As a work-study student in Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts‘ purchasing department, Breanna Ortiz has learned more than she ever imagined about food. Where it comes from, how to get the best quality for the best price, when it’s in season, etc. It’s something she never knew could bring her such an advantage in the industry. But as she makes her way through the pastry arts program at our Boulder campus, she feels confident this behind-the-scenes look has given her a unique advantage for her future career.
Breanna took some time to talk to us about what she likes most about culinary school, how she found the work study program and her advice for others looking to enroll.
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: Why did you want to go to culinary school?
Breanna Ortiz: I have had a passion for baking ever since I can remember. It started when I was younger baking Christmas cookies with my Nana every year. This industry is always changing, and I like the challenge of that change. I came to culinary school to learn proper techniques for the real world of baking. I also love the concept of fine dining and this program teaches me how make these beautiful edible pieces of art.
AESCA: Why did you choose Escoffier?
BO: Mainly because of the length of the program. Escoffier offers short and fast-paced programs but you learn so much in those short weeks. Also, my advisor had a lot to do with my decision. He did everything he could do to get me here which really showed me the staff is dedicated to the students.
AESCA: What do you like most about culinary school so far and why?
BO: I have learned so much in such a short time. The techniques we use I will forever use in this industry. I’m not learning anything I won’t do in the workplace. I will be prepared for my first job as a pastry chef.
AESCA: You’re enrolled in a federal work study program. Can you talk about how you found it and what that experience has been like?
BO: This experience has opened my eyes to where our food comes from and what goes into ordering food. I have learned so much from this job. Sam is a wonderful boss and it was wonderful working with him. On one of our first days in the kitchen, Sam came in and talked to us about an open position in purchasing. I took his card and, right after class, went up and spoke to him about it. We had an interview, and I believe the next day I got an email saying I got the job. While working in the afternoon, I have been able to meet the other chefs and learn what they do in their classes.
AESCA: What advice do you have for others looking to do a work study program?
BO: It is definitely worth putting your time into. You learn the behind-the-scenes of the school and how things are run. Schedules are usually pretty flexible. It also looks really good on a resume!
AESCA: What do you enjoy most about the purchasing-side?
BO: I enjoy learning about all the different foods we have back there. Things I have never seen before but look so amazing. I also like knowing where our food comes from and the quality of it all.
AESCA: How do you feel it will be helpful in your career?
BO: I know so much about food now. Knowing how to order and process food gives me an advantage in this industry compared to people whom have not had this opportunity. I think my future employers will see that, know this is a great program, and I observe I put extra effort into building my career.