National Culinary Arts Month Educator Highlight- Mary Beth Brace
To wrap up Culinary Arts Month, we caught up with one final educator in the ProStart Program. Mary Beth Brace has been teaching ProStart for 22 years at Bergen County Academies in New Jersey. Bergan County Academies is a top school in the nation and Mary Beth says, “I was lucky enough to get my dream job teaching at the Bergan County Academies… I brought all that entrepreneurial, work, and life experience to the classroom and it all made me a better teacher for my students.”
Mary Beth graduated from The Culinary Institute of America and earned a Cordon Bleu certification in Paris. She has worked at The Rainbow Room in NYC, was a part of the opening team for The Grand Hyatt NYC, worked at The Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, TX, and worked at Rebecca’s in Beacon Hill, Boston. She then moved back to New Jersey where she started her own gourmet take-out/gourmet bakery/off-premise catering business with her husband for 12-13 years. She had always wanted to teach, so she went back to school to earn her teaching certification, and has since been teaching ProStart at Bergen County Academies. Her favorite part of the culinary workforce and culinary arts is that every day is different, and she finds it to be true in education as well. She says, “I like the satisfaction of producing an event and bringing happiness and joy to your clients through your planning, good food, and service.”
Mary Beth says her favorite concept to teach to her students is the ProStart Competition. She loves seeing her students create an original restaurant business concept, from brainstorming, to conception, to market. Mary Beth mentioned one lesson that she learned early and still uses today, “only stress over the things that you can control and never close a door behind you.”
We asked Mary Beth for a bit of advice to upcoming chefs and culinary arts professionals. She says people remember you for the way you come into a job, and the way you leave, “protect your reputation, once you give it away, it is hard to get back.” She ends by saying, “find your passion, and you’ll never work a day in your life!” Thank you Mary Beth and thank you to all of our outstanding educators for their dedication and passion for the Culinary Arts. We couldn’t make this program what it is without all of your skills and insights into the culinary world. Happy #CulinaryArtsMonth!
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