Boston or Bust

I leave for Boston in one week to begin my culinary externship with America’s Test Kitchen. It will be a bittersweet summer — a chance of a lifetime that comes with the high price of leaving my husband and daughter for three months.

I’m not sure what my plans will be when I return. I’ve come a long way in terms of my food writing, securing recurring writing assignments with Food Network, BlogHer, and The Orlando Sentinel, in addition to Chef2Chef. I also had the opportunity to write recipes for Martha Stewart Radio and Cooking with Emeril this year, and have contributed to two cookbooks, Dinner for Busy Moms, and The Flexitarian Cookbook.

Despite my writing success, I still feel I’ve got loads of catching up to do in the Chef-ing part of my career. Switching careers from a high paying marketing/film job with Disney, at the age of 38, wasn’t easy. But I think if I had started this culinary adventure in my twenties, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it or appreciated it as much as I do right now.

I learned early on that restaurant life is not for me, after shadowing at Norman’s in Orlando one evening. I have so much respect for the entire process that goes into running a successful restaurant like Norman’s; it was an amazing experience to be on the line with his chefs, even for that one night. They were very kind and patient with me — I was accurate with my knife cuts, but slower than molasses!

America’s Test Kitchen will involve everything I love: recipe development and testing, food writing and editing, marketing, food styling and photography, and television production, without the pressure of 300 covers in a 2-hour time span.

So maybe that’s my answer? When I get back, I just have to concentrate on finding a position with a similar test kitchen. Alton Brown, are you hiring?

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
            • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
            • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
            • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
            • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
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            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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            • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
            • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
            • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
            • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
            • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
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