Student Spotlight – John Basso
Meet John who is a Culinary Arts student with Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy. He is recently taking the online program after his wife, Janel, enrolled him for a birthday gift. To learn more about John I asked him a few questions about his cooking passion and what his plans are for the future. Here’s what he had to say!
Escoffier: How did you get started at Escoffier Online?
John: My becoming a student at Escoffier probably does not resemble the typical path most students take when making the decision to enroll in a culinary program, whether their ultimate goal is either professional or pleasurable. In fact, I had no idea I was even enrolled in the program at first.
For years I have expressed to my wife Janel a desire to attend culinary school upon my retirement as an architect. Since that eventual date remains a couple of decades in the future, Janel decided to surprise me with an early retirement present on my birthday by secretly enrolling me in the Escoffier Online program. To say that I possessed no close guess of what might be in the boxes I opened up on my birthday would be an understatement.
Escoffier: How did your passion for culinary begin?
John: When I was really young, I remembered holidays at my grandparent’s house where the dining room table was filled with baked treats. My grandmother was a master baker, but I unfortunately never had the chance to learn the craft from her. I did however attempt baking back in high school, which transpired into an enjoyment for barbecuing after I realized that I wasn’t a great baker. This form of cooking provided less stringent requirements for success and became the springboard for me to start cooking in the kitchen.
Escoffier: Have you ever wanted to go to culinary school?
John: In the years after high school and college I had a relatively typical arsenal of recipes that most people cultivate, and while I enjoyed cooking a few of them to perfection, I never thought of taking the next steps in understanding the science behind the art of cooking by going to school. Then I had a roommate named Andy who was an exceptional cook and wine connoisseur. He showed me cooking techniques that were previously foreign to me, such as wrapping fish in tin foil with herbs, lemon and wine to preserve the moistness and infuse flavors. I have since learned this is a French cooking technique called En Papillote.
Escoffier: How do you feel the program has changed your cooking?
John: In the short time I have been studying at Escoffier I have simply become a sponge to the information I have been exposed to. I’m already assuming a more professional attitude towards my preparation, cooking and presentations. This is further extending past the required assessment recipes and into everyday meals, which is one element of the program I really like. It’s one thing to just cook dinner, but it is far more rewarding for me to understand the how and why behind the meal.
Escoffier: What is your favorite part about the program so far?
John: Since my current professional career limits the amount of time I can dedicate to the program, flexibility in when I can study and how I can apply what I learn at my own pace is paramount. The personal mentor element of the program is also a tremendous security blanket for me. Chef Thomas has been very helpful in critique and supportive of my individual pace through the material. Actually, everyone I have talked with and received emails or texts from has been equally supportive.
Escoffier: What are your plans once you finish the program?
John: I do not have any specific, or professional, plans upon completion of my journey at Escoffier other than becoming a highly trained personal chef for my family and friends. However, you never know what twists-and-turns life can throw your way. Maybe my name might find its way on the bottom of a menu some day.
Escoffier: Do you think receiving the online culinary program as a gift is a good present for others?
John: This is an easy question to answer where I can definitively say, “yes!” From what I have seen thus far with the history of the Escoffier heritage, the extensive content on the website, the passionate teaching and support staff and the flexibility to pursue a passion for cooking on your own terms, there exists no down-side from my vantage-point. Oh, did I forget to mention an additional 20% off at Williams Sonoma, even on already discounted items? I’m laughing because my wife and I now find ourselves there at least one a week.
Seriously, I cannot thank my wife enough for secretly enrolling me in this culinary program. It was completely unexpected yet welcomed. I can finally take an internal passion that I knew I had but never really considered pursuing and fully enjoy the culinary arts on my own personal journey. I look forward to ever savory bite
We thank John for sharing his 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!