Student Spotlight: Maricarmen Rodriguez

Online Culinary and Pastry Arts student, Maricarmen Rodriguez, spends her days in a classroom as an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher. With her love for food and desire to expand her knowledge of culinary, Maricarmen found Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy to be the perfect solution alongside her busy schedule. Because of the flexibility and convenience offered from being able to personalize a course schedule, as well as remotely access classes from anywhere, Maricarmen has now realized the opportunity to pursue her dream of one day teaching cooking skills to young men and women. We sat down with Maricarmen to learn more about what it was that interested her in online culinary education and gave her the confidence to plan for her future.

Escoffier: What was it about Escoffier Online that made you decide to become a student?
Rodriguez: I decided to join Escoffier Online, because it offers me more opportunities to enhance my culinary skills and at the same time review other skills that I need to begin teaching cooking skills to young women and men who do not have a big support at home.

Escoffier: Why did online culinary appeal to you?
Rodriguez: What made me enroll was the accessibility of the courses and at the same time that I can do the classes from the comfort of my home. Also, the stress of getting to class on time is avoided. I also like taking online classes. This will be the first time that I will be taking cooking classes without being in a classroom or a kitchen lab.

Escoffier: Have you worked in the culinary field?
Rodriguez: My only contact in the field is as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant. I go to cooking parties with hosts, and most of the time I change the recipe to my needs and my customer.  

Escoffier: Why is it important for you to receive a culinary certificate?
Rodriguez: It is important for me because cooking and baking is a way to relieve the stress caused by my daily job as a school teacher. Cooking is something that provides a joy for me.

 Escoffier: What are your plans once you complete the online program?
Rodriguez: My plans after I finish the online program are to teach cooking to young people, and become a private chef for others who enjoy eating a fabulous meal.

 Escoffier: You are planning to make quite an impact with your new culinary skills. Tell me more about that?
Rodriguez: I had volunteer in several events sponsored by the French American Chamber of Commerce. These events are for about a 1,000 people. I am part of the Board of Act Advisory Board, which one of the purposes is to teach homeless how to be productive in society by teaching skills that will help them in the future. My contribution in this board is to create a culinary program that will be short, but at the same time teach the basic skills to compete in the outside world. I am also part of the Taste of Africa Event through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in which my responsibility was to coordinate the food and look for volunteers to help serve the food, and clean up. It was a 500 people event.

Esocffier: Do you have any advice to share with other students entering the program just like you?
Rodriguez: Follow your dreams and do not let anyone interfere with them. You are as good as anyone else. If this is your passion go for it and join other students and graduates in order to learn from them the tricks of the industry. 

See the Spanish version of Maricarmen’s student spotlight.

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