National Culinary Arts Month Educator Highlight – Kristy Clarke
July is Culinary Arts Month, where we celebrate and appreciate the cooks, bakers, and chefs for their creative recipes, dishes, and expression through food! To celebrate we caught up with a few of our ProStart Program instructors across the country and asked them a couple of questions about their culinary careers!
Kristy Clarke is a ProStart Program teacher at Apollo High School in Arizona. Kristy has been teaching there for five years, she attended The Culinary Institute of America in Napa, CA, and The Riverside Culinary Academy in CA before she started teaching. She has experience working in the restaurant industry in various positions from front-of-house to back-of-house.
Kristy says her experience in culinary school was an amazing foundation to enter the restaurant industry, and she loves the rush of a busy restaurant. When she teaches her students now in class, she compares prepping to the beginning of a Metallica song, with the foodservice to the crescendo of that song! She says she misses it! “The food, the fun, and the fire!”
Lessons to Keep in Mind
When teaching her students, Kristy reflects on one lesson that she learned early in her career that she still teaches today. She says, “It is okay to re-teach, and re-teach, and re-teach again when students need you to break lessons down.” One of her favorite lessons to teach students is
and her favorite concept to teach her students is knife skills.
Advice for Students and Professionals
Kristy left us with some advice for aspiring chefs and culinary arts professionals. For students aspiring to go into the restaurant industry she recommends, “Internships, anywhere and everywhere. Keep your head up, but stay humble, listen, and take notes.” For Culinary arts professionals, she encourages them to be open to feedback! As well as knowing that there are options out of the industry if you get burned out that will still keep you connected, like teaching, and staying current!
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