A change from culinary school to Christian college
As Autumn arrives, freshman Anna Frost and junior Jessica Duncan bake seasonal treats together in Horton. | Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES
While many of us walked straight off our high school graduation platform into a Horton Hall dorm room, others took a winding road to college. Roaming among us are transfer students, those who jumped back into school after years of a career, and a select few who already attended a trade school. Jessica Duncan, Anna Frost and Juana Carrillo all became Eagles after pursuing a very different dream — culinary school.
Growing up in a home saturated with engineering, Carrillo started out as a computer science major at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
“But I never felt happy there,” Carrillo said. She wasn’t a Christian at the time and felt there was something missing.
Carrillo pulled out of Cal Poly Pomona after two years and worked toward her associate’s degree in culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. The two-year program covered cooking, baking, menu planning and running a restaurant. Carrillo fell in love with Japanese cuisine; after graduating she was offered a position as a private chef in Japan.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and every time I tried going, the doors always closed,” Carrillo said. But once she made the decision to follow the Lord and put him first, he made a way.
After two months in Japan, Carrillo heard God calling her back home to California. Though her time there was short, she rejoices because her entire family accepted Christ after she returned.
Carrillo still wanted to pursue a bachelor’s degree and is now a senior music in worship major. She was recently hired at the Caf to work at the Chef’s Table and bring her Asian cuisine expertise to our plates. She feels a chef’s attitude is reflected in the food they produce.
“When you’re cooking, make sure you’re cooking with love,” she said.
Frost, the Chimes’ own food columnist, spent two years at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Frost’s love of cooking grew from infancy, especially while watching her grandparents cook.
When she was younger, Frost didn’t have a high opinion of culinary school. After she got in touch with the Culinary Institute, she realized the depth of the studies.
“It was everything I wanted to learn about baking. Not just how to do things, but why things happen when you did them,” Frost said. Frost earned her associate’s degree in occupational studies with an emphasis in baking and pastry arts.
She dreamed of living in a fabulous New York loft while working at a restaurant on 5th Avenue — but that changed after school exposed her to the stressful long-term effects of the busy restaurant lifestyle.
Frost now aims to become a food journalist. She differentiated that from a food critic by explaining that food journalists are free to do more than critique food; they can write about nutrition, agriculture, and anything at all relating to food.
Besides writing for the Chimes, Frost currently works making pastries in the Caf. She hopes to bring new baking creations to the student body.
After watching her mother in the kitchen from the time she was 4 years old, Duncan began nurturing her culinary passion at King’s Career Center in Anchorage, Ala. before she even graduated high school. She enjoyed cooking, but baking captured her heart. Duncan worked in a bakery for a year and planned on wearing an apron for the rest of her life. But as she grew older, Duncan found herself looking harder at another lifelong interest — English.
“[Baking] became an old goal for me, something I used to want, but I didn’t really want that anymore,” she said. “I was looking for a new goal in life, a new dream.”
Duncan is now a junior humanities major with an emphasis in English. She is unsure what exactly her future holds, but is interested in teaching and authoring a book. Despite the change in plans, Duncan does not regret the time she spent at King’s Career Center.
“[Culinary school] was really a good experience for me — something that I can take throughout my whole life, and something different that I’ve done,” she said. “It was fun, it was a good experience. I would encourage people to do it.”