For nearly two decades Monica Paredes had worked successfully as a corporate communications and marketing consultant. With the help of her supportive family, she decided to make the leap into pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a pastry chef. Below, she recounts her culinary pastry school experience.
“After visiting several schools, I was most impressed by the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts because of its small class sizes, intensive labs, business focus, and knowledgeable staff. As a working wife and mom, the Pastry Arts schedule was a perfect fit for me. Although the skills I acquired from my Pastry Arts program have helped me to be successful in my externship with award-winning Chef David Bull and his team, I am so grateful for the connection with my Chef Educators, whom I can call on any time I have questions or need guidance. My excellent baking education and the empowering and supportive Chef Educators in my program are ultimately what have given me the confidence to reach for the next level. My Chef Educators encouraged me to create the opportunities I could not otherwise find. I am so grateful for my education at Escoffier and all the doors it has opened for this next chapter of my life."
Brittney Castro really wanted to do something that she loved as a career, and not just do a job because it would make a lot of money. Castro was the family baker since she was a little girl because her mother couldn’t bake at all. She knew she wanted to go to pastry school, so she started researching as soon as she moved to Austin.
“Everyone at the Escoffier campus was so welcoming – it felt like a family. And I knew I wanted that. I also felt like everyone here wants you to understand the industry and to really learn the things you come here to learn. You’re not just another number here. They care about you as a student. My Pastry Arts program is going really well. It’s a lot of fun! I feel like the program is going to help me to do my research and find the right place for me to do an industry externship. The sacrifices you make when you come here are totally worth it. If it’s that you’ll lose out on some sleep, or social time, in the end, you’re going to be prepared for a career in the industry and that is definitely something I’m okay with.”
Anthony Spann started as a Culinary Arts student, and went on to work in the industry. After a little while out in the field, he decided to come back to the Pastry Arts program.
“I had never set foot in an industry kitchen before I started the Culinary Arts program. I had a lot of interest in pastry when I was doing culinary arts because there were some things with pastry that I couldn’t do very well, and there were some other things I couldn’t do very well at all, and I wanted to be able to do those things. So, I enrolled in the Pastry Arts program after working in the industry for a little while. My favorite part of the Pastry Arts program is definitely bread making. I looove bread making. There is a cycle of life to it. I don’t know, there’s some sort of romance to making bread and doing it well, and I really enjoy it. My advice: Learn how to deal with stress and enjoy what you do. Be patient. Do it right before you can do it fast!”
After a ten-year break from owning a pastry business, Cammie Thomas wanted to get back in. To kick-start her career—and her confidence—she enrolled in our Pastry Arts program. Her description is one that a lot of our students relate to.
“I decided to come to culinary school because I love food; I love it more than anything. I felt like having that lapse in time that it would be beneficial in getting a job as an actual pastry chef. My Chef Educator was amazing! The school gave me my confidence back; it allowed me to walk into a kitchen and feel comfortable, validating that I know what I know and that I’m good at it. While you are in school just go out and try different things to experience it. You can go to a nice restaurant and just order dessert; it’s perfectly acceptable. It’s a very inexpensive way to see what’s going on in your industry. Any good pastry chef should be able to talk to a student. They all take a break and should love to talk about their craft.”
Although Jamie Warburton has already run her own in-home pastry business in Germany, graduated from our Pastry Arts program, held an executive pastry chef position, and helped open a business, she recently came back to attend Culinary Arts.
“One of the happiest moments was when I got my kit for pastry. I absolutely loved it and had an amazing time in the program. I came back to Escoffier because of the people: The administration, the Chef Educators. It is so welcoming. I’ve considered it kind of a family. Everyone is very passionate about what they do. They are proud of having the ‘Escoffier’ name. Everything that the school stands for—I fell in love with it. I couldn’t see myself going to any other school. I just don't see the same passion from graduates of other schools that I do from Escoffier students. There is just something extremely special about this school. I’m discovering that I know a lot more than I thought I did, but it is also making me more humble. Confidence will come when you are humble enough to understand that you still have to learn. That is something that this school has taught me.”