Culinary school student
The International Culinary Center
Tell us about yourself. How did you come to Tulane?
I'm from McLean, Virginia - a suburb about two miles outside of Washington, DC. I always wanted to go to school in a big city and had not considered Tulane until I was accepted in the spring of 2009, my senior year of high school. So I went down to New Orleans that April and it took me only half a day to realize Tulane is where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life. I called my dad on the spot, put down my deposit, and accepted my place in the class of 2013.
Bachelor of Arts, Spanish 2013
What do you do?
As a student of The ICC's Classic Culinary Arts program, I will complete “600 hours in six levels of curriculum, structured around core principles of quality and discipline that are designed to prepare you for the pace and rigors of the restaurant kitchen. Classic Culinary Arts takes you from basic knife skills through training on every station on the line, providing you with real-world knowledge that will support you in any field of the culinary industry. You can also take 30 additional hours of specialized, complimentary courses that allow you to author your own journey and explore everything from culinary professions to trends". (Quoted information above is taken from The International Culinary Center's website.)
How did you get to where you are today?
I have been interested in the restaurant industry and the culinary world since I was a teenager. From about the age of sixteen, I formed the dreamy intention of attending what was then the French Culinary Institute, now renamed The International Culinary Center. My other goal formed years before my aspirations for culinary school, and that was to live in New York City. From about the age of ten, I have pictured myself walking the streets of NYC, our country's hub of creativity, commerce and the culinary world.
So in the fall of my senior year at Tulane, I finally completed The ICC's application process, got accepted, and paid a visit to the school around Christmas. My family's enthusiasm for my ambitions consolidated my commitment to the intensive program that I will begin in September 2013.
What are some of the pros of your current position or role?
The pros of my future training in the culinary arts are the countless doors it may open for me. I am not sure just yet what I want to pursue in my career and future. I may want to go into the restaurant industry, work as a chef while I’m young, or take my culinary travels to Europe. Completing my training as a chef and hopefully networking with some of the most creative and successful artists, businessmen, and businesswomen of the culinary world will surely lead me to the right place.
What did you study at Tulane?
I earned a BA in Spanish with minors in Business and Philosophy.
What insights did you have as a college student?
Coming into Tulane, I already knew I wanted to pursue a Spanish major because of my love of the language/literature and the phenomenal program at my high school. I placed into 3000-level Spanish and the rest of my path in that major was clearly mapped out. I also knew since high school that I would want to study abroad in Spain during the fall of my junior year of college, when most students study abroad. So I studied in Granada, Spain for the fall semester of 2011. My time abroad brought a change of scenery and company---filled with many travels and new realizations one can only experience abroad.
The one major I dropped was Business. I originally set out to double major in Spanish and Business. But that track proved not only difficult with the amount of requirements for each major, but also impractical. For my personal interests, I found that although studying business as an undergraduate is "practical" because it may help you gain knowledge and credentials for money-making businesses and employers, it does not feed an appetite for certain knowledge.
The depth and diversity of learning that I experienced in the School of Liberal Arts fed my appetite for insight into the history, human expression, and nature of our world, language, culture, thought, drama, literature, and so on. My studies in the liberal arts trumped any calculating and analyzing the portfolios and business plans could offer. I completed a minor in the Freeman School of Business because of the hours I had already spent in business requirements, as well as the aforementioned "practicality" business education provides in a time when employment really may value a "trade school" background.
I considered a second major in Anthropology or Sociology because I love the study of people, society, culture, community, trends etc. I found that my Anthropology and Sociology classes were a beautiful blend of other disciplines as well, such as Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics. By the time I really had to commit to another major, the requirements seemed to be building up too much too late. So I settled on the prospect of an added minor.
In my senior year at Tulane, I decided to add a Philosophy minor. My final year of college was like an intensive philosophical thrill that constantly stimulated my desire to keep learning. I only wish I had decided to major in Philosophy my freshman year because I found that philosophy sparked a thirst and eagerness inside me that most college seniors find dwindling by the end of four long years. What I took away from the Philosophy department is that the classes are what you make of them. Each class is at its core an introduction to the work of different philosophical histories, thinkers, and studies. You may even find yourself at odds with certain philosophies, but the study of it may prove even more fascinating and important. I loved taking each class as a foundation and exploration that sometimes led to more studying and discovery on my own time. Certain philosophy classes at Tulane made me consider graduate school just so I could keep learning with fellow enthusiasts.
What academic advice would you offer incoming students?
Academic planning is a difficult subject to tackle as each student is so very different from the next. Some useful advice I can dish out would be to find an advisor who you feel really supported by and comfortable with. College is obviously worlds bigger than high school, so your Academic Advisor may provide some of the stability and consistent support that you need. That's why I say if you find someone you really like, they may fill a void you didn't even know you had. Whereas if you have an advisor you don't particularly connect with, you may very well feel a certain void in the pool of thousands of students, classes, and decisions of college.
Also, as a freshman and sophomore, definitely go over your requirements, schedule, and future plans MULTIPLE times. Looking ahead is never a bad idea. Constantly asking "What if?" is a very smart thing to do. If you even think you have a small chance of pursuing Major A, Minor B, Minor C, or Class D, ask teachers and advisors what your schedule would have to look like and how your track would pan out. That way, you won't find yourself junior and senior year saying, "Ugh, I didn't even have to take that class I hated and got a C in" or "Ugh, I have to go back and take two freshman-level core classes in my senior year, when I could be taking electives".
Discuss a class that had a significant impact on you.
Gender & Philosophy (PHIL2930) opened up my eyes even more to the topic of gender and its place in our history as well as modern society. I looked forward to the reading, lecture, and discussion every week. It was a pleasure to just sit back and absorb it all, then frantically write down my own passionate thoughts on the subjects. I had taken the Gender & Society sociology class previously, which I really enjoyed as well.
I would HIGHLY suggest taking at least one gender study class, no matter your own gender or association.
Do you have any other recommendations?
I loved the Service-learning courses that are unique to Tulane's curriculum. I think almost all of my classmates as well didn't feel obligated to trudge through service learning, but rather saw it as a collaborative and fun endeavor that both the beneficiaries and we get something out of.
Don't be close-minded in your class planning or even future planning. I understand that certain interests and majors don't have much wiggle room in terms of requirements and strict class schedules. However, I think that college students often develop a rigid path that they think is the only way to success. Widening your scope can be scary because too many possibilities may be an overload. But in my opinion, I love knowing there are multiple routes out there for success and I'm not caged in to one path with one end.
Explore New Orleans and enjoy it as much as possible. It played an integral role in my decision to come to Tulane and it played just as crucial a role during my four spectacular years of college.
LinkedIn: Elisabeth Chappell
Facebook: Lissie Chappell
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org