factors led you to decide to attend Hudson County Community College?
researching many culinary schools, I chose HCCC because the class
sizes were small, there was a lot of hands-on training and one-on-one
attention from our instructors.
is your favorite memory of the College, in or out of the classroom?
enjoyed learning about international foods. To open a book and escape
to a different part of the world and learn about the different
flavors was amazing to me. It definitely sparked my interest to
did you become interested in Culinary Arts?
have always had a passion for cooking. At an early age, I have many
memories of being in the kitchen watching my mom prepare dinner. I
always loved to watch the process from chopping to mixing to cooking
to presenting the final dish.
did your time at HCCC prepare you for your career/ life now?
culinary education at HCCC gave me the confidence to walk into a
formal kitchen knowing certain important fundamental skills to get me
now live in Northern California as a private chef. My days can be
pretty busy depending on if my client is entertaining for the evening
or if they will just have a quiet family dinner. Most days start with
creating a menu based on any dietary restrictions and
seasonality of ingredients. The morning usually consists of shopping
at markets for ingredients for the menu. I then head to my
I arrive I will talk with the estate manager who will fill me in
if there have been any last minute changes to the schedule of my
client. I will then unload all groceries and begin my preparation.
If there is a larger event occurring on that day, I will have help
from the other staff of the home to set up. Otherwise I will do this
it is time for my client to eat, I present them with the first course
and allow them to eat while I go back to the kitchen to finish the
second course. After they have finished, I present them with the
second course. The same procedure follows with each of the
following courses. Once finished, I will clean up and organize
my ideas and menu for the following day.
has been the most memorable project/ case you have worked on?
really hard to pick one. I am lucky to have had so many wonderful
experiences, each special and unique. If I had to choose, I would
pick one of my most recent adventures. In February of this year
(2018), I was recruited to cook for the U.S. ski team in Pyeongchang,
South Korea at the Winter Olympic Games! Cooking for competitive
athletes is so rewarding because you're supporting their physical
performance, and in this instance it was for Team USA!
are your biggest inspirations that have impacted your work in some way?
of my mentors and inspirations is Thomas Keller. I worked under him
while my time spent at The French Laundry in Napa, CA. Chef
Keller really instilled in me a high respect for ingredients being
prepared. I learned how to source and use ingredients that are in
season and local. I gained a “sense of urgency” and “attention
to detail” which still remain with me today in and out of the
am very thankful to have had the opportunity to set foot in some
of the kitchens of the best restaurants in the world. Working under
each chef really taught me valuable lessons.
advice would you give to recent HCCC graduates?
an open mind and soak up as much knowledge as you can from all the
experiences you have. There is no one right way to do a certain task,
but by keeping an open mind, you will be able to form a culinary
rolodex to pull from as you advance in your culinary career and form
your own style of cooking.
have respect. There are many different roles in a restaurant. A pot
washer does not have the prestige of being the executive chef, but
they are both equally important. Without one, the operation does
not run efficiently and smoothly.
grow and adapt with the world. As we learn more about farming
practices and our impact on the environment, it is extremely
important to be an educated consumer and know exactly how and where
our food is coming from.
advice do you have for those students who are just starting their
an open mind and learn and do things that are not in your comfort
zone. Similar to the advice to the Culinary graduates, I think that
advice can be used in all aspects of your life. Also, it is most
important to pursue a career that you have a passion for, NOT based
on how much money you could make. To find your purpose is extremely
important in life.
One of my favorite quotes is from Confucius: “Choose a job you love,
and you will never have to work a day in your life.”