Escoffier Graduate and Executive Chef: Jeremy Olsen Spotlight
Having spent the majority of his life working in restaurants, Jeremy Olsen always wanted to attend culinary school but was never able to find one that worked with his busy work and life schedule. After years of working as a line cook with no formal education, he always longed to have a more in-depth knowledge of the culinary arts. Then he found Escoffier Online. At first, he thought it would be a convenient way to earn a certificate. But the more he learned, the more it was reflected in his work. By the time he was done with the online culinary arts program, Jeremy’s boss had taken notice of the vast difference in his performance. To Jeremy’s surprise, he suggested it was time to move on and up from his current position to that of an executive chef. A couple job interviews later, and Jeremy was running his own kitchen—a place he’ll tell you he would not be without his Escoffier Online education.
We caught up with Jeremy and talked about his favorite part of the program, his new executive chef position and why instructor Cesar Herrera is the one chef who he would love to meet.
Escoffier Online: Why did you want to go to culinary school?
Jeremy Olsen: I worked in the restaurant business all my life and I was always interested in the way the dishes were put together. I was allowed to work on the line, and I fell in love with the whole process. I knew this was the place for me.
EO: What did Escoffier Online offer that other schools didn’t?
JO: Escoffier allowed me to work at my own pace. I was working full time and not able to take the time off to go to a traditional school, not to mention pay the fees all at once. The online culinary arts program allowed me to work on my days off, practice in my own house. I was able to gain the knowledge I desired without losing a pay check.
EO: What were your favorite parts of the program?
JO: My favorite part of the program was being able to work at my own pace at home as well as having the ability to call an Escoffier chef with any questions.
EO: Do you feel like you aren’t able to gain as much experience in online culinary education? Why?
JO: No, definitely not. The program was very easy to follow, the classes were extremely informative, and the critique I was given for my courses has definitely helped me in my work.
EO: You recently got an executive chef position at a restaurant. Tell us a little about how that happened.
JO: I worked at a hotel as a line cook for 2 years. After completing the program, my executive chef took notice of the knowledge I had gained and took me aside and explained to me it was time to move up—that I had exceeded the requirements for a line cook and that I should aim higher. He gave me some recommendations of a couple of places that were interested in me. I applied and, with his help, I received an executive chef position.
EO: What will be your primary responsibilities at your new job?
JO: My primary job of the kitchen is to oversee the running of the kitchen, ordering all of the products we need, keep track of food cost and write the menu. This kinda took me away from a lot of the cooking on the line that I loved to do. However, this is the beginning of a new start! Bigger and better things are in the future.
EO: How do you feel online culinary school prepared you for your career?
JO: Escoffier was a necessary step in getting me where I am today. It provided me with the skills and knowledge that I needed in the business. It was not only easy to follow but really a lot of fun. The detail the chefs go through when you turn in an assignment is incredible. I thought this would be a fast and easy way to get a certificate but it wasn’t at all. The chefs are very particular on your dishes. They strive for perfection and make you settle for nothing less. This was multiplied times ten in the real world when I received my position. It was all due to my education at Escoffier Online.
EO: What advice do you have for other students?
JO: I would tell them to never stop looking toward the future and practice, practice, practice. There is always something else to learn. And never turn a blind eye to someone else’s advice or criticism. Accept it with a grateful heart and better yourself with it.
EO: If you could meet one chef, who would it be and why?
JO: I would like to meet Chef Cesar from Escoffier Online. He was my chef mentor, and I would like to thank him for all he has done.
EO: What are goals for the future?
JO: I would like to be in a bigger restaurant or maybe own one of my own. The future is bright but I am satisfied and grateful where I am now.