Alternative culinary programs

After my externship this summer, I’ll be entering my last year of culinary school. I’ve been going part time, so it has taken me a little longer to finish the program. Looking back, it’s been a pretty great ride, overall.

Valencia’s accredited culinary program proved to be comparably one of the best, with awards to prove it. Earlier this year, our ACF competition team brought home several medals, and one of our instructors, Chef Ken Bourgoin, was nominated as educator of the year.

Am I bragging? Yes, a little bit. Community college culinary programs, like the one I’m attending at Valencia, drag around a hefty stereotype of being less than stellar, or “not as good” as a school that focuses only on culinary. I’m proud that Valencia has broken through that culinary stereotype.

I was invited to join our ACF competition class in the fall, and looking forward to moving beyond pie competitions and into something more professional and serious. My externship, which will be in a test kitchen, will help me prepare for the repetition and hours of practice needed for the ACF arena. And my training from Valencia has developed my palate beyond anything I ever expected. Hopefully the two experiences will help me bring home a medal as well.