Student Spotlight: Lynn Montana Freeman

Lynn Montana Freeman final picLynn is a current student with Escoffier Online Culinary Academy and is enrolled in both our Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Program. We hope you enjoy hearing her story!

I am no longer just living the dream… I am on a path toward fulfilling it!

I am a long-time foodie. I love to create new dishes from old recipes, making them my own and exploring flavors and textures to see what I can do to make a tasty dish. I love to cook with others – I cook with my niece and cousin frequently, and teach them how to make some of my recipes, and learn from them as they create their own. I have taken local cooking classes but other than that have had no formal training. My family and friends have been telling me for years that I should open my own restaurant or go to culinary school. I did not know how I would be able to do either as they would both require a significant financial investment, so never really gave the suggestions any serious consideration.

Over the years I have spent a lot of time searching for work that I enjoy doing, and have worked in a lot of fields – from offices to deli and convenience stores, to big box retail, and even owned a martial arts and holistic health center for a brief period. After all of the cooking I did this past holiday season, I started thinking about how much I really do love to cook, so why not go ahead and get a job in the culinary field? The answer: without any formal training, the most I could expect would be server or fast food shift manager, and I wanted more. I started looking at local culinary schools. The ones that responded were very expensive, and you had to pay everything up front, which would not work on my budget. There was also a new community college program starting in the fall, which had a paid internship program available, so I contacted the Executive Chef Instructor for information but never received a response.  A search of online culinary schools came next. I popped onto Escoffier’s website, submitted a request for information, and a few minutes later received a call from Shannon Marzano, an admissions advisor.

Shannon asked me lots of questions, none too intrusive, but was able to understand my goals, time limitations, and financial concerns. She offered a ton of information for me about the program and how it would work, accommodating my current financial and physical lifestyle.  She sent me, free of charge, archived training webinars to view to see what type of training was offered through the program.  I watched one of them and made the dish presented. It was incredibly delicious. It was a dish I had made several times before, but making it the way it was taught added a new dimension of flavor, texture and yes, polish. This, along with the flexibility of study time and the payment plan, made me realize this would be the perfect program of study.

Shannon encouraged and worked with me so that I could register for and study both the culinary and pastry programs simultaneously. I knew it would take longer to complete both programs than the average student, especially as I would continue working full time, but I was intent on getting a well-rounded education and solid training in both areas. I find the culinary program to be much easier for me than pastry… but while I have been cooking my whole life, I have never really baked anything that was not from a mix so the pastry program is all new to me.  I made my first batch of “scratch” cupcakes – ever – for one of my assessments!  My chef mentors (John and Susie), Chefs Mark, Michael, and all others who conduct the live webinars, my fellow students, technical support personnel, and Nick, Shannon and the rest of the admissions and student advisors and directors are all instrumental in my successes. I am successful in both programs! The things that are coming out of my kitchen are amazing, and I am gaining the confidence needed to apply my skills professionally. This is a great program for anyone who is looking to grow in the culinary and pastry fields, whether already trained or new to the kitchen.

I believe that when things are meant to be, paths are made clear and it is easy to follow our dreams. Thanks to Shannon and the administrative team, it was easy for me to take the step on the paths of culinary and pastry arts. The Chef Mentors and technical team make it easy for me to continue walking these paths. I have always and continue to love being in the kitchen cooking and now love being there baking as well. I also love to teach others what I have learned. To do both professionally after I complete my studies at Escoffier Online is my ultimate goal – my new dream. With the training I have received so far, that goal seems attainable and the dream one that will be realized – and you have no idea how happy that makes me!  

We thank Lynn for sharing this great success story with us! Check out more of our student spotlight stories to see why our students chose online training and where they have ended up after completing the online program! If you have a story to share or would like to learn more about our program, please contact us at (855) 696-6602 or

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