaneous one—an expedition he’s still navigating without a trace of regret.

If you’re ready to make a career change and explore the possibilities at Escoffier, don’t wait for tomorrow—contact our admissions team today.


*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.

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