Story #058 – Jennifer Lee

NAME: Jennifer Lee

CULINARY SCHOOL AFFILIATION: Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY


Chef Jennifer Lee


Chef Jennifer Lee grew up in Mystic, Connecticut where she has had a love and passion for baking and cooking since a very young age. While other kids her age were watching cartoons, she was watching the Food Network. As a young teenager in high school Jennifer started working at her relative’s Chinese dim sum restaurant, beginning as a hostess and busser, and eventually working into more advanced positions in both the front and back of the house.
During her later years in high school, Jennifer accepted a position at a bake shop in Mystic Connecticut, where she worked in the front of the house taking orders and assisting customers, eventually becoming a barista, and helping in the kitchen with the baking.
After graduating from high school, Jennifer enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where she graduated with an associate degree in baking and pastry arts. During her time at the Culinary Institute of America, she opened her at home bakery called J Lee Bakery, which specialized in cakes, cupcakes, and French macaroons.
Besides baking, Jenn has always had a love for photography and videography. In the past couple of years, she has started her own YouTube channel which focused on her time at the Culinary Institute of America to share her experience with her viewers who may be interested in attending the college one day. Her videos have become very popular which has allowed her to become a legitimate content creator with multiple brand deals. In the future, she plans to continue her YouTube channel while pursuing a pastry chef’s position in Boston or New York.
Contact Info / Social Media:
YouTube – Jennifer Lee – YouTube
Email –
Instagram –

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Culinary School Stories is a weekly podcast with engaging interviews that shares the stories of people from around the world that have an association with a culinary school in some way. Each episode we bring you the best stories from people around the food service world whose lives have been influenced, impacted, touched and/or enriched, for good or for bad, from their culinary school experience. And this Podcast is dedicated to telling their story!

From current students and alumni, to faculty and administrators, this interview style podcast allows for longer, more in-depth, open discussions about issues, stories and tales surrounding culinary school. We hope you will listen in and learn what each of our guests has to say as we talk to them about their relationship to culinary school, as well as their journey, the people who helped them, and their goals and dreams for the future. Join us as we ask and discover, “What’s your culinary school story?”


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Episode Transcript

welcome to another episode of culinary
school stories the weekly podcast that
is dedicated to sharing the stories of
people around the globe whose lives have
been influenced impacted touched and or
enriched for good or for bad from their
culinary school experience hi my name is
colin roach and i’m your host thanks for
joining us today you are an important
part of this show where we ask the
question what’s your culinary school
story so now without any further delay
let’s meet today’s guest
hello and welcome to another episode of
the culinary school stories podcast a
proud member of the food media network
if this is your first time joining us
today thanks for being here we
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which is also where we store all of the
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sure to check it out again that’s
so now without any further delay i would
like to introduce today’s guest who has
a great story to share with all of us
a recent graduate of the culinary
institute of america in hyde park new
york where she earned her associate’s
degree in baking and pastry a lifelong
lover of food and cooking she has worked
various jobs in the restaurant industry
including both front and back of the
house she’s also an influencer and
content creator with their own
successful youtube channel with that
said it is my pleasure to welcome chef
jennifer lee to the show jen thanks for
joining us today and sharing your
culinary school story hi i’m so happy to
be here
great so you’re a recent graduate of the
culinary institute of america so why
don’t we start are you telling us what
brought you to the decision to go to
culinary school and why did you choose
the cia yeah so i have been baking ever
since i was a little kid like before i
could even remember like before
i even started baking at home like in a
kitchen my dad actually built a
playground in my backyard and i totally
turned it into like a mud bakery kitchen
so i’ve been baking like even before my
mom even let me uh bake with or cook
with real food
um so i think it’s always kind of
been in the back of my mind but to be
growing up my entire family is they’re
all in the stem field so i always felt
like almost different and that i wasn’t
supposed to or allowed to go into baking
or to go to culinary school so that
honestly was not even in my mind it
wasn’t even a possibility for me um i
think it wasn’t really until
uh like high school when counselors
would sit you down and say what do you
want to do where do you want to go to
school and then i kind of just had the
realization that i can’t like lie to
myself anymore that i’m supposed to go
to culinary school so i mean i’ve been
baking and cooking forever but i think
it really was um like junior year high
school that i decided that i’m i’m gonna
go to culinary school
awesome now did you tour a lot of
different schools and how did you do
your research i mean how did you pick
culinary institute of america and the
hyde park campus yeah so um i’m from
connecticut personally so i really
wanted something
not too far because
growing up i really i’m like i have a
huge family so we always do so much
stuff together so i didn’t want to leave
them like across the country quite yet
i looked into johnson and wales first in
rhode island um and i
toured the whole campus the summer
before i attended school and i was a
huge huge fan i actually found out that
my aunt was one of the architects that
like built the school and she gave me
like a personal tour so wow yeah so that
was really cool i kind of felt like a
connection from that just because of my
family member but um sure so yeah right
away i was really i was really into it’s
a beautiful campus it’s like on the
water and everything and i was almost
um like dedicated to like going there so
like that was almost my decision and
then i i also like within like this time
i applied to cia just because i knew cia
was like the number one but um i don’t
know i didn’t really have the interest
to go to new york and i know there are
the other campuses in like texas and uh
in california but new york was the only
one that offered a bachelor’s degree at
the time so that’s what i
was planning on doing a bachelor’s
degree i obviously changed my mind and
just did an associates but um it was the
two that was really debating uh between
but yeah no i didn’t like think of like
ice in california or anything else like
that so it was really just not johnson
wales in that ncia but um yeah then one
day i get this letter in the mail that
was for like an accepted student’s day
and my parents are like you know it’s
only like two hours away let’s just go
check it out so i went and um i still
wasn’t set on it i still didn’t want to
and my parents were like you know what
if you’re going to go to like a culinary
school you’re going to go to the best
one like i don’t even care if it’s like
just like the title whatever you’re
going to go to the best one and um and i
just kept talking to other students i
was in the tourists with and they’re
like you know i thought about johnson
wales too and then we started discussing
the pros and cons and i don’t know i
kind of just chose a cia like on a whim
i like that like honestly it’s just
because of the title and i don’t know
how much of a difference the education
was but that’s kind of what did it for
me sadly right the reputation was it the
same price basically and same packages
like financial aid i know they give you
that yeah for me yeah okay yeah even
like scholarships-wise so we were like
why not it’s the same cool yeah so what
are some things that you you look for
when you’re going there like maybe
there’s a listener right now that’s in
high school thinking about huh johnson
and wales or cia or some other school
you know besides the finances and the
costs yeah it’s like that but what are
some things like when you went on your
tour what spoke to you what stuck out
that said oh this is cool oh i don’t
like this the dorm rooms
i if i’m going to be completely honest i
went to johnson and wales and the campus
was beautiful the classrooms looked
great but they showed us the dorm rooms
and they wanted four people to a dorm
room and it was probably the smallest
room i’ve ever seen i’ve toured like
i’ve toured other colleges just because
of past family members have been to
college and it’s it was by far the
smallest one i’ve ever seen i was like
you know i just i don’t know if i can
live in their mom and then we toured cia
and they were like yeah even the
freshman you can get a single oh wow so
i was like yeah so and they’re they’re
pretty nice and no communal bathrooms so
i mean like i’m so spoiled in that sense
i’ve never even gone to college in a
communal bathroom so i don’t i don’t
even know what that’s like um but yeah
honestly besides the education and like
financial stuff it it was just like the
just environment just how i felt to be
on campus like outside of class cool now
once you made your mind up and you
started talking about obviously your
parents went with you to take these
tours were they supportive of you at
what point did they like okay you’re not
going to go into stem you’re not going
to follow maybe some of your other
family members were they on board from
the start or no so
i would say
maybe i’m just really stubborn i feel
like now like looking back they have
been supported from the start i mean my
mom has i think in the back of all their
minds they always knew that this was
probably what i was going to go into and
at the time i mean they they still kind
of made it seem like oh she’s going to
go and major into food science so they
kind of still tied it back to them you
know and then it wasn’t until like i
just kept saying i was like mom you know
and i just kept talking about like my
plans in the future and then they were
like you know what just we just want you
to be happy just do whatever what makes
you happy and we’re always supportive so
i mean even like going to culinary
school was their idea i was just going
to go major in business at first but
then when like you know it was time and
you had to choose a college i couldn’t
like delay this anymore they were like
you’re going to culinary school so they
kind of almost made up my mind for me
but um now like i talk about it so many
family members especially now that i’ve
graduated i found out that a ton of them
even like all the doctors and
pharmacists they wanted to work in a
restaurant like they always wanted to
own a restaurant they love culinary and
i guess i always think they like cooking
but they’re like so passionate about it
i would argue they’re even more
passionate than i am
about food and cooking so i mean i guess
it’s in my blood they just didn’t want
to admit it yeah yeah it’s so true
because i’ll be on a plane or something
and someone will talk to you what do you
do and i hate to open that door because
i don’t want to say oh i’m a chef
because they’ll be oh that’s what i want
to do
they want to have this big conversation
i just want to read my book but a lot of
them are like doctors and stuff and i’m
like you’re a doctor you want to be a
no yeah
like they’re so they’re so into it too
and the moment you say the word chef or
food or baker they they get it’s like
their reaction is huge it honestly makes
me feel yeah it makes me feel pretty
so take us to that first day you’re
arriving you’re on campus now you’re
gonna check in you’re gonna meet your
roommates i guess you’re gonna what get
uniforms get knife kits tell us what’s
going through your mind and what that
process is like yeah so um
i i guess i don’t know like so obviously
like we had to drive it was like a three
hour drive to get there so the entire
drive i was like super super nervous um
i mean i was prepared like for like like
packing wise and and just like what to
expect i was pretty prepared because i i
tried to do a bunch of research before
and like find youtube videos of people
but there are not many you know so i had
to just kind of i don’t know prepare
myself but um the moment i got there i
mean it was really nice they had a whole
welcome team and this was pre-covered so
you know it was very normal and um they
had like balloons and everything and
they helped i didn’t even have to carry
a thing like they had a whole group help
my family carry all my stuff up to my
room and um this is before my roommate
got there so
yeah it was very overwhelming at first
and when we were still trying to like
unpack some stuff um it just felt fine
but then the moment my parents were like
you know what we have to leave now i i
got so so sad um and i know like so many
people like they can’t wait to go to
college to get away from their family
i’m like the complete opposite i could i
could stay with them like forever i
don’t know i’ve just always kind of been
like that so i was so sad and
immediately they that like when i shut
the door and said bye mom i just started
crying i was just so so sad but then my
roommate showed up so i like i wiped up
the tears i was like it’s okay
i’m like i’m excited now um they gave me
like my entire backpack and my knife kit
and my entire like uniform
so yeah it was kind of surreal surreal
to see yeah that it was actually
happening but yeah i was like excited
and scared yeah
anticipation the unknown it’s all what’s
going to happen yeah
the unknown for sure yeah now how was
your first labs what was your first lab
how was the chefs are the chefs mean
were you kind of scared did you have do
lineup uniform check or early in the
morning tell us about that yeah so
our for at least for me for uh like lab
classes we had for the first semester
just one whole class that was just the
whole semester long i didn’t change
anything it was called fundy so like
it’s just the fundamentals the
fundamentals of like baking and well i
did baking but or for culinary if you’re
culinary but um yeah so you have one
chef for the entire semester two classes
a week and it’s like an eight hour long
class so um
unlike like later on semesters you every
three weeks you will change your chefs
but for this it was just that one chef
so he was the only guy only chef i ever
really met for that first semester and
his name was chef mccarrick i loved him
so so much he was he was just like a
really really nice like grandpa almost
like he was just um i don’t know he was
like well traveled and he just knew so
much and uh he was he was really really
nice and uh really understanding to like
teach you and they didn’t want to make
you feel too afraid i know like everyone
always thinks that like everyone’s like
that like born ramsay type and there are
definitely at that school but he wasn’t
one of them he was really really great
so it was a good way to start my first
class awesome
now going back to the dorms are they
co-ed are they separated or how how many
people you said two in a room yes so
they have i think uh i think the school
view tech technically speaking they have
like maybe 15 different like lodges so
um there are different types so at cia
at the hyde park one there is hudson
hall which is like notoriously the
freshman building but any overflow will
go to like any of the other ones there’s
one called angel and pick i ended up
being a pick i mean no an angel sorry
and that was like the best thing that
ever happened to me because hudson is
the worst hall by far every single room
is tiny um it’s the oldest building and
um there are communal bathrooms so there
are like doubles and triples but in
angel there are only doubles and no
communal bathrooms so i got i just got
lucky oh that’s good that’s usually an
upper class dorm angel or it’s still
freshman i mean nowadays it’s kind of
like just whoever they can fit but um
typically i feel like it’s like
sophomore level yeah but they um they
also have like lodges and townhouses
which are like a whole different setup
so for the last two semesters i stayed
in a lodge which thankfully i
i don’t know if it was like first come
first serve but i was able to pick my
roommates that i wanted so i got stormed
with my friends and i had a whole single
room but it’s like a whole suite so
there’s like four rooms and
every single person gets a single room
and we get our own like huge bathroom so
that was really nice if you like like
the people you’re living with then it’s
pretty great great so what was your
favorite lab class and what was your
worst and why my favorite was
absolutely my confections class so that
so like not confections like chocolates
or candies it was um i think they called
it like confectionary arts and specialty
cakes i think that’s what it was but
that’s the class where we got to like
work with gum paste flowers and um we
worked on mainly like cake dummies and
we covered them like covered everything
like fondant and worked with like
molding chocolate modeling chocolate i
mean and um yeah that was a super fun
class we made so many different flowers
and i love that chef i had chef cavatti
um i’m pretty sure she’s still there but
i think she’s she said she would she’s
like retiring soon or something but um
no she was great i loved um i just loved
how she taught and that class was just
super fun like i woke up every single
morning even though it was like super
early and i like i was ready to go to
class unlike some of the classes i was
like dreading it um
but my least favorite i can like 100 say
it was my chocolates class really
yeah i absolutely hated it like i
like i’m not to really talk bad about
him but even like the chef we we really
just didn’t like see eye to eye too much
and um
he was just a really mean guy
and i just feel like he was one of those
gordon ramsay ones you were talking
about no but this is what i always tell
people i feel like there are two
different types of me there’s like the
gordon ramsay where they’re where
they’re really mean and they like yell
at you and everything but you can tell
like deep down like they’re trying to
help you know almost but then there are
the ones that are just jerks for no
reason like they yell at you and then
they tell you you’re doing it wrong but
then they don’t tell you why you’re
doing it wrong so there’s no like
learning happening so i just it’s just
when chefs teach like that i i tend to
just get a little upset just because i
feel like there’s no it’s just not
beneficial there’s no reason they should
be doing that like i’m fine if they yell
at me i honestly i have a i don’t know i
might the household that i grew up in
like i just don’t really cry like i’m
not really phased by people yelling at
me but like i don’t know like if you
yell me that’s fine but there has to be
like a reason as to why you have to like
show me your like i don’t know something
like that so those chefs are always
putting like barriers up or pitfalls for
you and hoping that you kind of fail
yeah it’s almost like they want us to
fail i just i don’t understand that
especially when they try to like claim
that they’re they’re like helping the
next generation of chefs and they just
are not doing anything to help me but uh
yeah so that one was kind of like i was
just putting the class and i was almost
expected to like teach myself and i’m
just not very good with chocolates
either so right and i was excited to
learn so was the content as well or no
just more of the instructor part of a
different instructor might have made
that class okay or i think so i mean
before i went to that class chocolates
was already um like not my like i don’t
know my like area of expertise and i
didn’t like i didn’t know too much about
it well i didn’t know too much about how
to work with it so i was excited to
learn more just to you know broaden like
what i’m good at but um yeah i i i think
if a different chef taught that i
probably would have been okay with it i
wouldn’t have been great at doing it but
i would have it would have been a way
more enjoyable class right right yeah so
tell us about the student body who’s
your classmates are they all like right
out of high school or is there some
career changes military people
transferring in more males more females
so that’s actually one thing i uh wasn’t
expecting it’s it’s like people of all
ages all backgrounds i remember in my in
my last semester uh it was like less um
like range of age almost but during my
very very first class my bench partner
was actually a 70 year old woman wow
that was a yeah she was a lawyer and she
said out of the blue she just stopped
and said i’m going to culinary school
good for her but she she ended up
dropping out two weeks in
but yeah no there are people like i mean
i remember the first day the chef will
be like tell me your name um like what
where you’re from a fun fact and a lot
of people were like oh yeah i used to
work at a hospital and i hated it so i’m
here now so there are a ton of career
changes for um for people at culinary
school i feel like the ones that changed
their career the older people that um
you know all of a sudden they just had
like a realization that they wanted to
be a chef but um otherwise most people
are straight out of high school but um
yeah it’s like it’s a huge um range of
different ages is it more females in
baking and pastry or more males oh for
sure after my first class i have i
haven’t had a class with any males so
wow yeah yeah so it’s like i i always
say to people like not even in like a
romantic way but i have had no male
interaction in so long i i have not
talked to like any guys at all um yeah
my first class i did have a few but
after that they just disappeared
what do you think that is why do you
think females gravitate more towards
baking and pastries and males at least
traditionally towards culinary yeah i
don’t know i feel like it’s still
even though like most people these days
are very
modernized and everything i don’t know i
feel like maybe i don’t know peop i feel
like it’s bad but people do associate
like baking with as a more feminine like
hobby almost creative art way of doing
it yeah yeah so yeah something like that
rather than culinary i feel like
culinary they’re like down and dirty and
like hot in there and it’s like kind of
whatever like they’re like oh it’s not
salty enough throw more salt versus like
baking we’re like to a precise point
like one gram so but there is a class
where um for one semester the bacon kids
get to do culinary and culinary gets new
baking and i love hearing the stories
because my roommate was a culinary um
student so she would tell me all about
like how she’s not used to scaling stuff
out and how she like something failed
just because she was like point one off
or something so yeah it’s very
interesting to hear them but um i don’t
know they don’t like they don’t like the
structure of the baking and pastry
that’s culinary right they want to just
be freewheeling yeah i guess i don’t
know they’re just not as a as proper as
me for us
cool so
i want to talk about academic classes
you have to take those too what do they
like is it is it hard is it a rigor or
is it pretty easy i mean is it because
people don’t think that when you go to
culinary school you also have to take
those english math costing human
resource whatever type of classes they
are so maybe you could talk a little bit
about those for a bit sure um well so i
was an associate i did an associate’s
degree so
uh associates and bachelors it’s gonna
be way different for the amount of
academic classes you have to take so i
actually only took like a college
writing class and i actually um tested
out of a math class so i didn’t have to
do that so for the academic like
standard ones where it’s like math and
like language and um english classes
it’s pretty similar to high school i
would say so in high school i took like
i was mostly like ap student type of uh
so i was really used to like the really
really hard classes so compared to cia
my i would say my high school classes
were actually harder than than at cia
but i mean it’s different for everyone
but otherwise besides those like english
and writing and math
all of the other academic classes are
like ones you’ve never heard of we have
more like intro to hospitality and
nutrition and like um i don’t know how
i don’t even know what oh like
professionalism so they’re very uh not
like usual like academic classes right
more like career related or specific to
that industry no very yeah so actually
if you
were to like want to transfer to a
regular college after i guarantee you
none of those um classes will transfer
through and i actually asked before so
they were like yeah we’ve never like
this is not like anything that we have
so yeah so it’s really really different
it’s not necessarily hard but
i think it really depends on the
professor you get because every single
class there are multiple professors so
you have some that are like very chill
and relaxed and some are like five pages
of like essays every night so just
depends who you have so as a recent grad
what do you think makes an effective
teacher i mean it was a good teacher you
had good ones you had bad yeah what
separates you how did how did you
connect with the ones that you thought
were good and ones that you weren’t they
weren’t so good i mean tell us maybe
what in your opinion is a good teacher
so i i mean i feel like it’s uh it also
has to do with how like what kind of
learner you are so personally like i i
love to like see things and i love
having like a not scary uh relationship
so i mean some chefs like i said are so
intimidating and mean that they almost
want to keep that they don’t want you to
almost like talk to them so i just feel
like that’s not very effective but so i
like to you know be a i like to be not
afraid to speak to them and ask
questions and mess up and i like it when
they you know show you correctly and not
not stick by their method too much so i
mean as you’ll see like if you go to
culinary school every single chef has
their own like little like method or or
some things that they’re very very like
specific about so the ones that are okay
to like not do
that i feel like are a lot better if
that makes sense so like i’ve had some
chefs where it’s like oh well you can
take um a method that you learned from
this chef and this chef and like put
them all together and kind of create
your own thing and do whatever works
best for you because they’re like
whatever way that you can do it that
works best for you if you have the same
outcome it doesn’t even matter so the
chefs that can recognize that i always
appreciate just because there is not one
way to do things like something and um
if you can recognize that there like are
different ways and there are ways that
works best for you uh rather than
someone else then i usually love those
chefs and the ones that um are just not
going to totally freak out on you if you
mess up because again like they they
like to stress that’s learning
environment and that it’s okay to mess
up but then the moment you do mess up
they love to yell at you and just tell
you you’re doing it wrong so i’m like so
what is it you gotta at least warn us
correctly you know so
yeah i i definitely think the teachers
or the chefs that i um am able to have
like conversations outside of class with
are the ones i usually like more i’m not
like almost like a friend you know
someone that uh you feel will be there
for you and to support you and help you
like a coach or a mentor rather than you
know this power struggle yeah yeah more
so yeah exactly i mean in class if you
want to be like i don’t know like you’re
in charge whatever that’s completely
fine that’s your classroom but sometimes
even the chefs are like outside of class
that just choose to like keep on
bullying you i’m like i’m just trying to
walk and cross the hall
leave me alone
so are they mostly males or females the
instructors and are they older are they
young or what do they like that too i
would say it’s a a huge like range of
like men and female and um old versus
young i think my
my year that i went to culinary school a
lot of them were starting to retire
especially when cobin like hit they were
like yeah we’re done so some of the
older ones definitely retired and
they’re like on the hunt for more newer
chefs now i think they’re they’re almost
like under staff just like every other
culinary place even the school is so
um yeah recently we do i have seen a lot
of younger chefs but yeah they’re it’s
either they’re either very young or like
very old
i feel like there’s like no in between
no in between
so now that you’re graduated graduated
in december uh
looking back was it worth it is there a
good return on your investment uh if you
could change something would you change
it would you do something different or
would you do it the same way you did it
i get this question asked a lot and i
always like
hesitate to just say like it was worth
it only because i feel like it’s just
it’s one of those things that i i will
never regret going and if i didn’t and
someone was like if you could turn back
time and choose if you were to go again
i still would go it’s something that i
definitely think has been beneficial um
to my life because this is what i want
to do so it has been beneficial but i
will say it hasn’t been as glamorous and
like like amazing as some people put it
out to be there are definitely like pros
and cons to going but um
like like i said i wouldn’t like say the
pros outweigh the cons it’s just i i
feel like it’s necessary so it’s almost
like it kind of sucks but you have to do
it at least that’s how i feel so
i always say like there are
there are definitely some like
techniques and just so many things i
wouldn’t have taught myself or even
thought to teach myself or to just learn
myself but you do go in and you do feel
like oh i like i already knew this like
why did i need to like relearn this or
whatever but again that like repetition
and just um
i don’t know the structure of like how
they train you to be and like um the
early hours and the stress and
everything that all kind of like goes
into um like just the experience in i
don’t know i feel like it has been
beneficial but it hasn’t been as great
as everyone always says it is so it’s
different for everyone though maybe give
us some specifics on some of those sure
negatives that listeners to be like
watch out for this this is something you
should know before you you know sign
that line and attend i would say um for
every single person that goes in it’s
just your own mindset and um how you
choose to do things and talk to people
there are definitely going to be the
people there that will try to prove that
they’re better than you or will bully
you or just make you feel lesser than
and really just ignore those people do
your own thing
i feel like the
like honestly the negatives of the
school are the people and the
environment i mean every chef is super
competitive and almost sometimes i feel
like people
like are just too
insane with the
like amount of like competition like the
competitive competitiveness that they um
they choose to like involve even in
their friendships so like outside of
class like i feel like everyone’s just
very judgmental and um and there are
definitely like clicks of like the
people that like will try to bully you
so just ignore them do your own thing um
like this is your own experience so i
don’t know just try to learn the best
you can and meet the right people and
the experience will be way better
because no matter how much you hate the
chef and everything no matter like what
the type of person is everyone’s gonna
like hate it but you can’t really
control that but the things you can
control um just try to cut the
negativity out and just uh
i don’t know make it the best and most
positive experience for you how whatever
like that is like if you meet the right
friends or like just stay in your own
room whatever it is just like do
whatever you can so do you think it’s
more of like a cutthroat competitive
environment that’s instilled there and
that’s why people are kind of competing
so i feel like maybe yeah it’s just like
the environment that gets everyone else
like to be like that i feel like the
chefs almost don’t really um almost
enforce that anymore i feel like the
chefs have relaxed but the students have
gotten more like competitive
so it’s just within like every student
so there are definitely people that i
have gone to school with that like will
just try to prove that they’re better
than you and just say all these great
things about themselves and make you
feel lesser than and it’s just important
to just either i mean you can befriend
those people that’s your own choice but
um i i like i like to tend to stay away
from them right right
so what about other activities the
extracurricular activities clubs
committees sports something along those
lines is that available or did you
participate in anything like that we
definitely do have clubs and um
activities in sports um but sports wise
it’s not as many as a normal college and
i don’t know i don’t know if there are
many i never played any sports or my
during my time there there weren’t many
that were offered that i was very
interested in i mean i’m not the
sportiest person but i go to the gym a
lot so that’s kind of like my favorite
activity i used to go to the gym like
two times a day but um there are
definitely clubs i’ve i had many friends
that were in clubs i
was kind of boring i didn’t participate
in like anything like that they did do a
lot of um activities and stuff which are
to like normal colleges
they’ll sound really boring like we had
like bingo night
movie night things like that yeah
exactly and i mean they were fun because
technically like our school were not
allowed to have parties or do anything
like like a normal like 20 something
year old would do um so i mean it is i
guess as a whole we are more boring
but um but it’s okay it was it was fine
what’s the what’s the big what’s the big
thing to do up there for a campus what
do people do what is the uh was gonna go
to hyde park what is what is the draw
they go to marist they go to the college
next door to party oh really
i actually i never went but i heard a
lot of people did or they’re the ones
are like really really into the
activities that go on at night so i mean
they do have a lot of activities some i
mean towards the beginning of the
semester especially for the freshmen
they have like so many they’ll even
bring you like out bowling and stuff
like that and but that time it’s gonna
like be super super fun but then it’ll
die down because as like the time goes
on they’ll like put less and less effort
into it but um every fall they’re both
that’s when the most some activities go
on oh cool
so is there a class that you didn’t have
that you wished you had or was offered
that you didn’t take or that they didn’t
offer that you wish they did offer i
wish this school um for calling like for
the kitchen classes they offered more
creative ones like for
as in like cake decorating cookie
decorating um stuff like that because a
lot of the school a lot of the kitchen
classes that they offer or that are
mandatory to take are very um like old
school french um like high-end
restaurant fine dining type of desserts
and i mean i love to that i got to learn
that because i personally wouldn’t have
like wanted to learn that myself
but then the school will say something
like oh fine dining is dying and uh you
you really shouldn’t be like doing this
like you should be learning bakery stuff
but then they don’t offer that so i feel
like everything they say is just very
like hypocritical and they’ll say
something like oh yeah like you see how
like during coven all the fine dining
places like clothes and it’s just like
the take out bakeries and we’re like
yeah so why don’t you teach us that
stuff and they just don’t so the
curriculum hasn’t caught up to what
they’re saying then right yeah exactly
so yeah i would have loved to learn that
more because i do love doing more of
like the creative decorating um aspects
of baking rather than like just sitting
there and like like whisking batters
i want to take a quick pause here at
this halfway point in the show and ask
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okay now back to the show
so let’s talk about your youtube channel
because you started that while you were
at cia and it just blossomed and then
you’re still going today with it and
talk about what was the impetus to start
that and how did it take off and what
was your kind of creative thought
process as you were creating those so i
feel like as a kid i also like besides
baking i i always wanted to like famous
but um and i always like loved watching
youtubers and i just thought like wow
that’s so smart because you don’t have
to live in la you don’t have to like
live in a big city to go to like casting
calls or whatever you can just have your
own phone or camera and just record and
upload yourself it doesn’t matter if
people watch you like you can still put
yourself out there so that has always
been something i always wanted to see
why you always joke around like i used
to say like subscribe to my channel even
before i had one and i think it
it took until it was may it was may of
2020 so i was actually still at home um
yeah this is when i got sent home from
school during coven so i was just at
home i was extra bored like more bored
than usual and i was like i don’t care
about the judgment anymore i think i’m
just going to do it and when i first
started i was like okay well now what do
i film though if i’m going to start this
so i like this one video popped up um
that was like i’m going to dress up as
like a different decade every single day
of the week so that’s what i ended up
doing it’s a very bad video so don’t
watch it but in the second video i was
like oh i guess i could talk about like
my experience at culinary school because
i don’t know like i feel like that’s
interesting it’s not talked about so i
just like on a whim i was like i don’t
think anyone’s gonna watch this and i
just filmed it in my room and i don’t
know like i think like not even a month
after i just started getting emails like
in my email that was like youtube you
have like this comment this comment this
comment i was like what people are
watching it and it just uh i don’t know
it just started getting really big and
after that i was like oh my gosh i have
like a following now i can actually like
i felt pressured to make more videos and
it was it was like good pressure it was
like i was excited to do it so yeah i
just i was never gonna plan to make
videos about the cia but that one did
really well and i was like i guess this
is something people want to watch so i
just kept doing it sure because there’s
a lot of people that may want to go
there right they’re thinking about it no
yeah and that was my intention behind
those videos it wasn’t ever to
necessarily promote the school or to
just talk about stuff i just wanted to
help people because i felt like there
wasn’t a big um i don’t know there
weren’t many culinary channels for like
normal people like besides like the
school’s videos right so i just thought
whatever i can do to get the word out
there help them just talk about like
just everyday things besides just like i
don’t know i just wanted to show them my
everyday life get them prepared give
them a heads up warning
so why don’t you give us the link to
that case anyone’s listening wants to
check those out yeah sure so um my
youtube channel is just jennifer lee um
yeah cool and i’ll put that in the show
notes too with your bio so if someone’s
listening and wants to look at that
afterwards perfect now that you graduate
are you going to continue that uh vlog
that you had yeah so um i’m kind of
segue in towards just like my like
normal life um here and there i’ll still
talk about like my school but i guess
now it’s just kind of following more
towards what i’m going to do in the
future i guess if i get like a new job
and i’m like a pastry chef i’ll show
them behind the scenes of that but just
whatever wherever my life takes me uh
the vlog will just follow along my life
yeah awesome now i did see that you were
one of the graduation speakers how did
that happen how did you get picked and
what was that like yeah so i i remember
when it was like a month like maybe
three months before graduation we all
got emails that were like a list of
things you have to do and one of those
things was we had to pick a student
speaker for graduation and i sat there i
was like i have no idea who could speak
i myself wasn’t even like in mind like i
didn’t even think about that
so i just never submitted it i never
submitted anything i was like uh
hopefully i still can graduate because
after the deadline was over i was like
they were like sorry you can no longer
submit this i was like i haven’t even
thought of anyone and then a week later
i get an email i was like
congratulations you were picked so i
guess students just picked me um which
was really exciting and it made my day
that’s an honor huh yeah i know i was
like oh that’s so close like i didn’t
even submit anyone so yeah i was like
that was like the student address right
so how did you have to plan for that
they tell you how much time and what
you’re supposed to say or the topic yeah
so they uh were actually not very
helpful they sent me an email about i
was like so you’re doing it um i’m i’m
gonna help you along and we’re gonna
like collaborate up like on this um
after that email they really they really
didn’t send anything else they were just
like they were like here are the
guidelines and
basically they kind of just wanted me to
stay like an advertisement for the
school they were just like no negativity
just say just talk about the good stuff
not too much about your life just uh
what are the good things about cia make
it very generic so um was i really in
love with that speech no but um for like
to follow the rules that was like the
best i could think of so sure no but it
was still fun it gave me something to do
during graduation yeah and people can
look on your channel and see a video of
that speech right a little little bit of
it little snippets yeah yeah yeah yeah i
put in my graduation video so if you
guys want to check that out so if you
could change that and could have said
anything you wanted to what what was
some of the things you would have added
now that now that you’re not there right
if i didn’t have any rules or like
guidelines in that speech
i mean
when i talk with when like joking around
with my friends they were like you
should just get up there and shout don’t
come to the cia i mean like i wouldn’t
be that blunt and say that because it is
still a graduation ceremony but i would
definitely say like
because i think one of my sentences they
i got away with saying like through all
the times like all the stressful and
exhausting times like i probably would
have just gone on and on and on
crazy chefs mean people you might you
might there are nights where you’re just
gonna cry and does not want to wake up
and go to class but you know we thought
through it
i don’t know i probably would have just
talked about more of the realistic
aspects like not even being negative
it’s just really what happened i would
have said more about that um yeah but
instead it was just like life’s gonna be
good life is great here love the cia
is there anything you wish you knew now
that you graduated before you started
there like if you could say this is
something or to a listener you need to
know you need to be prepared for you
need to be expecting when you go there
it’s just the it’s kind of weird so my
friends and i talk about this all the
time we always say like the parts that
we don’t like it’s less things that
happened or things that we’re doing it’s
almost just the feeling of being there
so it
it kind of sucks because it’s it’s like
you have to learn the hard way and go
through it yourself before you can
really tell it’s for you i mean i guess
like my problem now is like the harsh
reality of culinary school is you just
don’t get paid very much so if you want
to go out in the real world and live in
a big city like i really want to move to
new york more than anything but it’s
just like financially can can i afford
it yet but instead i mean if i don’t
work 10 hours a day 10 plus hours a day
in a kitchen making minimum wage for
like a few years can i even afford to
like move out if i don’t like save up so
now it’s almost just like i’ve graduated
but i’m almost gone lazier so it’s
almost like i i put myself through that
before and i know what it is like and i
just don’t want to work 10 hours in a
kitchen anymore which kind of sucks
because if i don’t do that it’s like
what am i going to do did i just waste
my degree so right now it’s almost just
like i need to save up uh to do the
things i really want to do but to be
able to save up i have to do a job that
i don’t necessarily want to do almost so
i feel like that is something it’s just
like you have to really keep in mind the
realities of what this is going to be
like after you graduate but that’s what
i would tell myself and what what doors
that degree will open for you which ones
you still remain closed right because
just because you have that associates
what is that going to get you in the
market exactly i feel like now it’s
almost like you just feel like you
wasted your time and your money almost
because the jobs that i can get a high
schooler can get so it almost makes you
feel like oh was it even worth it and
obviously in the long run like if i
really want to own a place in the future
if that has helped like those skills
that cia has taught me will help that
like tremendously but like if we’re
talking about like right out of college
it hasn’t like none of nothing that cia
has taught me is really helping me yet
or like even the title it’s not really
helping me too much because the jobs i
can get like i said anyone can really
get so right especially now anybody if
you want to work in the food service
industry you get a job yeah dying for
people and that’s why now like more than
ever it i almost feel like i don’t want
to always because and i feel bad because
it’s like i want to help these
businesses but um it’s just so
understaffed that when i worked during
the summer if i wasn’t feeling well and
i called out sick we had to just close
the whole place because if i wasn’t
there no one was making the cakes and
then i feel so guilty it’s like do i
prioritize my health or in my well-being
or like just helping the place keep like
stay running so you have to really just
think about all of that and right now
it’s like it’s like i’m not even lazy
but i don’t know it’s like i want to
work but just not under the
circumstances almost which sounds really
selfish but it’s kind of just how it is
now you were originally going to go for
your bachelor’s degree and then you
chose not to just get out with the
associates is that because you had that
realization that this wasn’t going
anywhere necessarily or was it because
the place cia wasn’t what you wanted or
how did that make you change so i
actually uh i actually thought like
figured that out like during my first
like semester there so i just got a
bunch of warnings from people that did
graduate with a bachelor’s saying don’t
do it so then i started questioning oh
why why not like you got one was it
really that bad and basically how cia
works at least is that if you get a
bachelor’s your course runs the same
exact like you do the same exact classes
and everything as an associates but then
the moment an associate’s person would
graduate you stop and you will just take
a bunch of academic classes
so you take the same amount of um
kitchen classes and everything and for
the most part you take the same classes
but then after you’re done with all of
that you’re just going to take a set
amount of academic classes and the
reason why i chose not to do a
bachelor’s is because i found out those
academic classes aren’t really
beneficial in like almost a resume sense
if i were to decide one day oh i am
going to use my like bachelor’s like a
business degree like like culinary
business degree that business degree is
not recognized by the world as a
business degree it’s more just
recognized as a culinary business so if
let’s say i really wanted to escape
baking for a little bit work a nine to
five all of a sudden
that company might not recognize those
credits or degree like that degree as a
business degree so that’s why i just
chose not to i was like if i’m going if
i really want a business degree that bad
i’ll just go to another like normal
college and just get that but yeah right
go to a business school where you’re
exactly recognized and instead of going
to a culinary school which you’re not
going to get any more lab classes you’re
just going to get business academics so
you might as well go to a business
school exactly it’s not if you want to
go for a master’s they’re not
transferable at all yeah exactly hmm
makes sense so it was a good decision to
realize that so yeah give you some good
advice i know yeah um is there career
development there is there a place that
when you graduate that helps you
find jobs or get you on interviews or
could set you up or set the graduates up
for success so they have like a whole um
like you sign in as a student like this
is like a whole website that um has a
link to a bunch of like employers and
stuff like that so it’s less the school
will help you it’s just more like the
resources they provide so the resources
are there like if i really wanted to
reach out to someone i have like a whole
list of people that i can reach out to
so like technically speaking like they
kind of do but they’re not going to
one-on-one help you really
it’s kind of just for you to figure out
you know do it on your own it’s like
jobs listings yeah here’s some jobs you
can reach out we’re not going to be like
the middle person now you said you went
there because of the name culinary
institute of america does that help when
you go get a job with other alumni
you’re like hey cia cia give me the job
does that help or no so now that i’ve
worked like back of house um and like i
was able to say like i went to the cia
or i was i’m a current uh student at the
cia it almost doesn’t it does but it
doesn’t so there are there are types of
people that were um like bosses that
will say oh that’s so impressive or
we’ll be like wow the cia or there are
the types that will say oh
a cia student they’re going to think
they’re better than everyone else and
that is what i’ve come across they’re
the i i’ve had a boss that were like oh
you go to the cia i’m like yeah is that
bad they’re like oh well you know
cia students they they tend to
you know be really stuck up and you know
and this fancy pants yeah exactly and
that’s kind of what i’ve like been
trying to escape i’m like no no i just i
just went there i trust me i’m not i’m
not like that
so it helps but um you have to present
yourself not in that way not in the cia
way yeah don’t expect the name just to
carry you right it’s gonna have to come
down to your skill level and your
personality yeah and just who you are as
a person because again there are there
are the types that will be really
impressed by the name but then there are
the there are the ones that will be like
almost turned off by it
did you find that in general when you
were working that culinary degree no
matter where it’s from as opposed to
someone who came up to the hard knocks
school you know worked on their own and
grabbed it that way is there a
difference they look down at you like
you’re the college person or i i you
know i actually wouldn’t say they look
down on people that graduate from a
culinary school they do um appreciate it
because there are basic things that they
don’t have to teach you because
especially when i worked
at a bakery in the summer we were really
really short stuff like everyone else
but so we were trying to hire someone
new someone was really interested but
they had almost no culinary or baking
experience like in their background at
all so my boss ended up just being like
oh i’m sorry we can hire you just
because they don’t have the time now to
train you so i guess like in like now
setting if you do have a degree they
they don’t view that as bad just because
they trust you enough to hop right in
and just get things done versus like
someone that needs training and they
don’t necessarily have the time to to
like teach them so
it’s like good and bad i guess depending
on how times are right right sure
in the past and probably still to this
day there’s been problems in our
industry that has plagued it you know
things sexual harassment bullying
alcohol abuse drug use you know
lots of stress you know people talking
about mental have you seen anything like
that in your experience whether that be
in school or out there in the workforce
now is it changing is it still bad i
think it’s gotten a lot better um it’s
definitely still a thing it’s not it
hasn’t just gone away but um like in
school definitely some of the chefs that
are almost make it seem like they’re not
there to help will definitely cause you
stress and depending on the person they
might not take it well and they might
just want to drop out that’s why i
always tell people like yeah you’re
gonna get accepted to the cia the
acceptance rate’s like almost 100 but
more than half of my class that i
started with are gone they all dropped
out within the first month wow so it’s
like can you handle that it’s a lot of
stress and a lot of pressure for
something that
you know you’re not going to get paid a
lot for in the future like right away so
it depends on the person but yeah stress
wise i i feel like no matter what no
matter how well you can handle it you’re
going to feel a lot of stress but um in
terms of even like like safety and like
sexual harassment and stuff like that i
feel like personally i have been
fine like every single environment that
i’ve worked in has been really
professional and really amazing but like
we’ve had chefs um that i still talk to
now that are great that will say like oh
yeah i take that very seriously like
we’re not gonna let anyone bother you
especially like as a woman in like
faking i feel like a lot of like
culinary people might feel i don’t know
like they’re better than you because i
have had a friend that went on an
internship and she had an old french
chef that threw stuff at her and she had
to go to the hospital she had like so
many bruises on her from like sheep
hands and stuff like hurting her and she
was just too scared to speak up because
she didn’t want to lose the job so i
mean it’s definitely still a thing it’s
definitely still present um you just
have to make sure you’re careful and you
uh find the right places to work at
right and speak up if it does have
behind human resources like get out of
there i guess yeah no and that’s why i’m
always like i am like i encourage you to
say something even if you’re scared just
because like you don’t want to go
through that you know so these 50 that
dropped out do you think it was because
they picked the wrong career to start
with i think so they didn’t really know
what they were getting into like that
lady that you said was 70. she went in
there she probably thought oh i’m just
going to cook some lunch and have a good
day and then you’re going to stand on
your feet you got to clean you got to
scrub pots and pans is it like a shock i
feel like the people that end up
dropping out are the ones i expected a
culinary class versus a culinary college
i feel like even in movies and tv shows
it’s not like a culinary college is not
portrayed it’s always just like someone
living a home and they’re gonna go to a
culinary class cook for an hour and have
a chef be like that that like soup
tastes bad and then they’re gonna be
like all right and just go back home and
just relax and that’s i feel like what’s
really shown in media but it’s just not
like that at all and i feel like half
the people that go are just like they
didn’t realize how much almost like a
military school it is it’s very like
it’s very strict there are things you
have to do there are things you can’t do
you have to follow rules and it’s uh
yeah the hours are long and it’s not
like a normal college so yeah i feel
like the people that do drop out are the
ones that didn’t realize that it’s just
not for them or they didn’t realize how
tough it was gonna be so what was some
of your what was your earliest lab
classes you guys had to go to oh time
wise yeah oh uh five in the morning what
was that i think uh why am i like
forgetting right now i’m pretty sure
it’s five yeah five something like that
like a breakfast class or baking yeah
baking surprisingly was uh not as early
as culinary which is i think i think
it’s weird because usually you know like
breads classes they make you show up
really early but i didn’t have to do
that so i the earliest i had to wake up
was like 3 30 just because i like to get
like an early start and like take my
time to get ready but you know like one
thing i always tell my cousins that um
just go to regular colleges he’s like oh
yeah i have an 8 a.m and i showed up
like right at 8 a.m so like i’m all set
like if we had an 8 a.m you have to be
there at like 7 45
no later than that you know just and
they’re like why and they’re like do you
go in and set up we’re like no we just
stand at the door
just just to show the chef that we’re
professional and we’re ready
that’s like stuff you have to like think
about it’s like you have to like take in
time they won’t let you in right they
check your uniform they won’t let you in
they do the lineup and no you go home
yeah check check your nails check your
hair check your shoes make sure they’re
clean no stains
now how uh how’s the food there how is
the cafeteria food is the students
cooking for the students
did you get to eat in the labs tell us
about that yeah so that’s something i’m
like i like to passionately talk about
in a positive and negative way so so
yeah in like our lab catching classes we
depending on the chef you can definitely
like take home what you made and eat in
class sometimes so that’s definitely
allowed that’s it’s great i love that
but um the part that i always think is a
problem that the school needs to change
now is our we have one cafeteria
technically it’s called the egg so
there’s like a little marketplace that’s
a place where everyone hangs out and
it’s like a normal cafeteria so unlike
normal colleges it’s not like a buffet
per se we have different stations and
the food option is great
so many people at school love to talk
down about it and they’re like oh it’s
gross and i feel like those people are
just like picky eaters almost i’m like
if you compare it to normal colleges
this is great we’re getting like nice
meals but sometimes i mean there are
cases where a lot of people get the
stomach bug i don’t know if it’s just
because it’s a change of like whatever
but i definitely got it and everyone
loves to blame the egg that’s like the
thing that everyone does they’re like oh
i got the stomach bug from the egg and
um easy turns so yeah yeah everyone just
loves to say that but um the thing i
hate is that the school is really smart
about not having to pay a lot of people
so the people that run that are the
and the only problem with that is that
we all have the same times that we’re in
class so once those students get out we
get out too and when i’m ready to eat
it’s closed so that’s why i’m like you
can’t just hire someone in that in
between time or something because
there’s the am class and the pm class
but what about that time in between
they’re just closed well that’s when
everyone’s off so it’s like the time
when i’m ready to eat and everyone else
is ready to eat like i can’t eat so
that’s why it’s like it’s like some of
my friends are they’ll be like oh i want
a midnight snack i can just head to the
cafeteria i can’t because the times are
strictly whenever classes so that’s
something that i definitely think needs
to need to change i mean but otherwise
besides the egg we do have like our main
um hall where we have all the kitchen
classes and the culinary kids will serve
the anyone else so there are like other
options but yeah i just feel like the
timing so when they’re doing their
production you can go buy the a lab
class and grab a bite yeah definitely
made yeah oh good and so the am students
would work the pm cafeteria and the pm
students who work the am but when
they’re in between there’s nothing
happening which is probably right around
lunchtime right when everyone’s out yeah
it’s just like it’s just all cleaned up
and it’s just everything’s just like
and yeah usually just one station that’s
open and there are not many options so
who are the workers those are like work
study they’re students that are just
working on campus to help with their
tuition i think it’s uh it’s a mixture i
i definitely have had a lot of friends
that have just like worked there but um
yeah there are just like people that
that’s just like their job so it’s like
a good mix it’s an easy way to get a job
oh for sure yeah rather than have to
leave and go somewhere else
and there are like many different like
places in on campus that you can get a
job so job-wise there are a lot of
things that you can do how’s the weather
oh it’s fun up there it’s kind of
upstate new york i mean you get a lot of
a lot of snow i mean no problem snow
days they have a close yeah i only ever
had had one snow day though i haven’t
gotten that lucky it always knows on the
weekends which always sucks
but um no yeah so i’m from connecticut
i’m only like two hours away so it’s
exactly the same um like whenever it’s
raining here it’s raining there whenever
it’s snowing here it’s snowing there so
like when i facetime my family i’m like
you guys have snow too they’re like yeah
so i’m very used to my roommate was from
la in california so this was like one of
her first times ever seen snow so she
wasn’t very used to it but uh it was
nothing new for me
so now that you graduated what’s next
for you what’s your immediate plan what
do you what’s your long term what do you
think you’re going to be doing five
years from now what’s what’s your what’s
your goal you know i have always been a
very uh like a structured planned person
i’m kind of crazy like that in middle
school i made like my ten year timeline
of what i’m going to do i’ve definitely
like fallen off of that a little bit but
um yeah so this month i decided i was
just going to take like a month off um
kind of just like think about what i’m
going to do and just really take the
time and like think about it so right
now all i’m working on is just like
youtube and just like instagram just
like content creation type of stuff and
i’ve been lucky enough to be able to
collaborate with some brands lately so
that’s been really fun and i’ve been
working on that um i’m definitely not at
a state where i can do social media
full-time but even though i love it um
so i definitely do have to jump back
into uh just being like a pastry chef
but um
after this i am just i’m seeking for
jobs like right now as we speak so i
hopefully will
find one but so basically i don’t want
to move out from my house yeah i think i
want to wait till like the end of the
year just uh just like i just want to
settle a little bit just kind of save up
and then i really wanted to move to new
york in the city and but my parents just
think it’s a better idea for me to
go to boston first because they’re like
boston is kind of you know it’s a city
but kind of less and uh i have family in
both in new york city and boston but i’m
like way more in boston like right in
boston so they’re like i feel like
that’d be really good for you and i’ve
kind of just uh i’ve settled on that and
i think that’s fine with me so i think
after this year i’m probably going to
move there and uh there are a ton of
bakeries that i’ve always admired there
so um i would definitely be really
interested in working at some places
like that i mean like i feel like the
best situation would be to
find like a food media type of job
because i love doing that um so but i
probably have to like la or something so
i’m kind of just okay with anything
right now i’m just kind of i just want
experience and i’m not looking for
anything really long term i just want to
find what i like and don’t like but um
in the future the goal has always been
to open a bakery so
that is definitely still the plan but
i’m just not ready for that yet because
that means i would have to settle down
and find a place i really want to live
but i’m it’s probably going to be in
like la that’s where i’ve always thought
so great so if someone’s listening that
wants to offer you a job or someone’s
listening that wants to reach out and
ask you more questions about cia or
anything else how can they get a hold of
you sure yeah um well you guys can uh go
on my instagram it’s jennifer l a and
then lee led so that’s my instagram you
can definitely shoot me a dm um i have
my email always it’s jenniferla lee
business um and that’s linked
in my youtube and my instagram and i
think we discussed my youtube before so
yeah you can uh find any of that my
resume is always in my like links in my
bio so perfect i’ll put all those two
again into the show notes in the bio so
if anyone’s listening thank you be able
to reach out and contact you awesome
thank you
so now with this youtube channel you’re
an influencer so maybe tell us two three
influences uh that had an effect on you
whether that’s personal or professional
and as you’ve gone through it you want
to give a shout out to someone that has
had an influence on you i
so i know a lot of people always say
like their mom or dad or like their
family personally like i love them and i
look up to them but they have definitely
not influenced me for vista
like funny enough i think
i mean i’m not like the biggest like i’m
not like still a huge fan of her or
anything not not like in a bad way but
um giada de laurentiis that’s how you
say her name from the food network yeah
i grew up instead of watching like
cartoons i love watching the food
network and i remember every single time
for some reason when i turned on the tv
it was her show so i always ended up
just watching her show and i uh that was
what i wanted to do when i was a kid i
wanted to be a food network star i mean
i i could still want to do that maybe
but um yeah she definitely made me
really want or just like enjoy watching
full cook and not bake so that was
definitely an influence but um everyone
helps me in different ways but for food
wise i would i always she’s always my
go-to answer just because i feel like
she’s what really like influenced me to
want to do this awesome great well as we
come to the end of our chat today before
we wrap up is there any last-minute
advice or guidance that you want to
leave with the listeners something you
want to share whether that be about
going into this as a career or even
going to culinary school or the culinary
institute of america i would say
just really like just listen to your
heart it sounds really cheesy but if you
if you can’t decide if you want to go to
culinary school or not just really sit
down with yourself and just think can i
can i see myself doing this in like 10
years can i see myself being able to put
up with all the stress and everything
like that and if you’re really
passionate about it just do it because
you don’t want to regret it later on you
don’t want to be like my old bench
partner that decided at 70 that she was
going to go to culinary school so i
would just say like if you really want
to do this and you feel so passionate
about it and you love it i would say
just do it because i mean you can always
change your mind like them but um it’s
no i mean it’s a good field to be in
it’s a lot of work and it’s really
stressful but i mean i love it so i mean
i always complain but i still go back to
it every single time right do you think
culinary school is needed or required i
i don’t think so i definitely don’t
think so i know a lot of people that are
super talented one of my good friends uh
sam she started her own business and she
never went to culinary school she just
always had the interest so she was
self-taught and she’s doing really well
right now it definitely it definitely
helps especially if like stuff like fine
dining like i said i never really had
that much of an interest in like doing
that type of like entrepreneur stuff so
i never really would have pushed myself
to learn myself so in that sense i i i
do love i love the skills that uh the
school has taught me and the discipline
so it definitely helps it’s like an
added little bonus but if you’re able to
teach yourself and you’re okay with
doing that then i don’t think it’s
necessary at all experience is key
honestly yeah good yeah so like you said
someone is thinking about doing it do
the research do that due diligence you
don’t get there and then have to drop
out you know make sure this is really
what you want and so you can enjoy that
experience get the most out of it yeah i
think it’s important not to like like
glamorize culinary school too much
either it’s hard and it’s tough and uh
it’s tiring but um it is fun at the same
time but i feel like a lot of people if
you really if you really just need um to
like decide just think of it in a really
really realistic way yeah
i know some of the schools like johnson
and wales they have what they call like
fly-ins where students especially in
high school can come to the campus for
like a week in the summer or weekend and
like kind of test it out and do a trial
run that may be some good advice for
someone that’s kind of on the fence go
test it out kick the tires before oh for
sure i don’t know if cia offered
something like that or you could take it
yeah after um after well they had the
accepted students day where they kind of
just gave you a tour it was pretty brief
but um it actually wasn’t until after i
accepted that i went to something called
green and gold weekend which we stayed
overnight and everything but i’m sure if
ask the school be um more than happy to
most culinary schools are pretty social
like public places people love to treat
it like a museum so even just like even
if you’re not interested i’m pretty sure
you’ll be able to uh like ask and
they’ll be okay with it yeah walk around
yeah let’s check it out go for a tour
and stuff maybe sit in on a class and
see what it’s all about before you go
and oh yeah that’d be great
well that’s just about all the time we
have for this episode i want to first
thank you jen for coming on the show
today and sharing your culinary school
story with all of us we really
appreciate your time and your honesty
and your insight on the culinary
institute of america yeah thank you so
much for having me i love being here
great thanks again and i enjoyed our
chat bye bye bye
and the big thanks and appreciation also
goes out to all of you the listeners we
hope you enjoy the show and this episode
you all are a big part of this show so
please let us know what you think your
comments are always welcome and they
help us in making the best show possible
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next culinary school story take care and
be well bye bye
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