What I did during summer vacation

I remember having to write an annual essay in grammar school at the start of every school year: What I did during summer vacation. I don’t remember being graded on it. And I can’t imagine my essays were very exciting at the age of 6 or 7 — my brother and I went to camp. All summer. And did camp stuff. And stayed up late, ate junk, rode bikes, went to sleep overs, ate toasted marshmallows.

Now that I’m back in school, I was treated to a summer vacation again. And while it was only three weeks long, I feel like I took an amazing culinary journey and honed in on what I want to do with this crazy wonderful mess I’ve gotten myself into.

I took a one-week vacation on Hilton Head Island with my family. Tucked between the shorts, flip flops, and bathing suit, was a pie plate, baking ingredients, my knife roll, and rolling culinary kit. I spent $300 on groceries and baked pies the entire week, testing new recipes for the Crisco National Pie Championships next April. And I fell in love with Georgia, South Carolina and the Barrier Islands.

I recorded a video pie demo for Desserts Magazine, and started a photographic pie demo for Chef2Chef.net.

I applied for four food writing, marketing, and test kitchen jobs, and was rejected by the online robots every single time. So I hired a resume writer to help me organize my culinary experience on paper for the next time.

And I did something really crazy. Don’t laugh, but I drove to Atlanta and auditioned for The Next Food Network Star. I spent just shy of two months working on the 11-page application. I looked perfect on paper, but let my nerves get the best of me when I had to speak in front of the producer. I didn’t get the callback for the cooking demo and drove home disappointed in myself for letting that happen.

Something else happened though; something I didn’t realize until moments before pulling into my driveway after the 6 hour drive from Atlanta to Orlando. That application forced me to define my culinary point of view, allowing me to clearly see what I want to do with this culinary degree when I’m done.

The semester starts up again on Monday, and I won’t be finished with school until 2011. I can’t wait to be done. Not because I dislike being in school – I love school. But because I can’t wait to start this culinary career full time.

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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.
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            • 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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            • 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.
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            • 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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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
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            • Offers career-focused programs in allied health, business, and computer technology, and more.
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
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            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
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            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
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