Student Spotlight – Diane Anzalone Schofield
Meet Diane, a March 2013 Escoffier Online Culinary Arts graduate. Before enrolling in the program she had always dreamed of going to culinary school to hone her skills and learn the science behind cooking. For several years now she has been working on a business plan to open a delicatessen, but wanted the culinary training to feel confident in running a kitchen successfully by herself. Now that she has graduated from the program she is excited and confident to begin her journey. Read her story:
As a young child I was a picky eater and as one of five children, I was told to eat what was on my plate or make myself something else to eat. At about age 10, I began making my way around the kitchen. I was fortunate enough to have a stay at home Mother that cooked most of our meals. I was her best helper and always felt comfortable in the kitchen, learning from my Mom. My palate has grown and I am able to embrace wonderful foods from around the world.
I began working in restaurants at age 15 and loved the fast, fun pace of the restaurant. I became very interested in the overall concept of hospitality and great service. Creating a positive experience for my customers was paramount. I enrolled and graduated from the Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management program and Pennsylvania State University. During college at age eighteen, I took a mixology course and became a bartender, which I enjoyed for many years.
Throughout my career, I worked in many different areas of the restaurant but most often the front of the house or as a manager. My back of the house experience was limited to prep cook, desserts and salads. In my personal life, I was always challenging myself to make new foods and I devoured cooking magazines from Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, Cooks Illustrated, Gourmet, Saveur and the like. I practiced on my family, friends and now am frequently asked to cater Internships, teachers luncheons and all school lunches at my daughter’s private school. The most that I have catered for (all by myself) has been 120 people and it was extremely challenging and rewarding. I am not one to cut corners and I always use the freshest, best ingredients that I can afford.
I always dreamed of going to Culinary School to hone my skills, learn and grow. I knew that Culinary school would push me to make foods that I never thought of making before. I wanted to learn things like: the science of why we add ingredients in certain orders, where does that cut of meat come from and what is the best way to cook it, as well as the best tools and equipment for the best possible outcome. I knew that Culinary school would do all of those things for me.
I came to a point in my life where I had some extra time. My two children are in school during the week and I only work Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, this leaves me free during the week. My first thought was to go to Culinary School during the week, but I would have to drive at least an hour and a half each way to either Austin or San Antonio. When I looked into the schools, I realized that Friday had conflicts – class went too late for me to get back in time to work. The other problem was the expense of the programs. During my online search I came across Escoffier Online Culinary school. I looked into the program, spoke with Josh in admissions and was convinced that this was the perfect program for me. I had been squirreling away money to start a business, so I actually had the money to pay for the program upfront.
The program has been great for me. Working at my own pace gave me the freedom to continue to be there for my children and husband when they needed me. My family and friends have throughly enjoyed devouring all of my assessments. I have learned a great deal and I am truly the happiest when I am learning. That is why after I finished the Culinary program I started the Baking and Pastry program and am currently a little over halfway through this portion.
For several years now I have been working on a business plan to open a delicatessen and I knew that my strengths are in the front of the house; hospitality, management and marketing. My idea was to partner or hire a chef that would run the kitchen, but as a small business you need to know how to do everything. I now have the confidence that I can run the kitchen successfully myself. I am still looking for someone that has some years of experience behind them to get the business started, but I know that I now possess skills and confidence to do it myself.
My advice to a new student is you get out of this course what you put into it. Watch the webinars! Use the best ingredients that you can afford. If it is not done well, do it again! Flip those eggs until you don’t break them! Post your pictures because you are proud of your work. Ask for help when you need it (not my strongest skill set, but I am working on it). Set goals such as one assessment a week, or one subject every two weeks. Good Luck and Happy Cooking to you all.
Diane Anzalone Schofield
Culinary Graduate – March 2013
We thank Diane for sharing her journey with us! Check out more of our student spotlight stories and student reviews to see why our students chose online training and where they have ended up after completing the online program!