Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From Pro Wrestling to Culinary Arts

Each new student has their own unique story of how they came to Culinary Institute LeNôtre and what attracted them and influenced their decision. Like a number of Culinary Institute LeNôtre Students, Nidia Guenard changed careers to follow her passion of the culinary arts. Nidia left a very high profile career as a nationally known former Pro Wrestler. Even though she still gets offers to rejoin Professional Wrestling, motherhood and her passion for the culinary arts has changed her career choice. Now she flexes those muscles in the kitchen. She is currently in her 5th week of the AAS in Culinary Arts program.

Nidia explains her motivation for going back to school — as a vegetarian she saw just as many vegetarians eating unhealthy food as non-vegetarians; starch and grease. Her vision is to target the vegetarian market with a line of prepared vegetarian foods. She knew that she needed to learn as much as possible about the culinary industry and so ventured out to assess schools.

Even though she had taken some classes at another local institute, she found that Culinary Institute LeNôtre beat that, and the other schools in the area, hands down. The classes she had taken gave Nidia a point of comparison. What she saw at Culinary Institute LeNôtre was a confident staff with an unrivaled reputation.

The 12:1 student to teacher ratio was a clear differentiator, but even more was the culture and appeal that emanated when she walked into the institute: the aromas, the attention to detail, the orderliness and discipline of the kitchen. The expanding facilities were also a major plus. She was impressed with the open door policy at the institute, and has since found out how seriously the instructors take the students’ success; they put in a lot of extra time to help students with specific questions or to explain theory.

Now that she is here she reports that she loves it and that she is beginning to understand the culinary art form, “the light bulb is going on”. She loves her class with Chef Manny. Among the many techniques she is learning, Chef Manny has encouraged her to “breath” when cutting, reminiscent of wrestling or any exercise. He imparts his passion and respect of the industry to the students. He has high expectations for the students’ performance and pushes them to do their best. When the students go into a real world environment, whether a project, internship or graduating, the institute will put its name behind the student and this means something.

Nidia observed that Chef Manny’s high expectations extend to the rest of the institute. The school’s culture prepares students for the demanding requirements of the real world. At the school, discipline is demanded — attention to detail even down to spotless uniform and station. The professionalism imparted to the students gives Culinary Institute LeNôtre graduates a leg up when they are being placed by the school.

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