Student Spotlight – Vania Parris
Meet Vania who is a Pastry Arts student with Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy. She is recently taking the online program to advance her skill set. To learn more about Vania I asked her a few questions about her baking passion and how her journey through the program is going. Here’s what she had to say!
Escoffier: What inspired you to join Escoffier Online?
Vania: I have always enjoyed baking, it is both fun and therapeutic for me. It is not work, but pure joy. When I was younger, I was my grandmother’s sous chef, if you will, always helping to gather the ingredients, measuring them, doing the mixing and my personal favorite, licking the spoon. I was always in the kitchen helping my grandmother bake, the rum cake for the holidays, or a plain vanilla cake, just mixing away. I have fond memories of those times with my grandmother to treasure for a lifetime. However, within the last year or so, I would bake for my family and friends at least once a month: cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes and muffins. I would get such rave reviews and a couple times I have been asked, did I go to school for this? Do I have any formal training? I would say no. I just taught myself, reading my Betty Crocker and Patti LaBelle’s cookbooks.
I especially enjoy watching the Food network or the Cooking channel, as well as, Create tv to see their demonstrations and get different tips, from the professionals. I am always watching their programs, not mainstream tv. One time I was even paid a little something by my neighbor who had tasted one of my coconut cream pies, that he wanted a whole one for himself and was willing to pay me for it. I have been asked, when I am going to open up my own bakery, or cafe, or that I should sell my baked goods as a second career. I thought, well, if people are going to pay me for this and this has to do with food, what’s going into your stomach, that I should get formal training in this subject matter because it’s the right thing to do. I did a Google search on Baking schools and programs, and Escoffier Online came up. I requested more information and an admissions counselor called me. During my conversation with the admissions counselor, I asked all the questions I had, and signed up, that very day.
Escoffier: How do you feel about online learning?
Vania: I completed my Master’s degree online, with a 2 week summer course on-site, for completion. It was very convenient since I work full-time. I didn’t want to go back and forth in the evenings after a hard day at work to make an even longer night to go to a school, in a classroom setting. Escoffier was by far the most affordable program that I have researched. It is convenient, meshes well with my work schedule, and my weekends, to be able to do my reading and assignments. I can easily get in touch with my Chef Mentor, or send an e-mail on my homepage to my fellow students. The program has a payment plan that fits right into my budget. Online learning has been the “in thing” to do for the last few years.
Escoffier: Was the online program the only option for you?
Vania: The online program was the only option for me at this time. I completed my Undergraduate degree in a classroom setting, but because of the convenience and my demanding work schedule, online learning for my Master’s program was the best thing for me that suited my needs. Since my Master’s degree course work was my last formal education that I have done it just seemed natural to continue on that path by signing up for the Pastry Arts program at Escoffier Online. My time is so hectic and demanding I needed the convenience of just going on my computer and doing my assignments at my own pace, and in my own time, with no time restraints or limitations, and especially, the affordability of the program, which was important to me. It would be quite challenging at this time to attend a Baking school or Pastry Arts program in a classroom setting. I just would not have the time.
Escoffier: What is your favorite part about the program so far?
Vania: My favorite part about this program is learning new recipes, trying new recipes for the first time and seeing my finished product come out exactly as it is suppose to be. I enjoy tasting my baked goods, especially, but the plating part of the assignments is the most fun, thinking of new and creative ways to plate my finished baked goods. I have watched these baked goods being prepared on TV, or have ate them myself, in cafes, restaurants and bakeries, but never would I have imagined that I could have prepared and baked them myself, from scratch, and have them come out so fabulously delicious. My family says I am a natural.
Escoffier: What are your plans once you finish the program?
Vania: My plans once I have finished the program is to continue baking of course, at least once a month. Different baked goods each time, unless I get a personal request for a repeat, for my family and friends. However, I would like to earn some extra income and if possible work as a Pastry chef or sous chef at a bakery or cafe, and if it is God’s will, maybe open up my very own cafe. That was not even a thought, until I started progressing in this program, improving in my knowledge-base and especially, improving on my technique and skills.
We thank Vania 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!
If you have a story to share or would like to learn more about our program, please contact us at (855) 696-6602 or [email protected].